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Doodlecat's Homepage

Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

I would love to be able to say that Doodlecat is all my own work, but it isn’t. Much of the outdoors content is courtesy of the splendid people who participate in the annual TGO Challenge (there is a section entirely devoted to this unique event) and many others.

To help in tracking down that elusive morsel on Doodlecat, the search facility under the title bar above is tailored to help you find it, either on this home page (Doodlecat's Blog) all the rest of the site (Main Site) or – if all else fails - the internet!

So have a rummage around the old cat basket and enjoy your time with us!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A View from the Scrap Heap Vol. 2

The weather here in the West of Scotland hasn’t been too good for the past week, high winds low cloud and rain, so despite my freedom from the daily grind I haven’t got a lot of hill walking done. So when the forecast looked good for Friday myself and my friend Eileen decided to head up to Spean Bridge to climb Stob Ban. We decided to take Eileen’s car as far as possible up the track to minimize the long walkin. The only problem was the ruts on the track were so deep they almost took the exhaust off.

It had been a clear night and it was a cold clear morning with snow on the tops and patches of ice on the track. After about an hour and a half walkin we reached the bothy at the bottom of the hill. After a quick cuppa in the bothy we put on our winter boots and set off. We had talked about doing this hill in September but the weather and other commitments meant we never got round to it till now. I’m very glad we didn’t climb it during warmer weather because it appears it would have been a very boggy experience. We ascended at a good steady pace avoiding the patches of ice until we reached the snowline. Here we put on our crampons not because of the snow its self but because there were lots of patches of ice under the snow. It’s a steep final pull up to the summit and my legs were feeling the extra weight of the winter boots and crampons by the time we reached the top.

The views from the top were magnificent. Snow capped peaks all around us with visibility good enough to see Schiehallion to the south east. My friend Eileen is a Munro bagger and this hill leaves her with 100 to do so in celebration we had cake on the summit while trying not to freeze in the cold wind. Cake finished it was back down to the bothy for a bite to eat before the walkout. It was great to get out in winter conditions again and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a good lot of snow this winter.


Friday, November 23, 2007


My final birthday treat happened last night. Brother in law, David, my 2004 TGO partner, and his wife Debbie, had bought us tickets to Andy Kirkpatrick's "Psychovertical" show in Cambridge. Miss Whiplash & I didn't know quite what to expect...a slide show and talk sounds, well, a bit dull.

Oh no!

If you don't know of Andy, the best introduction is from the promotional blurb, which, for once, doesn't exaggerate.

"Andy's speciality is big wall climbing and winter expeditions, which involves pitting himself against a vertical climbs of over 1000 metres, often in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees. Andy has scaled Yosemite's El Capitan - one of the hardest walls in America - over ten times, including two solo ascents. One of these ascents was a 12 day solo of the Reticent Wall, viewed at the time as perhaps the hardest climb of its type in the world."

"In 2002 he undertook one of the hardest climbs in Europe: a 15 day winter ascent of the West face of the Dru. This 1000 metre pillar pushed him and his partner to their limits and was featured in the award winning film 'Cold Haul'. "

"Makes Ray Mears look like Paris Hilton".
Presented in a laugh a minute style, irreverent about his peers, it's not until after the show, that you realise exactly what he has done, what you have heard and seen. As well as a great evening's entertainment, you leave having learned a lot - about climbing, climbers, and a tiny glimpse into what makes them tick.

Think a walk across Scotland is hard? How about Greenland coast to coast across the ice cap. I'll never moan about having a blister again after seeing the picture of one the teams' feet.

It's a great evening with an engaging character. Even non outdoors types will enjoy it, and find it inspirational.

Plus you learn how to kill a polar bear!


Friday, November 2, 2007

A View from the Scrap Heap

Those of you who I met at the recent Challenge reunion, another great event organized by Pauline & Bernie Marshall, will know I was made redundant a few weeks ago. Every one expressed the appropriate concern for my plight. Well now I've had a couple of weeks to let the reality of the situation sink in and all I can say is it is hellish.

I spent 5 days walking to the Challenge reunion along the West Highland Way. This week I have been for a walk along my local beach everyday, I would have gone further afield but the weather has been dreecht. On Sunday and Tuesday I will be walking on the Isle of Arran, next weekend I'm going to Ullapool and Pitlochry Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the week after. As I said hellish.

The only problem I can see is at sometime in the future I will have to get a new job but for the moment I'll just have to put up with my situation.

Photo of the month

Hi All

Been a bit slow on loading the photos this month, but the new "Images of the Month" are now in the Gallery.