This week has been very busy with work, leading Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. Saturday and Sunday saw a Bronze assessment expedition up near Ben Vorlich. This involved 2-days walking in glorious sunshine and one night camping among the midges. Despite getting into my tent in lightening quick time, through a cloud of midges, the next 10 minutes were spent squishing a large number of the little buggers that had managed to sneak in with me, and my new one-man tent is now decorated with little black squidge marks. As this was an assessment, I was remotely supervising the group, which was particularly fun on the first day, as we started them off walking, had time to get an ice-cream in Comrie, and then drove alongside the opposite site of valley to their pathway and spied on them with binoculars. When then took a short walk down to a common navigational error junction, and hid in the bushes to watch them pass. I felt like a spy!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday followed (as they often do, after Saturday and Sunday) with a Silver practice expedition. I had a lovely group of 5 girls, and spend some time teaching them navigation skills, although they were already fairly competent from their bronze. This also involved 2 nights out in my tent, bringing my nights spent outside to 11. I also got to spend considerable time with the other leader, Bill, who counts as one of my interesting people. He is an ex-police chief inspector and now works part-time on his outdoor business and spends the rest of his time in a little cottage north of Inverness. He has strong (positive) opinions on encouraging women in the workplace and is an enthusiastic outdoor instructor, if a little ‘old-school.’ He also spent much of the down-time on expeditions napping.
The weather was stunningly beautiful throughout, with sunshine and blue skies, except for one day of thunder and lightning, which was less good...
The Friday before embarking on my DofE work, I had the opportunity to cook a Thai Green curry – again one of the Simply Cook recipes. It was pretty tasty, although I bulked it out with a bit too much veg, so the flavour was diluted somewhat.
The Sunday night in between expeditions was a chance for a nice dinner out with Matt, where we tried out another restaurant – Café Andaluz – a tapas restaurant on George Street. The food was lovely, accompanied by the traditional jug of sangria. We then stayed on to enjoy some cocktails, and I therefore got 2 new types of alcohol for my challenge. One was called Strawberry Punch with a Punch, which was a champagne base (I apparently have expensive taste.) The second one was called Lust, and combined Baileys with a butterscotch flavoured liqueur. It came in a shot glass, but it was delicious! This brings my total different types of alcohol to 29……!
Things I’ve learnt this week:
- Even in Scotland, it is possible to get sunburn to the point of blisters on your skin. One of the DofE girls forgot to suncream her ears and ended up with a blister.
- Being on top of a peak, and then walking down a ridge, in a storm of thunder and lightning, is indeed, in the words of Queen, very very frightening.
- It’s possible to improve the flavour of Baileys! Already pretty tasty, by adding butterscotch to it, it’s fantastic!
- I’m almost over my fear of the hairdressers. After a doorstop-fringe incident when I was 15, I have always been scared that hairdressers are going to hack your hair to pieces, even if they seem to know what they are talking about. Still, I put my trust in this hairdresser yesterday, even when she asked if I wanted my hair to look ‘choppy.’ No, I still don’t know what she meant.