What a year it’s been – I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone, and I can’t believe how much I’ve managed to cram into such a short space of time!
I kicked off 2014 with a trip to Vancouver, Canada where I spent some time in the mountains snowshoesing and Nordic skiing, before presenting my academic research at the Design Principles and Practices conference at the University of British Columbia – am amazing couple of weeks, during which time I stumbled across a greetings card with the slogan; ‘the best is yet to come’. And sure enough, the year did just that – get better, and better.
My next stop was the Highlands of Scotland for some Scottish winter climbing – although there was mountains of snow, conditions, like the wind, were so against us that I got nowhere near as much ground covered as I had hoped. I did get in a good couple of climbs, and met some great people – Ueli Steck included, but I’ll likely be starting from close to scratch again this winter – when the snow finally makes an appearance!
After two pretty big trips, I did take a bit of a nose dive as far as my health was concerned – battling Lyme Disease for 18-months had left my immune system in a bit of distress. So, I took down time for almost a month, although it felt like an eternity, and focused on how I could heal myself once and for all!
As soon as I was strong enough again, I took up running – just to maintain my fitness and allow me to get back on my feet. That theory didn’t last long and I was soon running all over the Scottish hills like a person possessed. It didn’t take long before I was looking for a bigger challenge. I packed my bags and headed out to the Alps for a summer of trail running. I ran as many trails as my wee legs would allow – in St. Gervais and Chamonix in France, and Arolla and Saas Fee in Switzerland. Looking back, I can’t believe the miles I covered, the sights I seen and the great times I had!
I finished off the summer with a bit of Alpinism along with my T14P teammates – we had a great few days up above the Alpine village of Argentiere and on the glaciers – girls still stick out like sore thumbs up there, and I discovered I have a bit of an altitude issue, but it was pretty amazing nonetheless. My other half has plans for us to summit all 82 of the 4000m Alpine peaks one day – watch this space!
I then returned to Scotland, and the grindstone, to start writing my Ph.D thesis – little did I realise that would chain me to my desk, but it has worked out not to bad since Scotland is dark, damp and just pretty miserable for most of the Autumn. And, there’s not a day goes by when I hate my job – I probably work more hours than anyone I know, but I’m not sure I could be more blessed when it comes to my job. Of course, it’s been good to give my body a break and make plans for the next steps.
The highlight of my year came in November – I went out to the Adventure Conference in Norway to present some more of my academic research. Such a beautiful country – it completely blew me away. Some people described it as ‘Scotland on steroids’ – I’m not sure I’d use those exact words, but, yes, that pretty much does sum it up. It’s just spectacular – so snowy and hilly and perfect for trail running and skiing through trees. I sampled Friluftsliv and life in the Norwegian outdoors, mountain yoga, local culture and cuisine, Fjord life – no reindeers or aurora though. Always good to have an excuse to go back!
I closed 2014 with lots of family time before relocating to the Alps at the start of 2015 – who knows what’s in store for the next twelve months – but I’m hoping for just as much travel, lots of ski touring and as much running as I can get my legs to do – I’m already registered on a few big ultras – all will be revealed!