West Highland Way: Kinlochleven to Fort William

September 5, 2015: Kinlochleven to Fort William

WHW_Day7-1100286e While gazing over at the campers cooking their breakfasts, I do a last-minute check to see if I have everything.  Yes, I remembered to get our sandwiches out of the hostel refrigerator and pack them in my backpack. (I have been known to forget!)

whw_day8-1100312eWe start our day with Laura from Berlin. I often find myself thinking of her and hope all is going well with her life.

 

 

whw_day8-1100333eWhat a beautiful site for wild camping, overlooking the town of Kinlochleven. Beautiful weather today and hikers seem to be going at a leisurely pace as if savoring their last day of hiking.
whw_day8-1100444eJoan, AKA The Beast, is ready to tackle the last leg of the hike with Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the U.K., in the background.

whw_day8-1100474eWe are fortunate to be able to share part of this last day with Mike and Stacy (Ireland/Ukraine) as we descend into Fort William. Such a lovely pair…

whw_day8-1100493eThis is the last we see of Leon and his gang from Holland as they are staying in the campground just outside of Fort William. We notice they still have energy to play tricks.  Oh, to be so young again.

We see many runners from the Ben Nevis race walking back to their vehicles with their medals and trophies.  Apparently, I didn’t have enough energy to pull out the camera. After walking 16 miles today, I don’t think we’ll attempt Ben Nevis.

Maybe, some other time.

Mike and Stacy are going on through town to pay homage to the new end of the trail, but we are close to our check-in deadline for the B & B so we must bid them farewell.  Sad to see them go.whw_day8-1100497eWe appear to be faking glee and excitement. Maybe we are a little disappointed to not have all of our WHW friends cheering with us at the end.

Hold on.. Who is that I see chatting in the distance? No, it can’t be.  Yes, it is!!!  Mandy just happens to appear along our route.

whw_day8-1100507creLater, we meet up with Mandy and Karen at a the Grog and Gruel Pub, popular with the Ben Nevis race crowd as you can see by the race numbers in the background. The fun-loving Scottish gentlemen in these photos are our photographers tonight so that we could get some group photos. You can’t help but love the Scottish people.

whw_day8-1100508dmvWe also spend time this evening visiting with a minister from Canada on sabbatical doing research. I can’t remember her research topic…  Could an evening in the pub provide inspiration for a few sermon topics?whw_day8-1100510eCheers to the West Highland Way!
96 miles and we did the WHOLE thing! We may walk slowly, but we never walk backward.

Here is the video of our last day hiking the West Highland Way:

 

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The Chicken House

Blind School Chicken House

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Photographed to create digital file, dirt layer added for texture, bronze god Kubota action.

Former South Dakota School for the Blind:  The Chicken House

The South Dakota School for the Blind was officially opened in Gary, South Dakota on March 1, 1900, under the Board of Charities and Corrections. The citizens of Gary were instrumental in pursuing the location of a state “Blind Asylum” in their community and offered the former Court House as a facility.

The Deuel County Court House building was torn down and this chicken house was made from the wood, thus, putting into practice the old saying, “Waste not, want not.”   I’m guessing it would have been built sometime in the 1920’s since they moved the Court House building to just east of the administration building in 1903 and a photo taken in 1930 appears to have the chicken house in the background.  The history hounds in Gary, SD may have a more accurate date.

~ Gary, South Dakota History Book  1872-1997

~ History of SD School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Picture Perfect? Nope.

Traditional, eye pleasing, balanced family portraits with each individual  arranged perfectly have always been a challenge for me. I would not last long as a church directory photographer. While it is good to document a period in time for a family unit, we adults don’t seem to like how we look in portraits.  (Oh, I look so old, fat, my ankles appear too thick, can you give my husband 6-pack abs and a smile?  While you are at it, thin my thighs and waist…)   Then to find a background in the midst of Christmas chaos.  Oh, my.

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So, for the annual holiday card, rather than striving for the “perfect” portrait I decided to celebrate our imperfect, unique, quirky lives with a photo that embraces reality.  We are all leading lives that cover quite a wide spectrum of vocations, educations, interests and then you add a two-year-old.  It is what it is.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for crawling up onto a step ladder to capture this chaos.

Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 24-70 L lens, ISO 3000, Gary Fong flash diffuser on a Canon 580 speedlight

I leave you with a toast for 2014:  Here’s to another year of experience.

