Monday, March 23, 2009

Lost on the Hill/Tiree Trust Open Day/The Pub

Saturday was a good day.

In the morning. Joanne, Caroline and I went for one of our regular Saturday morning coastal walks.  This week the plan was to walk from Hynish over to Balephuil via Ben Hynish. But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men ...

First of all, I should have realised that this quite demanding hill walk would be too much for Joanne. With all her recent history of medical upsets it was a sure bet that she would find it very difficult. The trek from Hynish up to Happy Valley was fine. We even had a comedy moment on the way when Caroline found herself walking through a boggy patch and has one of her wellies sucked off. Being a true gentleman I didn't start laughing until I saw that Caroline was alright and that she was, in fact, having a good laugh herself.

But it wasn't long before we began to see Joanne's face turning red with the effort of the climb up to the hill. It was at this point Caroline left us to recce the route above us leaving Joanne and I to slowly make her way up. Trouble was, when we got to the top there was no sign of Caroline. We started trudging onward hoping to come across her but, worryingly, we couldn't see her. Had she taken a route closer to the coast?

We shouted a few times but to no avail. The wind was strong and coming from the north-west and it was sure to be carrying our voices off in all directions. We started to get a little concerned: nearer the coastline there are lots of gullies and inlets. What if Caroline had had an accident? And of course, by this time I'm kicking myself because I don't have her mobile number.

The we heard her, from somewhere behind us. In fact, she was away back over at that first little summit where she'd left us to go check out the lay of the land. We shouted back, waved our arms, jumped up and down, but it was obvious she wasn't seeing us. She disappeared back down the hill, out of sight.

We made our way back and - thankfully - bumped into her. She'd indeed gone scouting and had come back to report minutes later but we must have taken slightly different routes and passed each other by not very much. In the interim Caroline had been all over the place looking for us, even going back in the direction of the car, perhaps thinking Joanne had abandoned.

Which is what had to happen anyway. Joanne just couldn't go on so we parted company at this point, Caroline heading off to finish the trek across Ben Hynish.

Then, for Joanne and I, it was home for a quick shower as we were going to the Tiree Trust Open Day at An Talla.

A number of local groups were giving presentations about what they were up to along with a number of off-island groups and agencies. We were a wee bit late in getting there - only minutes really - but we arrived to see and hear the Tiree toddlers from the Mainly Music group giving us a few wee songs.  After Tish MacArthur gave her welcome and introduction, pupils from the school gave us their visions of the future for Tiree.

During and after the free lunch we were able to wander about to chat to the local groups, view the art competition entries and take part in an interactive quiz. There were prizes of iPod shuffles for the art competition winners and then this very successful and well attended event drew to a close.

We had a great time and came away feeling, once again, that there are great things in store for Tiree in the near future.

Then, that evening, we did something we haven't done in years: we went to the pub. We got Sam's Taxi (220420) to come over for us and we were over at The Lean-to for a good few hours. I bumped into a few people I haven't seen in a long time. Michael Holliday and I reminisced about the time we performed The Jam's That's Entertainment at my 50th birthday party. Maybe we should slot that into the next Defender's gig ... ?

Please support my efforts to raise funds for SenseScotland.org.uk when I trek to Everest Base Camp in April 2009.  Donate online right now at http://www.justgiving.com/gordonEBC Thank you!