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May 17, 2017 - Aviemore, Blog    No Comments

Cairngorm Wednesday 17 May 2017

View from Ptarmigan Terrace

The Caingorm’s National Park and Aviemore has special memories for Margaret and I as a couple. We came here in December 1968 stayed at Kinguisse Youth Hostel with Anne Pryor her boyfriend Stan Watt and a friend of mine from Minworth, John Burford.

Since Margaret passed away in January 2016 I have chosen to spread her ashes in a number of locations that I felt would be appropriate in remembering her and to involve our three sons as well.

The first stop on this journey was Lamlash in Arran where she spent many holidays with her family. Steven, Yvonne and their family joined me along with Margaret’s sister Sandra. The weather was not kind with pouring rain most of the day.

Journey two was to South Africa in December 2016 to reunite Anne her best friend from primary school. The location was Vitomi Dam in The Kruger national park a very fitting place to spread her ashes.

Journey three was to Leuchie House where Margaret went for respite twice year from 2000. The many friends along with her brother David and Janice joined me for a very emotional reunion almost exactly a year on from when she was taken to hospital on her visit in 2016.

And so I am accompanied by Philip and Jacquei on this latest journey. I do not know exactly the location of the photo (to be added) which was taken in The Cairngorms in December 1968.  That period from December 28 to January 4 was to be our introduction to each other and finally married in 1970 and to over over 45 happy years together.

The picture shows me, Philip and Jacquei at the Ciste Piste area where we re-located to from my original plan of Loch Morlich. The vista was stunning showing the area at its best. 

A ride up the new Mountain Railway to the Ptarmigan restaurant for lunch again with stunning views across the national park to as far away as Inverness in the north and Ben Nevis just visible in the west.

I read this poem by Emma Atwell

© Emma Etwell

Please do not weep.
My body may not be there.
It has chosen to sleep.
I’m not that far away.
My soul lives on,
Looking down, watching over
You and everyone.
And when you feel sad
And life seems so blue,
Just remember
That my spirit has its arms around you.
And on those special days,
Times that you wish I could see,
That cool breeze flowing past you…
Well, that will be me,
So don’t be sad.
Have no fear.
God has taken me under his wing,
But I’ll always be near.
I still watch you
Every minute, every day.
My love and soul are with you,
And that’s where they will stay.


A great day viewing Scotland at its best.

May 17, 2017 - Aviemore, Blog    No Comments

A new journey 16 May 2017

View towards Cairgorms from main roadToday we travelled up from Glasgow to Aviemore on another journey that I planned to make after Margaret passed away in January 2016. This journey I am making in the company of Philip and his wife Jacqueline.

The Youth Hostel in Kingussie closed in 1995

Aviemore has some special memories for me not least as it was where Margaret and I found that something which bonded us together for over 45 years. First stop was to see if the youth hostel in Kingussie was still operating but it has now been turned into a restaurant call the Auld Alliance. As no one was at home we made I had a little look round and took some pictures it had not changed at all. I recall the moment when we returned from bringing in the New Year in Aviemore with over a foot of snow on the ground. It was well past midnight so no access into the hostel till morning lets just say it was a little on the cold side for a few hours.

On ward travel to Aviemore via the old road just as I did all those years ago to our stay for a few days at Pine Bank Chalets. 

The evening was spent at The Bridge Inn for a belated birthday treat.

Tomorrow we are going to spend Margaret’s ashes on the shores of Loch Morlich and then travel up to the Ptarmigen Cafe at 3500ft by train no walking/hiking.

Apr 7, 2017 - Blog, Walking in Competa    No Comments

Day 7 Friday April 7

Our final day Walking in Competa organised by Ramblers Uk.

Today’s  objective is a high ridge route from Fabrica de la Luz about 7 km from Competa. The route takes us up through a lovely gorge in the morning sunshine. The target for the first part is Pureto Blanquillo. The initial track is narrow crossing the steam a couple of times before opening out from the undergrowth to narrow rocky track up to the col.

We reached here about 12 noon. A short decending walk to our lunch stop of Venta Pradillos an old settlement but a welcome break as we had been on the go since 09-15.



We began our decent back to Puerto De Colado after lunch and were afforded excellent views of the surrounding region which is stunning everywhere you looked.



Finally arrived back to Competa for a little refreshment with the Ramblers Crew a well earned drink for the good company of 19 different persons coming together just 7 days ago. A real band of brothers/sisters.

Thanks to each for their company.

Fitbit stats

Steps 27926, 21.55 km, 244 floors

Heart 37 min peak, 4 hrs 19 mins cardio, 4 hrs 49 min Fat burn.

weekly distance 107.90 km

Apr 6, 2017 - Blog, Walking in Competa    No Comments

Day 6 Thursday April 6

Objective today is an undulating walk from just outside Competa to Frigiliana approx 17 km.

