Date Day Paddles

A day paddling the River Earn from Forteviot to Bridge of Earn to celebrate a day without kids! Not even the boat starting to take on water (and the pump failing too) could dampen our enthusiasm and enjoyment for such a fab day.

And here’s the film.

Good Lordy it’s coldy at Loch Ordie

Went on my first adventure of 2021 today to Loch Ordie, which is off the A9 between Dunkeld and Pitlochry.

The weather was beautiful. Cold, sunny and cloudless. And I spent a good part of my time at the loch being followed around by this Robin, even managing to photobomb me at the top of the stairs on the left as I pondered whether to get into the water. The ice covered water.

Hi Kev, said Robin.

A bit of walking and a bit of swimming. It was pretty cold today, but what a feeling to be in the water with my new friend, Robin.

Seals of St Abbs

Just an ordinary, cold, sunny day with Neil on the Berwickshire Coastal Path from Dowlaw to St Abbs. With added seals! We got so close to them, the wee white ones are just pups, only a couple of weeks old.

Apparently they come here every winter for a couple of months of breeding. We saw them in three different bays along St Abbs Head. An absolute treat.

The views were pretty amazing, on a par with my last trip here a few months back.  There are a couple of old stone/bronze/iron forts where the rings of trenches and barriers are really clear.

The cliffs are truly spectacular.

Pettico Wick was lovely wee stone beach and harbour, where the seals set up camp to breed and the national trust ranger, a guy called Kieran, had set up camp to observe.  And we spent a lovely 10 minutes chatting about the seals behaviour and watching them through binoculars.

The rock formations in the background gave us a lot of pause for thought too.  Nature at its best in one small bay.

More seals were to be found in each of the next three bays.

Two sections of this coastal path completed, two to go at some point.

Sandwood Bay (Strathchailleach and Strathan Bothies)

Always been one of my bucket list trips, I finally made it to Sandwood Bay. I spent a very chilled couple of days exploring the beach, the bay, Am Buachaille and the surrounding moors.

Spent the night at Strathchailleach bothy and also stopped in at Strathan bothy on the way home. No rain, but I still got soaked from the bottom up due to all the recent bad weather, the ground was really boggy. I was smiling the whole way round though. Even when I lost my camera…

Carron Bothy

Last weekend, Neil, Gordon, James and I were supposed to be heading to Sandwood Bay.  But the weeks worth of torrential rain had put that plan on (pretty wet) ice.  We scoured the weather forecast for even a glimpse of sun, anywhere that the chance of rain was low-ish.  We settled for a trip to Argyll and Carron Bothy.

  

We arrived at the Auchindrain forest road end in sunshine and warmth, totally unexpected as other parts of the country were under yellow weather alerts. The forest road was great for walking, allowing us to travel fast, even with our heavy packs laden with waterproofs for the expected deluge.  The final 2km of path were wet underfoot.  And when I say wet, I mean tsunami wet, turned to small rivers by the weeks rain.

  

The bothy was clean and well maintained, despite James’ best efforts to blow it up with his exploding Jetboil.   We dropped our overnight gear, had lunch, found some deadwood for a fire and headed into the hills.  The views were superb and the breeze took away some of the heat from the sun.  The main phrase of the afternoon was “I can’t believe it’s not raining”.

  

The peaty brown burns did a great job of soothing the sore feet before teatime.

  

A peaceful nights sleep followed a peaceful evening of games and chat.  And the next day we headed back the way we came to the car, in the rain this time, but by then, it didn’t matter.

And the film…

The Sole Purpose of Your Feet is Toe-tal Fun

My feet are important to me.  We are a team.  On a daily basis they allow me to play “Chase Me” with my son and wife, run to the kitchen to grab a bag of crisps and do all the other important things a busy dad/teacher/outdoor type needs to do.  So it’s been pretty frustrating during this summer holiday that my feet have decided they need a rest and so have prevented me getting up into the hills and mountains, which is where I’d be found most summer holidays.  That exasperation has probably been pretty noticable to my wife, although she has made me smile and laugh and helped me mostly forget the annoyance of being laid up on the couch while my feet enjoy their holiday.

However, the summer has still given me opportunities to explore and spend time with Mrs Johnston and Young Johnston.  And I remind myself daily about how lucky I am to have my family and be able to do the things we do, so much of it outdoors.  For instance…

Young Johnston and I went off to find the Bunnet Stane.  And as well as admiring this rocky spectacle, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as many hula hoops in one day before.

We’ve been to the capital to measure Young Johnston’s height.  He is now officially taller than the Scott Monument.

We’ve been teaching Young Johnston to drive cars and boats.

We’ve been looking for animals, at Blair Drummond Safari Park and closer to home.

And we spent an amazing week on Skye with Paul, Sas and Finn.

 

     

There are still three weeks of the holidays to go and loads more adventures to be had.  The photo above, Blaven, was the view from our cottage which was one of the reasons for taking the cottage in the first place.  Did I miss not getting to climb its slopes?  Yes, very much so.  But our week on Skye was one of the best wee holidays we’ve been on as a family and it reminds me how lucky I am to have what I have. After a week of the best the island had to offer, we were all…… dead on our feet.

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