CHEERS!

…for the love of the game

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. ~Helen Keller

Looking for some action? Try attending a sporting event at your local high school. Here you will see the sport in its purest form; no huge salaries (in fact, no player salaries), endorsement contracts or plush player buses transporting them to games. A good old school bus will do just fine, thank you.

You cannot be a fair weather fan at the high school level These fans, which include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors (pretty much anyone that knows a player on a first name basis) are the most loyal fans a team could ask for and hang with the players through the ups and downs of a season.  The fan base remains constant no matter what the win/loss record shows and the teams provide plenty of subject matter for conversations at local coffee shops and businesses.

(Double click on image for a larger view)
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A community has such an influential role on local school activities, whether that be athletics, music, theater, arts, or other organizations. Providing support through attendance, following  the school news in the local media and supporting fund-raising projects, helps these programs exist to provide opportunities for our youth.

Overemphasis on the performance results of any high school activity, including sports, can have a negative effect, but learning discipline, hard work, teamwork, and social skills WILL have a positive impact on your life as an adult.

Click on the link below for an interesting article in the Huffington Post regarding the value of sports in the schools:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kai-sato/high-school-sports_b_3997391.html

Photo info:  Canon 5d Mark 2, Canon 70-200 L lens, 6400 ISO, 1/500 shutter, 2.8 aperture, custom white balance

Collage info:  10 x 20, Photoshop 5.0, Albums DS base template with mask edges, flames from Shutterstock. Lancer text layer utilizes a photo I took of a basketball to give the textured look.

The passing of time…

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My husband’s family recently experienced the loss of its patriarch, who was born in 1925. The original painting featured above was painted by his granddaughter, Elizabeth Meyer.

It boggles the mind when you think of the history and changes in the world since his birth:

  • farming with horses and mules to GPS auto-steer farm equipment
  • Telephones using a party-line system to cell phones with internet allowing constant contact with people all over the world
  • Horse and wagons and Model T’s to cars that parallel park themselves
  • No one had been to the moon in 1925 and now NASA has plans to colonize Mars
  • Outhouses to private indoor plumbing with jacuzzi and whirlpool features
  • Entertaining radio shows such as Fibber McGee & Molly to black & white television and really “living the dream” when a color television was purchased. Now we have Netflix, cable and satellite programs, as well as programs on dvd.
  • Technology changes in weapons and aircraft used  in warfare to utilizing unmanned drones
  • Food primarily grown or raised on the farm to a multitude of products available at the store
  • A large percentage of the United States engaged in farming to less than 2% of the current population
  • Country school with one teacher for all eight grades to consolidation of several towns into one school district
  • Polio and various epidemics to vaccines and treatments for a multitude of illnesses

This is the list I came up with, but maybe you could add some more.

The big question is:  What changes will occur during the NEXT 88 years?

The wedding day… happily ever after.

Lean on each other’s strengths; forgive each other’s weaknesses.  ~ unknown

DanAmandabw
Friday, October 11, 2013 will be an exciting day for this young couple as they exchange wedding vows before family and friends. Nervous anticipation, joyous fellowship with family and friends, fun and entertaining reception and dance will make for a wonderful celebration for all.
Yes, it’s fun to celebrate and share fellowship with family and friends on “the big day” but it’s the little things that you share each day that follows that are truly blessings. Sharing a conversation over a cup of coffee in the morning or a beverage on the deck at the end of the day are moments to be treasured. These are the events I would miss if I didn’t have the love of my life to share them with. Life will throw you a curve from time to time and there will be days of sadness and loss. Having a spouse to share in the joys of life, as well as lean on during the challenging times is truly a blessing.
Congratulations, Dan & Amanda… may your lives be truly blessed.

Cathedral of Segovia

The massive Cathedral of Segovia was built between 1525-1577 except for the dome, built around 1630.

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The Cathedral: Located in the Plaza Mayor, this beautiful Cathedral looms over Segovia’s historic center. It was built in a Renaissance Gothic style in the 16th century following the destruction of the previous Roman cathedral. It has a museum which has the first printed book in Spain from 1472. This Cathedral is acclaimed for both its size and beauty, designed by Juan Gil de Hontañón, it has 3 naves with adjoining chapels on each side.   http://www.euroresidentes.com/euroresiuk/guides-spain/guide-to-segovia.htm

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Gruesome, life-size sculpture of the crucified Christ. Makes one think…