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All Because the Lady Loves Milk Tray

It has been a very busy and eventful few weeks. Let me try to give you an insight to the comings and goings of a Savory life at Ardeonaig.

At some point I had to drive to Ardgour, just to drive back again, as Fran and I had to drop off a borrowed minibus. It was a little busy and frustrating on the roads with so many tourists around, but I did get to go on the Corran ferry for the first time ever. If only the crossing to France was as quick!

We have also had a good couple of weeks at the centre with a boys and then girls RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) group. They come from all over the place and are sponsored by various Rotary organisations to do activities through the week, culminating in a large scale operation called “Milk Tray” on their last full day. It’s a great week as you review with the group at the end of each session about learning outcomes. They are involved with helping to run some of the activities, so we get to see real growth and development by the end of their stay.

As the participants are teenagers, there is certainly some interesting drama, dynamics and plenty of tears (mostly from the girls). But, we are also able to do some of our more adventurous activities such as mountain days and river trips.

I had a couple of days on the Ben Lawers range with the girls. One day we reached the top of Beinn Ghlas (the next we didn’t), but the joy of summiting was offset by the abundance of bilberries that were ripe for the picking in the nature reserve at the bottom of the hill.

To have so much fresh fruit right on my doorstep is a delight. There were so many bilberries that after eating my fill, I started to collect some to take home to make a smoothie! I might’ve had the stain on my hand for quite a while after the above picture!

Anyways, to Milk Tray. It starts on the Thursday evening and takes up the majority of the Friday too, and is a HUGE team exercise with goal of collecting chocolates and a Milk Tray box, to present to the “lady that loves Milk Tray”. The group spreads out to achieve various tasks one of which was to rescue me, from a nearby hill, on a stretcher. I went to hide and enjoyed this marvellous view…

Fortunately, coming up the hill, with the group was Tom. Tom is a member of Killin Mountain Rescue Team and as such made sure the stretcher was correctly assembled, that I was correctly fastened to said stretcher, and then oversaw the descent and made sure that I wasn’t dropped!

I’m very glad Tom was there, but the girls did do a stirling job. They successfully completed the task and the whole exercise, and delivered the chocolates in the nick of time.

Since then, I had the privilege to guide a group around Killin on a very gentile adventure day. We set off to explore the history of the area starting with the castle, then the Falls of Dochart, the stone circle, and finally the MacNab Memorial. It was a great day exploring the local area with a group.

Then today I had another fantastic day. A whole morning spent cruising around the loch with two leaders. It was sunny, calm and they were capable enough to make the most of the conditions, with a pleasant journey.

It has been very busy, but rewarding few weeks. The only low-light of the last couple of weeks was having a weekend of discomfort and illness. After a trip to hospital it turned out I had an infection, but a week later and a course of antibiotics, I’m back to my usual self.

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