Holiday Photo Share 

Holiday Photo Share 

As promised, here are some pics from last week’s holiday. I hope you enjoy them.

Here’s Cardiff Castle: 

    
 The Millennium Stadium:  

    
 Cardiff’s Docks: 

    
 And the Dr Who Experience- choosing which pics to share was difficult! 

    
   
I even hugged a Lego Dalek 😉 

 I’d highly recommend a visit!

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Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

2015 marked the 10th Anniversary of the fantastic Mull of Kintyre half marathon and 10k. Two years ago, I PBd at the 10k, and that PB still stands :). The lasting memory I have is of the fantastic support from the crowds and the marshals. @TheWelshWookie and I were signed up and training to run the half marathon this year, but due to a few issues we ended up withdrawing. Instead of being negative about it, though, we turned it into a positive and volunteered to marshal instead 😀 
So, at 9.30 this morning, we found ourselves in Campbeltown, at the Victoria Hall, being allocated our spot. As we walked to the hall, we enjoyed watching people set up:  

 Knowing that we might not get the chance to see the finish line later, I took a quick snap:  

 The actual finish was just past the war memorial, tucked just out of sight from the finishing straight. The organisation was great, the briefing was very professional and covered most issues:  

   The route begins and ends in the town centre, while the main race takes runners out of town, along West Port beach, past the world class Machrihanish golf course, Campbeltown Airport (one of the short listed sites for the UKs space port due to its massive runway) and back into town. Our point was just before mile 9, not long after the tough-on-the-legs beach section.

We stocked up on jelly babies before we set off, knowing that , with 1/3 to go, a sugar rush might just be what runners need 😉

Our spot was  great: we could watch the runners come along the main road just before mile 4, on their way out to the beach, long before they got to us. Here’s our view of the road: 

We were parked in a lay by, so I enjoyed taking some pics of the cows in the left hand field and the sheep in the right hand field:   

   Oops- the cows seem to have been a lil camera shy- sorry! 

Before we knew it, the leading runner was in sight, running the straight which was gently climbing up towards us:  

  the next couple of hours flew by, as we clapped, cheered, supported and offered jelly babies to the intrepid runners. The thanks, chats and support we received was incredible, and really humbling. All of the runners did so well.

All too soon, we were stood down and all marshals were invited back for complimentary coffee and Danish pastries. Never ones to turn down free food 😉  we made our way back to the finish line. The tent was busy, and everyone was in good spirits;   

  

 The pastries were soooo worth it!

We stayed for a short while, supporting runners as they crossed the finish line, while jealously eyeing up the medals and goody bags that could have been ours. Oh, well, there’s always next year 😉

We had a brilliant time, and can’t wait to run it again in 2016.

Messing Around in the Water

Messing Around in the Water

Today, @ TheWelshWookie and I tried something completely different: we went paddle boarding!

Dave, who runs the fantastic water sports business Kayak Majik in Tarbert has some fantastic new paddle boards, and we couldn’t resist giving them a try.

So, at 9 o’clock this morning (usually known as PJ time for me on a Saturday), we were at the West Loch with some fellow intrepid adventurers: Dave, his wife Alison, Mark, Janet from Pure West Media, her hubby Gordon and son Struan.

Dave got us kitted out with wetsuits and buoyancy aids, and then took us through a briefing about basic balance and techniques while we were still on dry land. That turned out to be really important! We then carried the boards to the waters edge, and climbed on.

I’ll be totally honest: I did not think for one minute that I’d be able to stand, but the boards were great, and I went for it….. And stood up! Woop Woop!

Next, Dave took us through some basic techniques while we were in shallow water, and before I knew it, I was moving: miracles do happen! I kept trying to work on my slice, and by the end of the lesson it was beginning to get there. We had a wonderful paddle around the side of the loch.

I’ll admit that, when trying to push my balance on one leg during one of the exercises, I took a dunk 😮 . But TheWookie took a few dunks (one was pretty spectacular) – he said that it was because he was really going for it. Yeah, well…. 😉

Towards the end of the lesson I found myself at a standstill, battling against the wind (and my weak arms) so I had an extra leg workout wading through the water, pulling my board towards everyone else. But I loved it! Some of the others moved onto some more technique work like the hybrid stance. Me? I was happy with mastering standing up!

