I spent a tortuous youth on the rugby pitch, part of a squad that was one of the best in Scotland, but rarely getting a game and never scoring a point – not exactly ideal for a winger! Several of my teammates went onto play for Scotland, including full internationals, while I gave it up for safer times throwing myself down hills on a mountain bike instead.
As long as I can remember I have been into endurance sports, starting as an 11-12 year old by riding my BMX 10 or 15 miles at a time between coastal Aberdeenshire villages and gaining a sense of adventure and exploration through these trips without agenda. A competitive streak developed in me soon after when racing mates round our estate on my sister’s Raleigh Coco after my bike was trashed in an accident involving giving a ‘backie’. I didn’t care about the pink and purple paintwork or handlebar streamers, as long as I was beating my friends! Mountain bike riding began later after picking up issue 1 of mbr magazine and realising I could actually take my bike off road! What a revelation that was!
Mountain biking occupied me for a few years before I got bored of riding around in circles for 24 hours and discovered the world of Adventure Racing in a magazine article in the now defunct ‘On the Hill’ magazine. I’ve been into ‘AR’ since the 2003 Hebridean Challenge and at that time I couldn’t believe how fast the 1st team in the race were. I’d never seen anyone move so fast on foot over rough terrain and work in such a cooperative way to achieve their result. Finishing 24 hours behind them over the 5 days of the race (that included stops every night!) I never thought I’d be able to race at that level, but set that as my target. First of all I had to crack off road running, which began in the Heb Challenges and then onto the KIMM where I could barely walk over tussocky ground, nevermind run, however, with experience came stronger ankles and skill, and numerous Elite class races later I’m still hooked. These days I race with Team Helly Hansen Prunesco, the 2009 Adventure Racing World Champions and my preference is for longer Expedition style events like Explore Sweden, Bergson Winter Challenge and Wilderness ARC.
Along the way I completed a Masters Degree in Sports Engineering, that’s designing and manufacturing sports gear to you and me, so have a really keen interest in Outdoor sports equipment especially clothing after years of working in bike and outdoor shops. I’ve helped a few manufacturers along the way with product design and evolution including Endura, Freestyle, Paramo and OMM, and is something I really find enjoyable. This has led into writing product reviews for Sleepmonsters.com and UK Adventure Sports Magazine which I post up when possible on this site.
I’ve also worked as an Adventure Race Planner and Director and been at the helm of a number of Rat Races, Wan Daes and ACE Race events, when they were still good events to be involved in! I may do some more events but at the moment am concentrating on being a Medical Student in Swansea.
Alongside racing I also enjoy personal challenges and have completed several 24 hour runs and mountain bike events. I love being out there in the hills and sometimes getting into a few scrapes to have some stories to tell! For me life’s all about the adventure and I love inspiring others to get out there and take on a challenge, whether through organising races for novices or motivating them with stories of the adventures I’ve had myself.
I’m really rubbish at keeping on top of this blog and as I’m even worse at writing things down in a diary or calendar then I need to keep this up so I can remember what the hell I’ve been up to over the year, cos god knows my memory is shocking! I hope what’s in this blog is of some use to someone other than me.