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Rivers and Hills

I had a couple of days off at the start of last week. On the Monday I went for a bit of a drive around to see some sights and have a little space to myself. I drove through this little village (see picture below) and love the humour of its occupants to pair with the town it did. Simply brilliant.

This week, I helped Tom out with leading a group down the Tay in open canoes, from the green bridge on the Lyon, to the SCA car park on the Tay.

When I say lead, we were there to facilitate the group who had to lead each other, and also we looked after safety (picking up any swimmers, of which there were a few!)

On the Thursday I had the same group but this time for a mountain day. They decided to do Ben Lawers and then Beinn Ghlas on the way down. Today they worked much better as a team, with: clearer communication, better consideration for others, and a flexible but clear and well understood plan from everyone involved. The only downside was a bit of chafing for some the guys in the group not used to walking 12km over two Munros!

On Friday I had the same team once again for high ropes. They continued on in the same vein as the day before, with good team work and participation with the exception of one chap who decided that he didn’t want to do it and disappeared 15 minutes into the session. The rest of the team carried on regardless, with one of them in considerable discomfort from the aforementioned chafing, to a triumphant end to the week and a great high ropes session.

That afternoon I had a gorge walk with a new group, and was pleased to discover the water had risen in temperature since the last time I was in it.

On the Saturday I was on low ropes and archery all day with the new group. These sessions were slightly different in that the group was here for more of a holiday, a break from their usual life and an exciting experience that they wouldn’t usually get. They were heard to be calling the main house “a mansion” and had spent many hours running around the corridors screaming with excitement and chasing each other around. We had a blast, particularly with archery – they loved it.

On Sunday, Lachie and I popped over to Loch Faskally just off of the A9 near Pitlochry to meet 6 giggly girls who were learning how to canoe in preparation for their gold D of E expedition.

I can’t believe that I’ve not stopped here before, a beautiful little loch and so easily accessible. I was excited for the day as I like having a group that are willing to learn and having a whole day to impart knowledge and wisdom to equip them for their future adventures. It was the perfect day.

It was absolutely still in the morning. We could teach and coach all the moving and steering strokes without the wind trying to mess things up. We went for a journey towards the dam, with a little breath of wind, to have lunch and use the toilets. During lunch the wind started to pick up, and by the time we were back on the water we needed to raft the three canoes together and encourage them to paddle altogether to overcome the wind. This was a penny dropping moment for the girls who thought that canoeing might be easy compared to walking for their exped. You could see from their faces and tell by their silence that they were finding it hard work, and were concerned about having to fight with canoes and wind for 5 days later on in the year. Hopefully they will remember the good parts of the day, and their struggle will only encourage them to seek out some canoes and continue to practice before committing themselves to the full force of nature on Loch Lomond in August.

After packing up and reviewing the day, Lachie and I headed home. I slept for a full 11 hours last night! Today I’ve just been enjoying the sun as it fills this place with its joy. I have also put all my days off for the next couple of months into my diary, so that I can try to organise trips, holidays, adventures and rest for the next wee while. Right now though, the smell of dinner is wafting through the air and I’m off to see what we’re having!

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