Voted the ‘prettiest village in Andalucía’ by the Spanish tourism authority, Frigiliana is also important from an historical viewpoint. El Fuerte, the hill that climbs above the village, was the scene of the final bloody defeat of the Moors of La Axarquía in their 1569 rebellion. The hill is topped by scanty remains of a ruined fort from which some of the Moors reputedly threw themselves rather than be killed or captured by the Spanish. It is said that bones and rusted weapons dating from this encounter still lie among the scrub on El Fuerte.

See Frigiliana info page

Coolest day so far but no rain. Walk from outside Competa to a lovely small village called Acebuchal. Stopped here @ 11 am. Had a large slice of carrot cake cream and coffee. Onwards then to the town of Frigiliana. Bus back to Competa. 15km today build up to the ridge walk. The route was a very pleasant walk along the forest tracks, for the first time this week there were a lot of motor traffic making their way to Acebuchal and the town of Frigiliana. We had two hours to take our lunch and explore. 

Fitbit info

Steps 20804, Distance 15.82 km, 127 floors.

Heart 23 mins peak, 3 hrs 4 min cardio, 4 hrs 52 min fat burn



Apr 5, 2017 - Blog, Walking in Competa    No Comments

Day 5 Wednesday April 5

This our rest day boy do we need RR. Most days on the hoof of around 6 hrs OK we did have some long stops for the odd refreshment.

A large group went by local bus down to the coast but I decided I needed as much rest as possible.

After getting map etc from tourist office decided to look out the 15 mosaics dotted around the town. Will add further when I get home.



Fitbit info

Steps 11709, 8.9 km, 67 floors.

Heart 12 peak, 1 hr 41 mins cardio, 10 hrs 32 min fat burn.






Apr 5, 2017 - Blog, Walking in Competa    No Comments

Day 4 Tuesday April 4


Our objective for today.

Dinner taken outside when suitable if the wind does not get up. 19 round the table brilliant company. The wine is quite good too.


Some stats from Fitbit for each day.

Steps 27480 = 20.88 km

Floors 220

Heart rate 22 min peak, 5 hrs 5 min cardo, fat burn 12 hrs 13 mins

Apr 5, 2017 - Blog, Walking in Competa    No Comments

Day 3 Monday April 3

This was the view on our first stop at Puerto del Collado. A steep initial climb out of Competa and a steady track winding round the hillside to this view point. A fabulous vista we had after only about 1.5 hrs walking. A good rest here for photos and a discussion of where next.

off we set before turning off up hill along a narrow track for some 200/300 m climbing, quite tough going till we reached the col. Mini lunch break taken here time about 1145. 

Set off again some went to the fire watch tower and the rest caught with the party a little way down the track. 

Destination was Canillas de Albaida, mostly fire and forestry roads from here on – lunch break taken around 1300 en-route.

Eventually arrive at Canillas and just a wee drink was taken before returning to Competa.

Some stats from Fitbit for each day.

steps 25837 = 19.64 km

Floors 204

Heart rate   33 min peak, 3 hrs 15 min cardo, fat burn 12 hr 18 mins






Walking in Competa

Well I am always up for something new. Decided to try a walking holiday with Ramblers UK and plumbed for this one week in northern Spain with a group of unknown people – a dip into the unknown.

Arr here April 1 after joining up with group at Malaga Airport. Flight from Glasgow was with leaving at 06-50. Group assembly was made with fellow Ramblers UK clients and guide Ursula. The group members came from London, Manchester and Canadians.

 A journey by coach of about 1.5 hrs up into the Axarquia district from Malaga got everyone introducing themselves to within the group of 19 persons. Ursula the guide gave us an update of the surrounding area and what was to happen in the evening before dinner. 

After checkin and a short rest it was off to do a check of the town of Competa with Ursula and the group.

Back to hotel Balcon de Competa for our nightly debrief for the day ahead.

Full instructions of the week ahead and the task/objective for tomorrow April 2. 

Day one local circular walk via Canallis.

Day two up via Peuteo Collobro and then upwards before descending back into Canallis.

Day three short taxi ride to begin route around to Arabic town of Salares.

Day four was a rest day.

Day five a route to Frigiliana about 17km.

Day six a high local ridge route.

There will be spelling errors and photos to add at a later date.

After reading I will update as and when possible.



Mar 26, 2017 - Blog, Just Now    No Comments

Mothers Day We will always remember you

On this special day we remember our mothers who perhaps had the most influence on our lives. This is the second mothers day without Margaret my wife and mother to our three boys. So I want to share with you the words from my card I brought.

Taking a special moment to think of you

Some people can’t help but bring warm thoughts to mind …

They are known for ways they are caring and kind.

For positive outlooks and laughter they share

For others feel better whenever they’re there ….

Special to know and spend time around, too,

they’re the ones who are nice to remember  – like you (Margaret)

I am so grateful for the wonderful gift of you  (Margaret) in my life.


All my love always