Wednesday, November 30, 2005

1/3 UDASC Challenge

The UDASC Challenge meet was at the weekend, it was also my last competitive meet of the year so I was looking forward to it. I had entered the Breast Stroke Challenge which is the best time over a 50m, 100m and 200m added together. We started with the 100m, I just kept in the one twenty three's with a time of 1.23.97. And that was as far as my challenge went. An neck injury from earlier in the year flared up so though it best to quit and limit the damage.

Well done to the UDASC team that record a score of PB's which included a challenge medal winner.

Monday, November 28, 2005

28 November snowing in Aboyne

originally uploaded by ecotorch.
The white stuff returns after a couple of days of thaw conditions in the village.

The Eastern Ski resort are open with Glenshee and the Lecth having great cover espicially on south facing slopes sheltered from the northerly winds.

Friday, November 25, 2005

24-25 November 2005

originally uploaded by ecotorch.
A full cycle of winter weather in the last two days, rain showers to snow showers to prolonged snow to sleet to rain, rain to sleet to snow to rain. Higher up the valley and in the hill and mountains a good covering of snow should be lying. Large wind blown patches will have been created from the northerly blast. Will the ski resorts get a run or two open?

Consumer Thoughts Blog

I also write a blog entitled Consumer Thoughts . Here I look specifically at search services from a consumers perspective, espically in the areas of shopping, comparision shopping and research that helps support the self education of the consumer during a search.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Due to kind friendship I was able to spend a weekend in London for the first time in years. It reminds me of the big contrast in lifestyles between us remote village communities and the non stop buzz of urbanite dwellers.

I think travel is good for opening you up to different experiences but I am happy to be home in rural Aberdeenshire again.

Uncle James

I became an uncle last week when my brother and his wife's daughter arrived into the world. Congratulations to them.

I can hear her voice now, Uncle James .. . . . .

Monday, November 14, 2005


UpperDeeside amateur Swimming club set the challenge for the club to 'Swim the Channel in 3 hours' on Friday 11 Nov. Well, by the time 1h 45mins had passed the 32km or 1280 lengths of a 25m metre swimming pool had been completed, we had arrived in France!

I hadn't even swum a length to be honest by then so we set the challenge in the last hour to swim back across. And we did and more, we got 70% of the way across back to France again. Well, done to all swimmers for a total of 2.7 times across the channel or some 86.5km.

My contribution was 3550 metres or 142 lengths. I had set the goal of getting nearer to 4000m than 3000m so I just achieved my goal. But I had to move some in the last 8 minutes, recording 1min 20seconds for 100m. Before getting to the last 500m, we as a team set out on the following schedule, 550m a rest, 500m a rest, 10*100m with 10 second rest between 100's and then 5*200m. The third1000 metres was the most challenging, tiredness was kicking in and technique was starting to go. With around 8minutes left on the clock, I set out with renewed energy and a stretched out stroke, that took me to 300m. Then it was time to call on the legs to kick in to up the pace. They responded, the lengths look less time to complete but the lungs started to demand more O2 and my energy tank slipped into the red and by the last 6 lengths I was running on a rush of adrenaline. A sprint finish to 3550m.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

White Crown on the Gorms

No zoom on the camera today so you will need to look closely at the photo to see the Gorms. Today, I was out in Glen Tanner and the Cairngorms were wearing the white crown of Scotland today. The snow was lying to just under 3000ft.

The sun was hitting the front of the corries and ridges and they were piercing white again the grey of an incoming weather front. Which will no doubt melt the cover again but there is no better start to the day than a wintry view of Upper Deeside.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Walking in the wind

Friday night saw some wild winds in Aboyne and by Saturday morning they had abated but they were still brisk. I headed up the fungle with Bella dog, my aunties dog. The great thing about the Fungle is that it is sheltered. Hardly any wind direction will get through to the Fungle path.

The Fungle walk was just the start of the walk as Bella was heading for her first walk up Carnferg and boy was it windy up there. With the wind at your back, it is you friend. But a poor friend. As soon as you turn into it, it rips into you, tugging, tugging, annoyed that you are in its way. All you can do is keep the head down and hood zipped tight around the face. By the time you reach the bottom the wind is light and friendly again. Carnferg is not the heighest of hills but still the wind and cold can combine even here to test life.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Scottish Winter Forecast 2005/06

The weather, forecasting and long range weather forecasting is one of my interests. I have my links to the radar, Aboyne webcam and long range forecasting websites etc. Long range forecasting is a low success game but here is my understanding and take on the Scottish winter ahead:

An early call was made for a colder winter, lead by the UK Met Office. As I understand, this would be because winds from Siberia would be pulled in. This results in cold and snow showers from the East but mainly dry due to the limited moisture being picked up due to the limited time over the North Sea, don't get me wrong living on the east coast e.g. Aberdeen a foot or more snow can add up. However, I have been watching how early in the season the cold air has been over Iceland, I'm told this is a lot colder than recent years. This is my prediction . ....

We will see two or three significant encroachments of this cold air over Scotland, bring heavy snow falls to the North and West, Glenshee will be a bit sheltered but should still get a good covering. The spanner in the works for me is that I still think we will get mild or extremely mild interludes. This is what has really hurt skiing over the last few years. We get a cold spell followed by warm topical air filled winds that knock the cover back to near nil. If we can get an early substantial fall of snow to set up a good base for the season then we maybe in better shape to ride out the thaws days. But I feel the mild spells will just out number the cold plunges.

The ideal situation would be for polar lows to be followed by the predicted highs pressures that will drag the cold air in from Siberia. That would be too good to be true from a skiing perspective, good snow, blue skies and no wind. A dream, and like most Scottish skiers that is what I will be praying to the snow gods for.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Birsemore sunshine walk

I forgot to take my camera out with me on this walks so no pics today. I did however have my aunties dog Bella with me. Biresemore Hill walk starts with a climb up the Fungle and of the three options at the top, you take a left turn to head east. The first task on this walk is to cross the Fungle Burn. Now this used to be a straight forward leap across, skipping off one stone. But a heavy period of rain a couple years back washed away the bank to double the distance of the leap. So, when the burn is following high you need to wander down the hill to find a more management, yet still energetic one leap crossing. Bella chose to dive straight in and crossed it that way.

For the first time in weeks I scored a sunny day. While we are in November the day had a spring like warmthl to it. The pleasant wind was tugging at the trees and the Spruce needles were gently raining down, the brown needles spiraling there aim on a downwards angle.