Balnacra Arts & Pottery by Vicky Stonebridge

Sunny Work and Play

Life has been hectic, life has been sunny, no time for art or recording it. Backtracking to the 7th June. the sun was shining brightly, lovely stunning. I was lucky enough to get a chance to go on a Wildlife Tourism familiarisation day with SNH and others.  Some aspects of my project coordinator job had been a bit of a slog, so it was great to get a treat like this, by basically going on a lovely day out!  The idea was for people working within tourism etc to get a better idea of what was available in our area, which is often overlooked for more famous places like Skye.  My job was to have some input on our local places and to show people our tree house & community site.  We met at Strathcarron, then headed off to the Torridon Sea tours trip, this was idyllic and the friendly and knowledgeable people who run it made it even better. There was plenty of wildlife to see, sea birds, feral goats and birds of pray. But also the rock formations were amazing seen from the vantage point out at sea, it was all explained in a brilliantly accessible way by Meryl Carr our guide for the day.   Then a drive around the Applecross coast line with more photo stops, a visit to Croft Wools to see the fascinating yarns, looms and activities that Tom & Leslie Kilbride have on the go. Lunch at the Applecross walled garden , Nettle & chili soup YUM! a chat with Jill from the Applecross landscape partnership project about the work they have done on the peninsular with footpaths, heritage and environment.  then to chat with Alistair McGowan at the Applecross Heritage Centre. My brain is working over time thinking of ideas to take home to our project. Up over the Bealach na Ba, a stag posed perfectly on a rock in the sunlight for our awestruck visitors, then onwards to our project at the Smithy Community hub,  showed everyone around the treehouse & iGallery & home, sunkissed and inspired !

Well it was too good a day the next day and Fuar Tholl a local mountain, known locally as ‘wellington’s nose’ was looking too tempting. We’d been promising ourselves to go up a hill every weekend, so we actually made it this time, armed with sun lotion, snacks and walking poles up we stomped. I haven’t walked up big mountains in the last ten years much, ironically being on fire call all the time leaves me no time to actually do serious exercise. I also have gammy feet & used to get dodgy knees,  so i’m not that confident. My doggie Bruno has also been gettting too hot and can seize up sometimes, so I was being cautious. It is a lot of phychology, looking ahead up at massive cliffs and a huge lump of rock it just seems impossible. But a step at a time. Daftly we decided to head up a slope which looked shallower that the usual scree path i would take. It wasn’t, it was a massive slog up loose rocks, sometimes on top of craggy bits at 45degrees or worse. It was a case of not being able to go back so carrying on forwards, hard going. Worth it at the top through, clear views across the north of scotland right over to Harris and up into sutherland.  Andy’s knee gave him pain on the climb up, Bruno-dog thought he’d bum shuffle right off a cliff ( nearly ! see photo ) , and my knees and a foot went on me the minute we started the decent, ouch. My jaw was sore the next day from gritting teeth so much. OUCH.  so next time i’ll take painkillers, whiskey and invest in some good knee braces ! Great to have done it though. Getting fit is one thing, getting old is irritating however!

So what we needed was a nice relaxing sunday off… ?  Wrong, Sunday was a Volunteer workparty day at the Smithy which we’d organised with work. another SCORCHING hot day. But it was okay we had hot soup and a nice hot bonfire to keep us…warm. Good fun, we got lots done with some new volunteers and were finally rewarded with a nice glass of wine at the treehouse, bliss !

and then….  i slept.

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2013 by in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , .

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