One of my volunteer roles is being the River Spey Access Adviser for the Scottish Canoe Association. This involves lots of different things, usually giving info to folks who would like to journey down the River Spey or smoothing the differences between paddlers and landowners if something doesn't quite go to plan.
Articles in Category: Scottish Highlands and Islands
Today we really wanted to go and explore some areas down Fife or Lothian way, but we get beautiful weather so seldomly that we had to follow the sun – inland it was, then! We’ve passed through Ballater many times en-route to other places but never explored it properly. Jon suggested that as we’ve spectacularly failed to do any family walks during National Walking Month that we go for a bit of a bimble around one of the many circular walks around Ballater.
Well poor Torrin as child no two suffers from hand me down syndrome. It’s tricky as a parent, clothes are not cheap and quite often Finlay has grown out of his stuff before he wrecks it. Poor little Torrin is very stoical but is often upset when new clothes come through the post and Finlay gets them first. So it was with great pleasure that I decided the next lot of little trekkers kit should be his. In fact he needed new shoes as the sole had started to fall off his current ones.
The River Teith at Callander, is a real gem of a river. It was one of our local rivers when we lived in Stirling pre little trekkers and I dread to think how many times I’ve actually paddled it. From quick post work summer evening paddles, to giving beginners their first taste of moving water. I’ve paddled it when it’s been so low you’ve had to bump over every rock as you’ve scraped your way down and so high the carpark at the start has been well and truly underwater and the paddle has been over in a blur. So you’d think now this old favourite is back on our doorstep we’d be there most weekends. I’m ashamed to say although we’ve been back in Scotland a few years now we still hadn’t paddled it. Well that needed to be rectified as soon as possible.
James has been really getting into his walking recently and given the choice he’ll usually pick a day in the hills as his activity of choice. He has been steadily knocking off a few munro’s (though not quick enough for his liking!). Whilst getting out and doing the actual walking is pretty easy given he’s so keen, it’s the logistics of it all that seem to be the difficult part for us.
National walking month is over half way through now and whilst we have been out and about lots, we have only done a few walks as a family. So when Granny and Grandad arrived the boys decided that they wanted to take them hunting for treasure on one of their favourites up Fairy Hill.
The Postie arrived with a box this weekend that caused a great level of excitement. Who was it going to be for? Little Trekkers had sent us a set of Bogs Durham Solid Wellies to try out!
Having found several options for a wild camp during our ‘Island Hopping’ experience, all we really needed was the right weather. We were pleased to see that two or three reasonable days were forecast later in the week: winds would be light, and although the odd shower was possible, so too were some sunny spells.
It’s that time of year where the rivers are low and the weather warm. Well it has been up here anyway. We stole an after work and school session with the boys, where I dragged Nick away from his desk for an hour and we took the boys down to the River Feshie for some swimming and jumping in.
We try not to work too many weekends and spend them as family time, however last weekend was one where I was canoeing both days with some folks that wanted to become canoe leaders. What fabulous fun for me getting out in the boats on the lochs and Rivers locally.
It was a rather chilly and frosty day, and everybody was a bit lacklustre about giving Jarvis his walk. We decided to hop in the car and go a little bit further afield, rather than doing one of our usual walks we do every day. As we set off, I reeled off some of our favourites, which were greeted with a resounding “NO”. After reciting a huge long list and still not getting answers I asked in despair “well where then?” To which the answer came – “here” with James pointing to a small layby with a forest track leading away from it.
Something we’ve wanted to do for a long time is to take the children canoe-camping. This would open up lots of tantalising possibilities: a descent of the Thames, the Wye, or the Spey; a journey through the Great Glen, across Rannoch Moor; or an adventure into Knoydart or to Suilven.