Friday, 9 August 2013

Celebrities, cyclists and fairies

Once more Pauline and I were treading the boards presenting our adventure talk, though it was actually a lecture theatre as opposed to a theatre per se.  Appropriately, this time we were at Glenmore Lodge, the National Outdoor Training Centre for Scotland.
On this occasion we had attracted Cameron McNeish, a well known broadcaster and writer of all things outdoor in Scotland. You can read what he thought of the show at the end of this blog.

Having had a good crowd of 30 on the Friday night, the staff at Glenmore Lodge asked if we would like to put on the talk again the following evening and raise funds for the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team. This seemed like a great idea, an opportunity to give something back. On reflection it was too late to really publicise it well enough, and in the end we didn't reprise our show.

What I love after a show that's near the hills is we take off into the wilderness and find a spot to wild camp for the night, which really fits with the theme of our talk. This night we were a short way into the remnants of the great wood of Caledon, the Rothiemurcus forest.
I took this photo of the bark of one of the ancient Scots Pines, polished smooth by years of kids climbing it's boughs.

Almost every time we go away to perform, we inevitably take off into the great outdoors, either on foot or on bicycle. This time it was on bicycle, and Pauline had planned a circuit that she had completed previously.
On a glorious Sunday morning we set off out of Glenmore Lodge following an old logging route through the lush Scots Pine forests, seven miles to the town of Aviemore. There was to be a slight delay here though, as the call of morning coffee and cake became too much to resist.

In need of burning calories we were off once again, connecting up with the Speyside Way, a route we had cycled back in September 2009 (you can read all about that adventure here). This time however we were only on it for a short while, leaving it after just 6 miles to turn toward Loch Garten, home of the Ospreys, a bird of prey choosing to nest in Scotland before heading back to Africa in late August. The sight of them swooping down on a Scottish Loch to fish is a sight to behold.

The route Pauline had chosen was just perfect for the mountain bike, a mixture of pine needle-covered, hard packed and twisting paths, to boulder strewn tracks that the bike would bounce around on whilst I tried to keep my balance standing up on the pedals.

The views to the Cairngorm mountains was magnificent as we climbed the track up through the Pass of Ryvoan to the bothy at the top at 230m (750ft).  A quick snack and we set off on the last few miles. Not long after leaving the bothy we passed Lochan Uaine, the Green Loch, said to be where fairies go to wash, before a fast run along the old cattle thieves road back to Glenmore Lodge.

Of the talk, Cameron McNeish was kind enough to send us this quote the day after:
"Sleepless 'til Seattle is not your average slide by slide show. This is a humorous, hugely entertaining and at times moving account of two people fulfilling their dreams. It made me want to grab my bike and go..."

Next stop Birnam Arts near Dunkeld in Perthshire, on Friday 16 August.

1 comment:

Pauline said...

If anybody reading this is coeliac like me, Graham and I had cake at the Mountain Cafe above Cairngorm Mountain Sports. It's got a brilliant menu for gluten-free stuff and a selection of delicious homemade cakes.