Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bathgate Highland Games

Missy observing the pipers
I always laugh at myself about these things. I dislike stereotypes and I've always felt that the Scottish have had a great disservice done to them by Hollywood. No, we're not all ginger and wear kilts all the time. I've never even tasted buckfast (or buckie as its actually called around here), let alone spending all hours drinking it and don't get me started on deep fried mars bars...

And that's the smaller, lighter caber...
However, give a man a caber and I'm right there getting all worked up if the judge calls it a ten-to-twelve when clearly its five-to. I adore everything about the games - the pipers, the dancers, the heavy games and the whole avenue of burger and chip vans. The best part is that they are almost always dog friendly and its a great place to bump into other dog owners and discuss they best part of your fur-baby amongst lots of very loud music.

This year I went with a friend who used to compete with the Highland Dancing. I've been learning highland for a few years now and it was really good to to be told about the fine details of competitive dancing and to point out dancers we thought were doing really well. We both had dance-envy by the end of the day though!

An unfortunate miss
As a result of her competitive dancing, my friend had also never seen the heavy games. The commentator was very tongue-in-cheek about the athletes and did a good job of explaining what was happening in each game. Whilst the caber tossing is the big draw, I do love the aptly-named 'weight over a bar' event (pictured above). For me, the thought of carrying a 4-stone weight is horrific, let alone trying to toss it 15 feet in the air over a bar!

Missy made lots of doggy friends and we all had a nice time out in the fresh air. The weather held for us but it wasn't so sunny that we burned or overheated. The mood of the event was really good and everyone seemed to be having a genuinely nice time.

All in all a good day. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hermand Beechwood

I absolutely love it when you discover a new place right on your doorstep. Yesterday my friend was running the Bing Blitz at Harburn Estate and, knowing it was a 'tough mudder', volunteered my shower for her as the run was literally happening on my doorstep (well, 4 miles down from my doorstep).

Knowing it was a respectable walking distance, I decided to go along with another friend to spectate and, on the way, passed this inviting image:

Of course curiosity won out in the end. 
I made a mental note of the exact location and distance and put it on the to-do list. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about the run itself, but the heavens decided to open as we waited to get photos of the runners and the whole thing was terribly organised - little things from the spectators area grass not being cut (so we were literally soaked through from the onset) to there being only one gazebo for shelter with 4 tables inside. Had the weather been lovely I'm sure it would have been fine, but this is Scotland, you have to prepare for rain in all occasions.

So, partly to make up to Missy for all of us being soaked through yesterday, and my own curiosity, we visited the Hermand Beechwood on today's afternoon walk.

I wasn't disappointed. This is quite possibly the most picturesque wood I've ever found, it really is something straight out of a story book. A quick look on the woodland trust website says that this wood was planted in the 18th Century and, despite being small, offers an enclosed and interesting area for the dog to investigate (also, with it being a little over two miles to get to, the resulting round trip is plenty for an interesting afternoon).

With spring being firmly underway, I try and keep away from fields and livestock. Missy has little interest in sheep or cattle, but I wouldn't want to risk anything happening by accident.

We got lucky and the weather held out for us (we managed to fit the walk in between two heavy showers). I also noticed another woodland adjacent to this one, so perhaps soon I'll go and investigate that too!

Just a short post today, till next time!