Monday, 13 July 2015

Getting outside.

The plan for this Sunday past was to climb my fourth Munro (Ben Lawer) with my friend Andrea. However she is also in training for an epic 52 mile cycle throughout the Trossachs to raise money for Parkinson's UK. If you'd like to make a wee donation to Andrea's cause then you can do that here.

Perhaps she spent too much time around me last year or perhaps she's just her own brand of mad but she's all signed up and almost ready to go!  All that requires to be done now is the training. Oh the training!  Unfortunately, a particularly harsh training cycle on the Saturday before our climb proved too much for her poor, wee legs. As a result, we agreed to call off the hill climb and I allowed Andrea a day of relaxing in ice baths to recover. I'm nice like that, you see.

Lately, I've been craving a bit more adventure in my life so I was reluctant to give up the opportunity to get out and do something. I happened across Alastair Humphrey's blog recently and was pretty inspired by it. Funnily enough some of the big challenges he takes on aren't really for me. I'm far too settled in my life to consider a cycling trip around the world, for example. It was the smaller adventures, his concept of micro adventures, which really struck a chord with me because it's pretty much exactly what I was advocating throughout 2014.

I've always had this idea that I'd have a big life, full of adventure and experiences but sometimes it feels like it isn't possible if you can't find the finances to travel to exotic places, the time to dedicate to lengthy adventures or the motivation to carry out extreme feats of physical activity. Reading Alastair's blog has reminded me that all I need to do to find adventure is step outside from time to time.

So it came to be that on Sunday, faced with the option of sitting in and binge watching Netflix (as is typical of late) or getting outside for a while, I chose to go outside and even managed to rope the other half into the action.

Sometimes it's easy for those of us living in Scotland to forget about what is right underneath our noses. I look at Instagram photos of scenes from all over the world thinking, 'Oh if only I could get out and see that' and yet, I have one of the most striking countries right outside my front door and I rarely use the opportunity to explore it fully.

Edinburgh has been my home for a while now and I've only ventured over to the Pentland Hills once in all that time and even then, I stayed firmly on the lower ground. On Sunday, Ryan and I parked at Flotterstone information centre and then walked along towards Glencorse. Once we reached the edge of the reservoir we walked up the Kirk Road and across the peaks of the hills. You can scope out a map here, because truth be told, you'd be simply mad to follow my directions. Remember?

In total, we spent about four hours trailing around the hills. I would suggest for anyone heading out to follow in our footsteps that perhaps you should do it the opposite way around as most of our route was uphill on the way home, which was not ideal really.

The Pentlands is an ideal place for a less strenuous walk as you can stay on the lower level and never venture up any of the hills, as I did here. If you're looking for some spectacular views out over Edinburgh then you can take on the steep - so steep- climb up to the first hill. From here the peaks ebb and flow so you are faced with plenty of upward and downward walks to get those thigh muscles burning. Mine are aching today, I tell you.

It is my belief that those who venture outside will be rewarded for their efforts and in Ryan's case, his decision to trail around the Pentlands with me rewarded him with the sight of me falling arse over tit out of a tree into a pile of (sheep? cow?) poo. Well worth the journey he assures me.


  1. Oh wow, what incredible views! This was definitely worth ditching the couch and Netflix for! I definitely agree that it's so easy to forget how beautiful Scotland is - I think being surrounded by the chaos of a city makes me forget how close by some of the most incredible scenery is.


    p.s. shame about the poo - the perils of the countryside!

    1. It's not a bad view at all is it!?

      I'm hugely guilty of not appreciating my own backyard enough and always lusting after the exotic. I think one of the best things that came out of last year's challenges for me was this desire to explore Scotland a little more.

      Yeh it was a shame about the poo but really, I only have myself to blame!