28 Oct 2010

Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010

Representing Team Scotland in the 2010 Commonwealth Games was both an honour and a privilege. I'm extremely proud to have been the first Scottish tennis player to compete at a full Commonwealth Games, and to be part of the tennis team that won a mixed doubles gold medal is a particularly special memory! Competing in such a massive multi-sport event is an incredible experience - it's inspiring to be amongst so many top athletes in various sports.

I loved the sense of enthusiasm and camaraderie amongst the Scottish athletes, and the support from 'behind-the-scenes' was superb - the medical staff, physios, press officers, team managers and coaches all contributed in some way to Team Scotland's successes. I'd be willing to bet that very few nations have the pride & passion that we do.

Despite concerns prior to the Games that the athlete's village and some of the sporting venues wouldn't be ready, all the experiences I had were positive. The Indian officials and volunteers involved were all really friendly and keen to help in whatever way they could.

I'd love to be involved when Scotland hosts the Games in four years time (Glasgow 2014). Tennis isn't one of the sports chosen, is 28 too old for 'Talent Transfer'?!

Click the links below to access the updates I wrote before, during and after Delhi, as well as all the pictures:

Update 1: Ready for departure

Update 2: Arrival in Delhi

Update 3: On-court experiences

Update 4: Doubles & Mixed

Update 5: Night before the final

Update 6: GOLD!!

Update 7: Back to reality

Delhi 2010

Taj Mahal

See more pics!

26 Jun 2010

Gausdal, somewhere in the middle of Norway

I'm here for 2 weeks of tennis tournaments, actually playing this time not just travelling with kids! It's literally in the middle of nowhere, about 35km north-west of Lillehammer - a ski resort with a hotel, some tennis courts, a big hill and....that's pretty much it. There's a few other British girls here, so we've been practising together, supporting each other, cooking dinner, playing games etc - come to think of it, we've pretty much lived together for 9 days and haven't killed each other yet. Actually, it's been a really good laugh.

Week 1 - I qualified for singles then lost a close match 6-4 7-6 (8) which was really annoying as I had quite a few chances 2nd set. Doubles - won 1st round with Sam (Vickers), then she unfortunately got injured in her singles and couldn't really walk so our next round was pretty challenging... obviously we were going to win the tournament so a bit gutted but c'est la vie ; Week 2 - about to begin...

I spent last Friday morning being a tourist in Oslo after arriving on Thursday, and stayed with Kester Black's parents - they were so welcoming, really appreciated them putting me up for the night!! Oslo was great - really nice atmosphere in a beautiful setting...

So I've been playing a bit more competitive tennis again and really enjoying it...just finding it pretty difficult to find time to train properly, after spending most of the day teaching fitness classes or coaching. I'm trying to get a ranking (both singles & doubles) before the end of July, to give myself a slim chance of being selected for the Scottish team in the Commonwealth Games. I really don't know how small or big the chance is, but it's a dream opportunity and definitely worth trying for! After Bolton (British Tour event in March) I played in the Bournemouth & Edinburgh $10K's...reached 2nd round MD in Edinburgh and semis of doubles with Sam. Loads of people from fitness classes/tennis coaching, and my family came to watch which was really cool, it makes a big difference when you have people really supporting.

See more pics!

24 May 2010

Campervan trip!!

We borrowed mum & dad's mod-con campervan for the weekend and had a brilliant time on the East Coast with amazing weather! We drove down the A1 past Coldingham & St. Abbs (had a short walk over the cliffs and on the beach), then found an amazing campspot just south of Berwick, right on the coast.

On Saturday we drove across the causeway to Holy Island (Lindisfarne) and had a really nice morning exploring the island. It's really calm & peaceful, we walked right around the headland and got some nice views of the castle and priory. Tempted by a swim in the sea, but paddling was enough to completely freeze our legs so we decided that was good enough :)

After Holy Island we went to Bamburgh Castle - great location, if I had a castle I'd like one in a place like that ;) Enjoyed that, then on to Seahouses - a well-deserved icecream and then a game of crazy golf... fun! We picked up some stuff for a BBQ and then drove further down the coast towards Alnwick, ready for Sunday's plan to tour Alnwick Castle and Gardens! It was a bank holiday weekend so really busy but still enjoyed walking round. The castle would be great for kids learning about castles & history at school - loads of interactive stuff, dressing up, using bows & arrows etc... (ok, I loved it). There was a really cool treehouse at Alnwick Gardens aswell ;)

We drove back inland via the Border towns and had a wee tour around Melrose/St.Boswell's area - Dryburgh Abbey, Scott's View, Melrose Abbey etc. Really beautiful area... it was such a fun weekend!!

