How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Part 1 (Iain)

It is 110 days since I last went to a shop. Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, and shop are allowed to open, I promise that I will wear a mask and only shop for absolutely essential purchases. Fudge donuts are essential purchases? Right?

The donut was a celebratory donut to as I’m on vacation. I haven’t had a week off since September 2019.

Normally, I would have a break at Christmas but my Dad took ill just before I was due home. I spent the holiday season in the Western Isles hospital. Which wasn’t too bad as they do delicious, cheap food there. One of the best places to eat on the island. So, at least I’d look forward to the food even if the reason for the visit wasn’t as jolly.

My dad is now in a care home in Lewis. He went in the week before lockdown began. Which means both he and I have both being locked up against our will. Thankfully we have both come round to it and we’ve tried to make the best of a bad situation.

Last week he told me he has a Tardis in his care home. Which is impressive, I didn’t think he even had a television. He say’s it takes him from Stornoway to Glasgow in seconds but its a bit small so he’s not allowed luggage.

I blame Tory cutbacks for care homes not being able to afford a decent sized Tardis.

He also mentioned that a Tardis is quite expensive so we won’t be getting one at home.

It took a few days before I worked out what he was doing. He was confusing the care home elevator with a Tardis. The care home is on two floors. He is on the second floor. He thinks his room is in Glasgow but when he comes downstairs and see’s my mum he remembers he is in Stornoway.

I could be wrong. It could be that my dad is Dr Who.

I’m heading up to see him this week and one of my aims whilst I’m there is to try and run 100 miles in 7 days.

For no reason other than – I’m not sure I can.

I haven’t worked out a plan yet. I’ll think about that when I get there.

Outdoor Swim Review: Bayble Beach, Isle of Lewis (Iain)

I watched the Gaelic news and discovered there is a Gaelic pronunciation of “coronavirus” – it is “coróinvíreas.” But they haven’t changed “self-isolate” they pronounce it as “self-isolate.” it is surprising nobody has invented that Gaelic term as there is nothing more self isolating than a wet and windy day in Lewis.

My first school in Lewis was Point Primary. I don’t remember much about it as I was only there for a year before moving to the larger Primary in Stornoway.

Babyle beach is just along the road from my first School.

The School had been knocked down and replaced by a new building so I wasn’t able to see anything that would jog my memory about my time there.

It was whilst living down here that Andrew and I got two sheep as pets. They were called Donald and Shona.

A sheep is not a particularly good pet. It does not respond to commands. Donald would not fetch, sit or wait. He would only eat grass and baa’d occasionally. Shona was no better. She never once responded to her name and showed complete indifference to us as owners.

One day we came home and the sheep were gone. Mum said they ‘d gone to a better place where they’d be happier. In later life she admitted the better place was my uncles’ belly! He chopped them up to eat them.


Ease of Access: There is a car park next to the beach (by the pier)

Water quality: The water was clear and I could see a good distance under the water.

Swim Quality: 12.3C in June. You can swim from one beach to another just a few hundred meters away along the coast. The Pier blocks the worst of the waves. It was flat calm during my visit.

Other People: There was one couple sitting on the beach having their breakfast. Which was impressive as it wasn’t that warm a day and there was light rain.

Would I go back: Yes. Nice spot for a swim and easy to access.

Toddman 2020 (Iain)

Peat & Diesel – Stornoway

In a previous post Andrew claims he won the inaugural Toddman extreme triathlon.


If Usain Bolt ran the wrong way around the track during the 100m race would he be Olympic champion? No, he would be disqualified. He has to follow the rules of the race and run the same way as everyone else.

If Mike Tyson knocked out the ref instead of his opponent during a heavyweight boxing match would he be the heavyweight boxer of the world? No, he would be disqualified. He has to follow the rules of the fight and only punch his opponent.

If Donald Trump rigged the US election would he be US President? Ummm…not all rule breaker get the punishment they deserve.

Andrew is the Trump of Toddman. The rule was very clear. To win he had to touch the “iconic gate” at Todholes car park.

This is the iconic gate from The Barkley Marathons

This is the gate at Todholes car park

Look at how iconic this gate is. It is green. Green is an iconic color. Tom Jones sung about the “green, green grass of home”, Glasgow Celtic wear green, the Grinch is green! It even looks like the iconic Barkley marathon gate. You couldn’t get a more iconic looking gate.

You probably didn’t even notice the one next to it because it is so un-iconic and boring. That is what @AndyRTodd touched. The fool!

I will see him in court!

Never a Toddman. Always a fraud.

The Toddman jersey will be mine.

