Wednesday, 29 September 2010

La Grave & Glencoe

Glencoe ski mountain is not quite La Grave but easily the nearest in atmosphere and terrain that Scotland has to offer - IMHO of course ............

La Grave: A Skier's Journey Ep2 from Jordan Manley Photography on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tour of Ardgour & Glencoe and Tour of North Argyll

Tour of Ardgour Sport Route
I have been saying it for long enough.  Time this area had a Sportive cycle event. There is a growing trend for low key unsupported events with a minimal entry fee.  A bit like a timed club run. Next year I think we should have one here.  An event company from out with area has shown an interest but due to being in someone else's patch it may come to nothing and as local event organisers are very much mountain bike rather than road bike oriented it might never happen in Lochaber.  So next Easter - low key Sportive anyone?
(double click maps for enlarged view)
A more formal event could be run from Glencoe Mountain around the excellent circuit of North Argyll starting and finishing at the ski resort. Easter would be good time for this one IMHO. At 101miles it's a real beauty and with the access from the main population centres could be a huge event if done by an event company and a great low key run for us locals. What do folk think?
Glencoe Mountain & Tour of North Argyll

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Write A Book they Ask?

"No Fuss" events are good fun with 10 under the Ben having upwards of 800 entries. 
Somehow I won the Vets 2008 with eight 10 mile laps in 10 hours
What a bag of worms you can open for yourself on Facebook.  I have been going over my digital photos and also looking out old slides some of which I have scanned.  I must have 3,000 images from over the years, many of them taken of acute medical problems or trauma to use as examples in teaching when I used to teach emergency medicine as well as provide it.  None of these images will ever see Facebook or any other public audience now, as I have binned many, especially those with a sad outcome.  I have no need to face some of these harrowing pictures nor should anyone else.  I have put some bizarre ones up, but all patients in them were fine in the end.

Many comments on Facebook suggest I should write a book on MR and the experiences I have had.  I have worked as a Paramedic, Mountain Rescuer, Pisteur/Ski Patroller at an advanced level of care, after finally discovering I had a brain, studying hard at college and even ending up as one of the founders of the Faculty of Pre Hospital Care of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh. None of it came easy as with patient responsibility comes patient advocacy. This over the years resulted in many confrontations with other rescue agencies - and people, but by and large, as long as it was patient centred the result was always better next time around. 

At 53 I am still extremely fit (at least I think so) and I can still climb hardish routes. My medical skills will fade  but that's fine. I left MR because I had my time and did my bit and was from a generation of MR that prided itself on looking out for your fellow mates on and off the hill. I couldn't help being a fit, better climber than most, and with good medical skills, and folk being unable to keep up with me as I was very fast.  Being called a "one man rescue team" was quite a compliment. The patients sure appreciated it. There will be no book on MR even though it played such a big part in my life.  It will always crop up as anecdotes come to mind and old pics of some fine men I was proud to work with surface from slide boxes. But a book on that alone?  No, who wants to read about tragedies. Way too ghoulish.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" By Robert Frost
I was left school at 14 and started an apprenticeship as a joiner which I left at 17 to join the Forestry commission. The Forestry and the men I worked with, many of them WW2 veteran's would provide a rich seam to mine for a book, as would the years when I became a lumberjack, a ski instructor and a mountaineering instructor and one of the first Paramedics in the UK, all while also climbing some of the uk's hardest climbs of my generation with some of the best of the time, whose coat tails I was hanging onto. Lots of escapades and adventures. I have always raced a road bike, initially to make me a faster Scottish Alpinist but I began to enjoy the cut and thrust of racing and driving myself to collapse to try and feed my competitive streak. Ski Rescue has also been a rich and rewarding job as has skiing and the folk I have taught or met through this wonderful sport, both here and abroad. I love skiing off piste. I am an accomplished salmon fisher having caught my share of the silver leaper. Now I return the vast majority for conservation purposes, but there will always be some in the freezer. Fishing has also provided a rich seam of happy memories and anecdotes.

Duncan with a fine 10lb fish
So, I am defined by the place I to which I belong and the people who live here and whom  have influenced my life. I have been fortunate in that respect. And a lucky man to have good partner who is no mean sports woman.  Where do you start to write when you have been influenced by such a rich variety of characters, sports and experience;  from Appin to Val d Isere, Glencoe to Mont St Anne, Glen Etive to the Sudan. I also count myself fortunate to have worked with the Joint Services Mountain Centre for the last 12 years. Another interesting chapter.

I suppose the first words might be the hardest.  One day soon  ....................
Fiona after 86 miles in 5hrs 20m.  We can all change lives

Monday, 13 September 2010

Peak to Peak Race

Hand Cyclists - Disabled not in their thinking
Saturday was grim weather.  The final climb up Cairngorm against the wind up the steep "down" track was torture.  Interesting event with some just wanting to complete and a few of us wanting to race hard - which we did.  Three of us worked hard and many said they couldn't take a turn out front.  some could but didn't which really pissed me off as at the end they tried to shaft us resulting in me wanting a boxing match at the end.  Still 3 of us finished in the same time 3:20 with the moral and actual victory mine.  Great folk running the event and the hand cyclists following us were truly inspirational.  This event will be bigger next year I am sure.
The final break with me getting my wheel sucked well and truly
Same time and glad it's over