Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Highland Wing Athletics

Today saw the Highland Wing Parade & Athletics Competition take place. An early start, leaving Thurso at 6.15 am and meeting up with the Wickers at Latheron to share their bus.

The parade took place at Cameron Barracks, with 136 cadets taking part, and then it was over to Bught Park for the Athletics.

We only had 6 cadets attending (it's bad timing, right in the middle of the school exams) but they managed to take home 6 medals (including 2 golds) which was excellent. Everybody had a great day, even the Warrant Officer, and it was rounded off with Fish & Chips in Inverness before heading North again.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Hello Again!

Well, I've not been very good at keeping this up to date. In fact it's over a year since I posted... shocking!

Anyway, things are about to change. I'm setting up to post from my new phone, which arrives on Wednesday and with an 8Mp camera, means I should be able to upload some cool photos easily. I'll give it a go anyway.

In the meantime... what have I been up to. Well the highlight of the last few months has been Exercise Snow Eagle. A ski course, in Oberstordf, Southern Germany covering alpine skiing, ski touring and winter survivial skills. It was great, I really enjoyed myself and the kids got a huge amount out of the week.

Here's Steve and Charlotte having a break. Look at the amazing hills!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

2007 Update

Well, firstly I must apologise for not having made a posting for some time. Things have been pretty hectic, both at work and cadets so something had to give. Anyway I'm back now and I'll try to give you a quick resume of what has been happening for the last couple of months.

The cadets have been working on Police Service for their Duke of Edinburgh Award which so far they have really enjoyed. Last week they had a tour of Thurso Police Station which was very interesting. They were all really keen to have their fingerprints done so I guess that means they have no little secrets I should know about. They asked loads of questions at the end which was really great and showed their enthusiasm for what the officer has been doing with them.

We had Ali Murray in speaking to them a few weeks ago about the ICT Youth Challenge and it looks like we will be entering a couple of teams. They have come up with some good ideas and are pretty enthusiastic about it. We need to find time over the next week to finalise their ideas and get their entries in.

We also had a visit from the local Coast Guards who spent some time explaining what the Coast Guards are all about and took in some of their kit for the cadets to have a look at. Luke got fitted into a climbing jacket and Jason got tied up in a stretcher ... I am sure you can imagine some of the comments but all good for a laugh.

This week saw the local TA coming in to speak to the cadets about their experiences while serving in Iraq. This was an excellent visit and really made everyone thing about what is happening out their and the bravery of our local TA team. Unfortunately, I missed this one as I have been at home with a chesty bug all week. I'm really frustrated about that as I really wanted to be at that one.

Christmas Dinner next week before we break up for the holidays and a well earned rest!!!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Working with the BBC

Highland Lives is a BBC Project running as part of the Highland Year of Culture and is about promoting Digital Literacy in the Highlands. Several centres across the Highlands are taking part in the project and I was invited to act as the project co-ordinator for North Highland College. People were invited to take part in the project, to create a digital archive of life in the Highlands. Being bashful Highlanders, getting people to take part was a problem but after lots of phone calls we managed to get 7 participants plus myself.

The first weekend was about handing out all the kit to the 7 participants (3 sets of video recording equipment and 4 sets of audio/photography equipment) and learning to use it effectively. A month later all the participants attended another weekend workshop to learn how to Adobe Premier video editing software. This was very very rewarding and all participants edited their own shows. Finally, their was an evening to showcase everyones work. It was amazing! You can find the end results of all the Highland Lives workshops at the Highland Lives website.

If you know me, I guess it will be no surprise what the topic I chose for my digital project “Just This Once”.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last night I had a 40th Birthday Party - I know 40, I can hardly believe it! But not as scary as the day I realised Paul was older than my dad was the day we got married... now that was really scary. I had great fun, did loads of dancing, perhaps had a little too much bicardi and blethered all night. There were a few surprise: Anne recited a poem all about me (it was pages long), and I got a stripper (but of the wall paper type, much to my disapppointment) and a cake that does rather reflect my life!

