That is about the time since I last posted on Ocoach so I have probably lost any readers I did once have.
First of all, many thanks to Paul for re-doing Ocoach; now it is up to me to keep it up to date. If you want a short version of the last 30 months, keep reading; there is not a long version!
Paul’s Dad passed away at the start of March 2012; we rented out his house and it became clear that we could easily rent out our one as well. We started to look for somewhere to rent ourselves, Strathspey (downstream of Aviemore) was our area of choice. Have you ever tried to find somewhere there with a garage (essential for the toys) and central heating (essential for our well being)? We signed up for regular email alerts and, near the end of April saw somewhere in Tomatin (half way between Aviemore and Inverness, just over the Slochd pass so not in Strathspey) so it was out with the Ordnance Survey map, a call to go and see it and a call to a friend to request a bed for the night. It suited us, we cycled in the hills to test the tracks, we could run and road bike out of the door so that afternoon we put the deposit down and started to move in two weeks later. By the end of May 2012 we were living in Tomatin and the Hospice shop in Greenock had done very well from the turn out.
We like it here - the half way bit is good, pop over the Slochd to Strathspey and the wonderful forests, cycle to Aviemore (while one of us drives and then change over), up to Inverness to use the leisure facilities (£25 per month for both of us, includes everything except the health suite, any classes we want to go to are included, we can use any leisure facilities around the highlands), do some shopping or go to a film.
Living here is a bit like being on holiday all the time, but we have been away as well. West Wales (Aberystwyth) for some orienteering in the summer of 2012 (yes we had a dry week there, the only one they had all summer I think); Mallorca at the end of April 2013, one week on a triathlon training camp and another week just ourselves; the Moray coast at the end of July 2013 for the Moray 2013 Scottish Six Days of Orienteering - well we had booked the caravan with EckO folks before we thought of moving; South Africa for four weeks mid-August to mid-September 2013, this was partly work for me but we were able to travel around quite a bit and see the Cape Town area (including the Cederberg Mountains) and Johannesburg area (including Pilansberg Reserve and the Drakensberg Mountains); it was an enjoyable holiday and I would consider returning to the country. We do have plans for 2014 which will get posted up here as and when we do things.
Tomatin is a great place to be active from and we have developed our existing activities as well as embracing new ones.
Paul started to ‘get into’ triathlon before we left Dunoon and if you can’t beat them you have to join them so I have taken part in a few of the short 'sprint' ones. While we were moving we even took part in the Aberfeldy triathlon as that meant we were able to move the bikes north! In order to learn a little more about it (swim, bike and run) we had a week of triathlon training in Pollensa, Mallorca at the end of April 2013. Well, it certainly opened up my eyes to what I was capable of on a bike. 50+km with a lot of climb was a very usual afternoon of exercise. I did enjoy the road cycling out there so on our return I bought a new road bike with proper curvy handlebars - Ruby. I love getting out on her and we managed a cycle on Boxing Day this year. We drove to the Black Isle and cycled a 50km (and 500m climb) circuit; we did not manage the food so well as all we had to eat during this was a piece of Christmas cake each. Sandwiches were devoured on return to the car. So I now have two bikes (Ruby for the road and Stumpy for the rough stuff) while Paul has four.
Triathlon involves swimming, not my strength at all. We swim about a couple of times a week in either Inverness or Aviemore pool; I have tried open (i.e. very cold) water and really struggle with breathing. Maybe I’ll get better after another two weeks in Mallorca in April 2014?
Running has improved though and this has been helped by something called ‘Strava’. Here I can set myself targets each month and so I am motivated to get out the door even on awful days. We do have some really pleasant trails to run either straight out the door or a short drive away. I try to put in some hill repetitions or interval training each week so it is quality running as well. It can be fun as the picture of the recent Aviemore 5km Santa run shows.
We are very well situated for orienteering as the Strathspey forests are a short drive away, with the Moray coast sand dune areas less than an hour’s drive. Our orienteering club - BASOC - has an activity or event every Tuesday, even throughout the winter when we don headtorches and navigate roud the dark forests. We try and go, and have only missed a handful since we moved up here. The forests are great, very little of the energy sapping tussocks we had in Argyll. I continue to take on ‘official’ roles and in the last year controlled a couple of events (one of which was Day 6 of Moray 2013); the other was back near Oban, taking place during an absolute deluge! There are opportunities to coach locally and I have just become chair of the orienteering club.
Kayaking, well the boats have not been out of the garage since we moved up but hopefully we will rectify this in 2014.
Paul spends a lot of time on the websites he runs (was this why Ocoach did not receive the upgrade?) and many organisations are very grateful for the support he provides. Very little is paid work though.
I do some coach education for orienteering and really enjoy it; the sportscotland tutor training also continues so I occasionally earn some money for treats (like new bikes!). I also do a lot of voluntary work on the orienteering side of things. We have both become better at giving time to ourselves each day to train, enjoy a film or have a chat.
In December 2012 Paul had a knee operation to cut off part of the meniscus in one knee; he did exactly what he was told after the operation and has made a full recovery. Apart from that we both are fortunate to be more or less healthy and able to be active.
So that’s all for now. The next post will be about ‘looking forward’ to 2014.
Click the image for a larger version.