See more pics!

18 May 2010

Kilconquhar & Braemar

We had a great couple of days at Kilconquhar over Easter. Gav, Jen & Lochlann were staying the whole week with mum & dad, but we just had a couple of days (work gets in the way of having fun sometimes ;) We had some really nice walks along the coast, played golf at the driving range, did the chain walk at Elie (with Lochlann on my back!) and took him for his first swim in the pool - adorable :) I'm not sure if he was loving the temperature at first, but the plastic ducks and inflatable play ring that mum & dad got him made it all worthwhile... Here's a few too many pictures of him, but he is quite cute - especially in his snowsuit :)

The following weekend we went up to Braemar and did some biking & walking which was as enjoyable as always up there...weather was great again, still some snow on the tops but melting fast!

See more pics!

2 May 2010

West Coast

Richard & I had a long weekend on the west coast with fantastic weather, which was an added bonus! We climbed Ben Lomond on Friday - masses of snow still on the tops, so decided to just go up & down the main route...

Took a cross-country route to try and find a good camping spot but ended up checking into a campsite at Arrochar as it was getting late and we needed some gas for cooking (I managed to remember the stove but no gas...oops). We were asked if we could put up our tent really quickly as it was against the rules to put the tents up after it was dark - I actually thought they were kidding, has health & safety gone MAD?! Perhaps they think people might trip over their own guy-ropes, dive 10 metres, fall down the hill, break their leg & then sue for bad site planning. What a joke. We successfully pitched our tent and settled into a five-star dinner of noodles, accompanied by a shandy - perfect.

On Saturday we had a really nice bike ride near Inverary - circular route ending up back at the castle. It was raining when we set off but cleared up and turned into another great day. Continuing north-west past Lochawe, we stayed in Oban on Saturday and had a fantastic meal at a wee restaurant in town (almost as good as the noodles the night before). On Sunday we took a huge ferry (see boat picture above) over to Luing, pronounced 'Ling', and biked round the island. Somehow managed to get four people & 4 bikes onto the boat on the way there which was a logistical challenge but saved the 10 minutes it would have taken for the ferry to go across and back again :) It was beautiful cycling round the coastal route, with great views over to Mull as it was such a clear day. Slate-quarrying seems to have been the main lifestyle over there 50-100 years ago but most of them are disused now... Afterwards we drove to Easdale, which was surprisingly busy, and had a shop full totally random & quite weird items. Easdale Island is apparently famous for hosting stone-skimming championships - that's my random fact of the day.

See more pics!

20 Mar 2010

The Mighty Deerstalker!!

The Mighty Deerstalker

An adventurous hill-running race with approximately 1250 competitors dressed up in varying degrees of tweed & hunting attire which begins like this – sprint up a grassy slope, leap over some hay bales, plunge into a river/mud pool and then get to the top of the 1st hill as fast as you can. The rest of the race revolves around 2 major hills and consists of running, scrambling, crawling, jumping, wading, balancing, and sliding – not to mention dirt, mud & cramp (and in several cases blood, sweat & tears). FUN! I love challenges :)

I knew what to expect from last year, so I did a bit more running leading up to the event, and even stuck to soft drinks on the RPM night out the night before – I must have been taking it seriously. It paid off as I was somehow the fastest female runner (or probably more realistic to say the most determined female competitor who firmly believes that pain is just weakness leaving the body... not necessarily the fastest runner). I got a voucher for £100 of adventure racing gear, a medal, and a huge deal of pride. I was also in pain for 2 days – there must have been a lot of weakness leaving my body.

Heather, Simon, Richard & I also had a great walk near Peebles the weekend before - very windy on the tops but a lot of fun and great to catch up with Heather & Simon who I hadn't seen for ages!

See more pics!

16 Mar 2010

My nephew :)

I got my first smile the other day! I'm constantly amazed at how quickly he changes...

See more pics!