All the cadets, and some of the parents, were invited to the party and most were there. I have to say they were absolutely great. It was a good, old fashioned scottish dance band and the kids were up dancing to everything. I was so impressed and surprised. Perhaps we should think about having a Squadron Burns Supper. Maybe it could be done as a kind of Dining-In Night? Must look into that one, along with with other millions of things I plan to do!

Despite being told absolutely no presents, part way through the night I got presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers, a card and some wine from the cadets.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Paul, Stevie & myself took eighteen cadets to Edinburgh at the beginning of August. We stayed in cadet accommodation at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth which was great as lots of the participants from the Tattoo were staying too. We kind of got a little bit of a sneak preview of what we were to see, and it was exciting.

Paul at the Warrant Officer's Bar in the Royal Yacht!
We made a weekend of it and did lots of other things during our stay. The visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia was much more interesting than I anticpated. In fact, it was facinating and the way they have set up the tour is really good. You are given a device, kind of like a big mobile phone, when you board the ship. As you move around the ship there are numbered points which, when you press the appropriate buttons on the device, you get a chunk of information about. To cap it off, they had a fabulous sweetie shop on board. I had strawberries & cream fudge, rum & raisin fudge and pecan & maple syrup fudge!

The original plan was to spend the afternoon in Ocean Terminal, but the kids weren't all that keen on shopping so we took an open top bus tour which allowed us to get on and off the bus at different stops. We made for the Royal Mile where the cadets were able to enjoy the street performers and atmosphere of the Edinburgh Festival. This was the first time I had been in Edinburgh during the festival and it was great - kind of exciting and certainly entertaining. They all made it back to the meeting point at the designated time which was a relief (my biggest nightmare - losing a cadet!)

Then came the highlight of the trip - the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Driving the buses to the parking was interesting and the queues of people were unbelieveable. Talk about being worried about losing cadets. Scary!!! We all made it safely to the Castle and took our seats. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was really excited. Then the show began!

Fantastic is the only word I need to use. It was awesome from start to finish. I love pipe music anyway so the the Massed Pipes & Drums were great. The Taipei First Girls' Senior High School Honour Guard and Drum Corps were amazing. They were throwing rifles around like they had been doing it since they were in their cots. I have to say though, it was a man that designed their uniforms - short skirts and long White Boots!
The Mounted Band of the Royals & Blues were fab. The horses are amazing and so placid - nothing seemed to phase them. The Imps motorcycle display team were ... scary! Some of them were tiny and they were zooming around like mad things on wheels. They did jumps and cross overs which much have taken so much practise and I bet lots of crashes. There were highland dancers, the Trinidad and Tobago Limbo Dancers and the Middlesex County Volunteers who were in period costume. Of course, there was a lone piper on the castle. Very moving, I definately had a tear in my eye.

But the highlight of the show was the Band of The Moscow Military Conservatoire, whose combination of drill, music and humour was spectacular. They came on and I thought, oh this is going to just be a drill demo... oh how wrong can you be. Their timing was immaculate, they kept doing little quirky moves which made everyone laugh but in reality the training and dedication must have been huge. Fantastic, my absolute favourite of the show. This video doesn't really do it justice but at least it will give you the idea. You can view all of the BBC Edinburgh Tattoo Videos at on the BBC website.

We all went to the Edinburgh Dungeons on Sunday morning. It was quite good, and their was a fair bit of history in it. Jamie, who had been the year before and should have known what to expect, just kept screaming but he kept everyone else amused. We went back to Caledonia for lunch then headed for the Fordel Firs activity centre where the cadets had a go at climbing, archery and a challenge course. The weather was really wet which made the challenge course interesting (and the bus journey back to Barracks).

Sunday evening we opted to go Ten Pin Bowling which was fun. The Warrant Officer couldn't get a ball big enough for his fat fingers, or at least that was his excuse! When we got back to the billet, the Cadet's invited us to a 'party' which we decided we would go to but we were all so shattered we just sat around chatting and then it was to late.

Monday morning we packed up and headed north again. We stopped at Killicrankie and walked down to view the soldier's leap. Pretty awsome that a human could have made that jump, but I am often amazed at what people can do when under pressure. The scenery was spectacular and I have promised myself to stop there again when I have more time to have a proper look around.

It was a long journey home but it was worth it for a great weekend.