Look! I’m standing! ©Pure West Media

Thanks to Janet for this pic, which sums up my experience today 😀

We’re busy with the Kintyre Way Ultra next Saturday, with Julia from Girl Runs Wild but will be back out on the boards the following week if we can!

When we got home, we kicked off Hot Tub Season 2015 😀

What’s your favourite water sport? Ever been stand up paddle boarding?

The Gin Thing

The Gin Thing

I’m sure you all know by now that included in the long list of things I love are running, eating, vino and gin.

For our first wedding anniversary, we were able to indulge in most!

On the day of our anniversary, we were celebrating with family, as it was also the Saturday closest to my brother in law, Andrew’s, 40th Birthday. His two eldest sons, Kieran and Aidan, were to be player escorts that day at the Partick Thistle v Motherwell game, and so we went along to see them – and to show support of course!

It was a gloriously sunny day, and we were able to sit in the sunshine, soaking up the fun and the atmosphere. When the boys came out onto the pitch, we couldn’t see Aidan, who is 4. He was escort for Scott Fox, the goalie, and Scott had scooped Aidan up and carried him onto the pitch! Too cute!

Here’s some pics, just to illustrate 😉

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After the game, the boys were able to head back to a meet and greet with the players, and one of my other nephews, Liam, was able to go with them. I think they had a ball!

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Afterwords, it was back to the Donnelly’s house for a bit of a party. As @TheWelshWookie and I were heading to Edinburgh the next day, we went to our hotel and celebrated with a bottle of fizz, overlooking George Square.

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And yes. That’s not an optical illusion. This 4 star hotel in the city centre really DID give us hugely different glass sizes to enjoy our fizz with. And @TheWookie had to open it himself 😮 . And no, we won’t be back.

Sunday arrived with heavy rain 😦 but we headed to Edinburgh, excited for our short trip. We made our way to 56 North, where my friends, Pauline and Gavin, had treated us to an afternoon tea with gin tasting 😀 Hurrah!

We were greeted with a really friendly welcome, and with the fab news that Pauline & Gavin had treated us to a bottle of fizz! Yay!

We settled down with around 20 or so others, eager to get started. This was the joyous sight in front of us….

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The two guys hosting the session took us through the first four gins which were all strikingly different. The pace was relaxed, and there was no rush at all. We had a selection of different mixers to try, and the whole session was interactive – we could ask questions, and add comments – good or bad!

We then had a short break, with afternoon tea of sandwiches and small cakes, before starting again with the final four gins. I won’t spoil it for anyone by telling you which gins we tried, what we found out about them, or which were my favourites. You can try for yourselves!

After the session, we bagged a great window table, with the sun – newly surfaced through the rain – beating in. The bar is stocked with around 300 different gins, so I chatted with the barman, telling him what I liked in a gin so that he could recommend a gin for me. I had a Daffy’s, which is a small batch gin made in Edinburgh, while @TheWelshWookie had a Hoxton grapefruit and coconut gin. Yummy! They serve their gins in gorgeous continental style goblets with ice, a suggested tonic, and a garnish designed to compliment the flavours.

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We had some lunch with our fizz- @TheWookie had a burger, I had a gorgeous chicken caesar salad with a poached egg. It was delish!

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We finished off with another gin each – @TheWookie had a Brecon Welsh gin, while I had a Rock Rose, which may well be my new favourite – it, too, is a small batch Scottish gin. We then headed to our hotel, to get ready for our evening in the city – with the ghosts!

Dermot’s Day of Dance

Dermot’s Day of Dance

It’s that time of year again – Comic Relief. For those of you not in the UK (or living in the UK but under a rock ;)) Comic Relief takes place every two years, with the in-between year now being filled by Sport Relief. But – essentially – they do the same thing, raising funds for vulnerable people at home and abroad.

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One year it’s sports-led, the other is comedy-led. But, to be honest, there isn’t that much difference, and activities have generally merged together in recent years.

I’ve been enjoying some of the shows involved in the build-up, most noticeably Only Connect and the Great British Bake Off. I’m also looking forward to some of the sketches lined up for tonight’s telethon – especially the James Bond one. 😉

But, the main event for me this year has to be Dermot O’Leary’s Dance off. Imagine dancing for 24 hours – wow! I was so impressed by Jo Wylie’s 24 hour treadmill challenge last year – but dancing? That’s something else!

