Friday, July 31, 2009

Pet Sitting, WooHoo!!

Yep, for the next week, I will be walking Crosby the dog, petting Mango and Connor the cats, and playing with two tiger-striped kittens!!! I'm just a tad excited, in case you can't tell. Really, I feel like I should be paying my friends for the pet therapy.



Mango (a.k.a., Momma Kitty)

And the Kittens!!

The kittens are two months old and out of the box, which means they can run away from me. :( But I'm sure by the end of my week I will win them over, so that I can hug them and squeeze them and name them both George.

Oh, and the grey kitten in the picture. Already left to her new home. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Williamcraigs Wander

On Sunday, I went on a walking club walk starting from the nearby town of Linlithgow. The walk was a really nice one, perfect for a Sunday afternoon. The weather even decided to cooperate. And I got to pet a few dogs who were along for the walk!

Linlithgow, by the way, was the location of the first petrol pump in Scotland.

The walk started and ended along the Union Canal towpath.

Yes, this is the same Union Canal that runs about 5 minutes walk from my flat. In theory, if I wanted to go for a reeeaally long walk, I could walk all the way to Linlithgow along the canal towpath.

After a mile or two, we ventured off the towpath to loop up along some country lanes. I saw a bunny as well as some not-so-wild life.

This guy was the most curious cow that I've ever met. Not that I've met that many, but still. He was very intrigued by us, or maybe it was the dogs. Once we passed him, he ran up ahead along the fence until he could see us again. He did this three times, until he couldn't follow us any farther!

There were also some very pretty views of the Ochil Hills to the north.

After a while, we met back up with the towpath and made our way back to Linlithgow, stopping in a small park for a nice view over the town. The building in this picture with the pointy-roof tower is Linlithgow Palace.

Back in Linlithgow, we passed an old doocot, known as a dovecote in places other than Scotland. This one is from the 16th century, and yes it was once used to raise pigeons and doves. You know, for food.

I've been wanting to go to Linlithgow for a while, and this walk gave only the smallest taste. Definitely must make plans to go back and explore the rest of the town. I have my eye on a 10k race there toward the end of September as well. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This is the result of a 2 1/2 hour walk around and up the Braid Hills, second highest of the Seven Hills of Edinburgh. Five hills down; two more to go.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Just a quick post today because Little Sis and I are off shortly to Sunderland for our 10k race tomorrow morning!

We've been fairly busy over the past few days. Wednesday night we went on a literary pub crawl, for lots of stories of Scotish authors and of course terrific ales at these three pubs.

Then yesterday, we went to North Berwick for the day where we visited the Scottish Seabird Center and climbed up Berwick Law for some terrific views.

Off now to catch the train!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me*! How old am I again?

Yes, today is my birthday! I turned 38 37. Definitely 37. If my older sister is turning 40 this year, and I am almost three years younger, then I can't be turning 38 right?

At some point in the past year or so, I seemed to have aged myself a year in my head. I'm fairly sure that I've thought of myself as being 37 all this past year, and so until I did the math about a month ago, I was sure that I was turning 38.

I'm still having a hard time remembering that I'm only 37 now. The notion was that firmly entrenched. Maybe by next year, it will have sunk in.

In other news, my little sister is visiting, and she arrived today! I can't remember the last time I spent my actual birthday with friends (come July, most leave on holiday), not to mention family.

We walked around the city a bit, and climbed up all 387 steps of the Scott Monument for fabulous views of the city, as well as some disturbing gothic architecture.

The Scott Monument. We climbed to the very top! All 287 steps!

Little Sis and me* on the Scott Monument.

In some spots on the climb up the spiral stair (which is twisting the WRONG way), it gets to be a bit of a squeeze.

View of Edinburgh Castle from the Scott Monument.

Arthur's Seat view from the top of the Scott Monument

Ok, dog faces aren't too bad.

But then there's also lots of gargoyles.

And these creepy faces stuck all over the place!

In the evening we went for a run around the neighborhood. We ran a literary version of the Horrible Hill Route, running by the homes of Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, and J.K. Rowlings. Running Partner E. was the tour guide.

Aside: My younger sister totally mocked the difficulty of the Horrible Hill. Some day, Horrible Hill, I will no longer be lame and I will be able to run up and conquer you!

To end the day, we enjoyed a pint of Caledonian 80 at the Morning Glory pub down the road. (Sorry, CMS, we didn't ask around for Billy and Alex.)

On tap for tomorrow: A bit of work during the day and then hopefully a Literary Pub Crawl in the evening.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4 of 7 Hills

Edinburgh like most of Scotland is not flat. I know, shocking. In fact, there are seven hills in Edinburgh. The most well known are Castle Rock (on which Edinburgh Castle is perched), Calton Hill, and Arthur's Seat. There's also Blackford Hill (home of the Royal Observatory), Braid Hills, Craiglockhart Hill, and Corstorphine Hill.

If you're crazy and so inclined, there's even the 7 Hills of Edinburgh race every year. There were 330 finishers this year, with the winner finnishing in 01:43:06.

Today I went on a walk of four of the seven hills with 5 other walkers. It took us 4 hours, 5 hours if you count the walk down the last hill to the pub at the end. Of course we stopped to admire the view at the top of each hill, so maybe it was only about 4 hours or so of walking and climbing.

Whatever. It works out to be over 8 1/2 miles of walking.

If you're interested, here is the map.

The 8.69 miles were on top of a 4.71 mile run this morning. I'm not sure why I thought this was a good idea. The question now is whether I'm going to be able to walk to work tomorrow.

Even though it was feeling like my legs were going to fall off towards the end, it was a great day out! Pleasant walking company. A beautiful day after a brief but heavy downpour at the start. And a pint of cider at the end.

Here are some pictures of some of the views.

Castle Rock - This is a picture taken from the Esplanade. The blue stadium seating is for the Tatoo.

Scott Monument and the Princes Street Gardens, walking from Edinburgh Castle to Calton Hill

Looking back toward Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill

Top of Calton Hill

Walking toward Arthur's Seat from Calton Hill

Looking back toward Calton Hill from Arthur's Seat

Top of Arthur's Seat

View from Arthur's Seat

View from from Arthur's Seat

Looking back toward Arthur's Seat from Blackford Hill

Toward the top of Blackford Hill

Braid Hills from the top of Blackford Hill. Farther away in the distance are the Pentand Hills.

Craiglockhart Hill from the top of Blackford Hill

Corstorphine Hill from the top of Blackford Hill