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  • Ben Nevis - Big Tick!

    Probably the hardest thing I have ever done, made more so by adverse weather conditions, but we did it!  And I am very impressed to have done it in 8 hours, despite a stretch at snail's pace and wondering if I really would get there...


    Ben Nevis 2012 010.JPG

    Yes, that's snow at the top!  The first of the season (and by heck did it sting!)

  • Psalms of Ascent... or Yomping Songs

    When I hill walk, and the going gets tough, and my creaky joints creak, there are several strategies I use to keep me going.

    One is to anticipate the exhilaration when I (finally) get there.

    One is to consciously call to mind the reason I am doing this - whether 'just' pleasure or as a fundraiser; if the latter I deliberately imagine walking with me the people who inspired the fundraising in the first place.

    One is to count the paces - no stopping until I've done 100, 200 or whatever it might be... inevitably by the time I reach that figure I've walked through the latest 'wall'.

    And one is to sing songs and hymns to myself.  As often as not 'Father hear the prayer we offer' with its line 'but the steep and rugged pathway, may we tread rejoicingly'.  This morning I've been wondering what others I may need to get me up Ben Nevis, especially if the predicted snow arrives! (They were predicting sun a couple of days ago).  Among those I know pretty well 'off by heart' are...

    One more step along the world I go [or, up the hill I go!]

    Brother, sister, let me serve you... we are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road, we are here to help eahc other, walk the mile and share the load  [or, companions on the Ben]

    Step by step, on an on, we'll walk with Jesus til the journey is done....

    The journey of life may be easy may be hard, there'll be trials on the way...

    When we walk with the Lord...


    Any other suggestions gladly received!  Though it may need a transmat beam for them to reach me!!


    Many, many thanks to all who have sponsored me - the total this morning is £1300, and there are still a few promised donations to come.  That is wonderful news.  See here for some of the ways the money might be used.  If you happen to live in NHS GGC and are unfortunate enough to join this 'club' you will almost certainly be given leaflets produced by this charity as part of your info. pack.


    Back on Monday... blog silence whilst I am 'up north'.  Have a good weekend everyone.

  • Unintentioned Intentionality

    'What?'  You ask.  Let me explain, or try to.

    I have been a Girls' Brigade leader for a little over thirty years - scary in itself.  The GB leaders a generation 'above' me tended to sign off letters as 'yours in Brigade' and we all kind of knew what it meant.  At various times I have met people who are/were GB leaders and we instantly fell into deep and hilarious conversations about all things GB.  There is something about the intentionality of the organisation that runs quite deep.  My Guide friends report the same thing.  Indeed, to be fair, GB and Guide leaders are capable of similar unintentioned intentionality when they get together.

    In a couple of hours I am due to pick up an online 'friend' at Glasgow airport and see her and her husband safely onto their train to Fort William where they are travelling ahead of the weekend's Ben Nevis climb.  Combine the ridiculous lack of a rail link from Glasgow airport into town, with Scotrail's crazy route, and they are slightly bewildered.  Easier by far that I collect them and dispatch them from the centre of the universe that is Hyndland station, possibly on the self same train that Scotrail told them to get from Glasgow Central via Dalmuir (the Fort William train goes from Queen Street....)!  She and I share some common experiences over the last couple of years, and so there is a similar unintended intentionality going on.  This morning, I had an email from another online 'friend' who is part of the same 'club no one wants to join' saying she wanted to travel up (from Cumbria!) to welcome us back off the mountain.  The same kind of instant connection arises as does with the GB/Guide leaders.

    So.  Question.  Is this a 'girl' thing?  Or is it a shared experience thing?  It happens to an extent at Baptisty events, but never to the same intensity.  I have never shared real belly laughs with individual, unknown Baptists, and sometimes they really wind me up form the get-go.  What do others think?

  • Serendipity

    Today's walk was exceedingly wet and windy... so, after reaching the top of the first hill, and munching some lunch, we turned back because to have continued would have been plain daft. Not exactly fun, but a useful final training walk ready for the weekend. As is the way of these things, just as we got back to the car, the cloud lifted and we finally saw the hills! None of which is the serendipity.

    I travelled up by train and somewhere along the way the dolphin key-ring on my bootbag fell off. This was a shame, but I thought no more about it. As it happened I'd also had a take-away coffee and left the empty cup on the train. So, the day passed, and I got into a train home, and found myself back in the same seat on the same train (I knew this because the paper cup was still where I'd left it! So much for cleaning of trains) ... and there on floor was my key-ring! Serendipity? Seems like it to me.

  • A Grand Day In.... and (hopefully) A Grand Day Out

    Yesterday was one of those golden days that come along now and then.  It was - for me - an ordinary working day, yet it was just great from start to end.  Much of it was spent researching and choosing hymns for our upcoming harvest service which, because there was no real urgency, I could take at a leisurely pace and play around with the order more than I sometimes do.  I went home for my 'break' with a sense of accomplishment. 

    After tea it was back to church for our Monday Funday quiz night.  There were 16 or 17 of us there and a great time was had by all.  I played the part of 'pointless assistant' (score keeper) and we were entertained by rounds on the history of our church, name that carol tune, name that hymn, Biblical arithmetic, whose pet?, who am I? pointless knowledge and - the piece de resistance - 'would I lie to you?'  Gales of laughter swept through the room as various folk demonstrated their ability to spin a good yarn (especially the one about the nativity set knitted from leftover yarn and the one about the ballet lessons with Sascha Popov...)

    All in all, a grand day.

    Today I am heading off to meet a friend to be 'dragged up and down some hills' in final preparation for Ben Nevis this weekend.  I really hope the weather improves between now and then, though having looked at the forecast, it is far better there than here.  The organisation of this adventure has been meticulous - with mountain guides and medics on hand to ensure the 'shepherd and the ninety-nine', as I have mischievously named the 100 walkers, get up and down safely.  No adventure is risk free, and sadly in recent weeks someone fell to their death from Ben Nevis, but if nothing else the last couple of years have taught me to carpe diem - seize the day.  I have friends who have successfully and safely climbed Ben Nevis on a whim and I like to think I am a sufficiently experienced hill-walker not to take undue risks (plus anyone who knows my irrational fear of edges will know I am VERY cautious at times).

    So, a soggy and blustery day in prospect - but hopefully good fun too.