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So far, I’ve seen some of the choreographed dances, and I’ve seen a LOT of ‘dad dancing’ too ;), and I think Dermot would be first to admit to that. I think he’s a great DJ, who always gets the cool acts on his radio show. It’s been fun to see him do something a little different for charity!

His dancing ends tonight at 7pm, when the TV show begins – before then you can catch him on the BBC, on the red button. Check him out, and donate! 🙂

The Blip is Back

The Blip is Back

Way back before TartanJogger.com was born, I had a Blipfoto account.

It lasted 12 days.

And, if I’m honest, that’s about how long I thought the blog might last. How wrong I was, eh?

I’ve decided that I’ve nothing better to do with my time I’d give Blipping another go.

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For those not familiar, Blipfoto is an online photo journal, a bit like a blog, where you can record a picture and a few notes every day. Now, I know I’m not likely to post every day, but there may, perhaps, be some times when I think a picture needs shared, with a few more words than is right for Instagram!

If you’re interested, have a wee peek at by Blipfoto page.

Let’s see how long this lasts, eh? 😉

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

Every day is a celebration of one issue, group or another. Take Thursday, when we celebrated both World Book Day and International School Meals Day. Most days pass by, and while some will be making the most of a special day, it’s a normal day for the rest of us.

But today, well, today is a day for celebrating and raising awareness of women’s issues around the globe. It’s a day to do something for women at home and abroad who need a voice.



Feminism and equality is a tough topic. It makes some roll their eyes, while for others it’s their life. As important as the blood in their veins. 

While in many parts of the world women can’t vote, can’t go to school, cannot drive and can’t even expose their skin, the way we do when we run. Actually, that’s another freedom they don’t have.

Nearer to home, women are still battling with inequality: in pay, in opportunity, and in charging. Ever notice how advertising is largely aimed at women, and how that perfect life depicted on TV presses those maternal or femininity buttons? I guess it’s one of the reasons I love running: the attraction of a similar but different approach: the appeal of words like ‘strong’ and positive affirmations like ‘this girl can’.

 Overcharging is something I’ve been aware of since I read about the French group Georgette Sands back in November. I’ve been mulling inequality in pricing over since then.  

Every day, we pay more for similar goods and services than men. Next time you are shopping, check for yourself. How much do you pay for basics: shampoo, deodorant, socks? Come to think of it I probably pay more than @TheWelshWookie for running vests and trainers too. 

Having said all that, we are in the enviable position of having the choice to purchase these goods. The issue of how poverty affects women is much, much more important. To celebrate IWD, the global charity One is highlighting how poverty is sexist, and affects women much more than men- it clearly shows the ultimate effects of inequality. The importance of empowering women to provide for their families through education, training and support is critical.



This is also the theme of SCIAF’s 50th anniversary campaign this year: ensuring that women farmers have the right tools and employ traditional sustainable farming techniques is much more likely to enable this generation to have hope, and future generations to have prosperity. You can read about  one of these farmers, Mary Jackson, here.

During their 50th Anniversary, energy pound given to SCIAF is being fund matched, pound for pound, by the Government. 



If you do one thing on International Women’s Day, perhaps it could be to stand shoulder to shoulder by supporting those who would be most likely to share their last with you. To me, that’s sisterhood in action.

World Book Day

World Book Day

*Non running post alert*

Bookworm. Readaholic. Geek.

Yup, as I child I’d heard them all. You could always find me with my nose in a book, and often still can.

Memories of squinting in the sun, or reading in bed until the letters were almost illegible as darkness fell and they blended into the page itself. Sometimes sneaking a torch and reading under the covers.

Why did we not have a World Book Day then?

Fortunately , we do now. It gives folks like me a chance to reminisce a little. And if I could dress up as a character from one of my favourites, I’d struggle to choose. Here are some of my favourites:

These are all covers I remember well. What are your childhood favourites?

Christmas.

Christmas.

This year’s celebration has been muted by the dreadful crash in Glasgow’s George Square on Monday, killing six people, including three from my home town.
The lorry crashed into the Millennium Hotel at Queen St station, just as we were sitting in the Grand Central hotel at Glasgow Central station: we are feeling lucky.
Best wishes to you all for the festive season, make the most of every minute.

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40 Years On. . .

40 Years On. . .

Today, my mum and dad celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary.

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Seven kids and seven grandkids later….. still looking good!

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Congratulations! 😃