Outdoor Swim Review: Lake Of Montieth (Iain)

The name Lake of Menteith is a mistake by a cartographer. It was originally called Laich o Menteith, where “laich” simply means “low place”.

Which is very apt because when I went the water was very low.

It is not the only lake in Scotland (as I thought) there are also lakes in Fife (Raith Lake) and Sutherland (Lake Louise)

I took advantage of some nice weather to pay a visit to the lake. I wasn’t the only one with that idea. the place was mobbed. Finding somewhere to park was very difficult but luckily I managed to get a spot close enough to walk to the water easily.

The water level was low and I could easily walk out 30m without going under. There wasn’t anyone else swimming but there was a number of boats and fishermen about.


Ease of Access: There is a car park on the B road by the east of the lake. It is currently closed due to lockdown (June 2020) but may by open when you are reading this.

Water quality: The water was low and the lake is shallow. I’d check carefully for blue green algae before swimming. It was fine in early summer when I visited but I prefer deeper water to be safe.

Swim Quality: Hot! 20C in the water. I could have had a bath in it.

Other People: Fishermen and some kayakers. It seemed a popular busy place. I prefer quieter spots.

Would I go back: No. It was fine for a one off swim but I would only go back if I was passing by for another reason (ie post biking or running)

What I use to create YouTube videos (Iain)

I wrote about my lockdown project to become a YouTube sensation here.

If you are interested in doing something similar this is what I learnt.


I use an iPhone X. The video footage is 1080p HD and the sound quality is pretty good. It was also free as I already owned the phone.

The downside of using an iPhone was that the video lacked image stabilisation. This is OK, if I didn’t move the phone but if I did move it then the footage was jerky.

To improve the video quality I purchased a gimble. This is a device that steadies the camera. Unlike the non gimble footage, viewers did not get seasick when the camera moved.

The second issue was that the iPhone microphone picked up wind and other background noise. Many a take was ruined by a big blast of wind blowing in and deafening the vocals.

I purchased a mic with a wind sock. This dampened the wind noise and improved the quality of the vocal recording.


I initially tried a few free video editing tools but they were all too complicated. I’d previously learnt how to use Adobe Photoshop for a project called The Fat Minister.

I decided to try Adobe Premiere as it was a similar interface. It’s an expensive product but thankfully I get it for a discount because I work for a University. I’d highly recommend it. It is very easy to use and makes even the worst footage look professional.


The music is completely free. I googled free music and found a website I clicked on the first link on the page and that is the Bonnie Gardener theme tune!

I clicked on a lot of other links afterwards but I never found anything else as good as that first bit of music. It must have been fate!

As the season progressed I added in some other music. It is all from I had to pay a samll fee for the music but the choice and quality was much higher than the free archive.


The next step would be to upgrade the iPhone to a proper camera. Andrew has a good one. I’ll ask nicely to borrow it and then hope he forgets to ask for it back!

The Bonnie Gardener (Iain)

One of the joys of lockdown has been the opportunity to spend time at home. So much time at home. So, so much time… PLEASE HELP. MAKE IT STOP! LET ME GO!!!

Sorry. I’ll start again.

One of the joys of lockdown has been the opportunity to learn new skills. Some people learn a language; some people learn to play a musical instrument; I thought it would fun to learn how to become a YouTube sensation.

There was only one problem. I’m not very interesting! I wouldn’t want to watch a show about me so why would anyone else?

Instead I convinced my wife to be the star. She runs a successful gardening business and loves plants, nature and the outdoors. I told her I’d be her Svengali. Thankfully she was unaware of what the term meant.

We decided to make ten shows because that is how many Game Of Thrones made in their first season and it became the biggest show in the world. Game of Thrones killed off its main star in its last episode. You will have to watch to see if we did the same.

I recommend watching episode one and then episode 10. It shows you how much progress we made in ten weeks.

Episode 1:

Episode 10:

I’ll write a blog about how we filmed it and what we learnt. It was an interesting experience. Doing it every week required more discipline than following any race training plan!

First Swim After Lockdown (Iain)

This weekend I went for a socially distanced swim.

Social distancing is a silly thing to have to mention.

I have to social distance. It’s the law. Everyone is doing it. I don’t mention other laws I also did not break. This weekend I went for a murder free swim. This weekend I manged to avoid robbing a bank whilst swimming. This weekend….I think you get the point.

So, from now on, don’t mention you are social distancing. Only mention it if you don’t do it.

The last time I swam was pre lockdown. It was in Loch Chon (

It was cold.

A very cold Iain

This weekend the water temperature was 18.6C. Turtleometer nearly became turteometer soup.

Turtleometer was happy to be back in the water.

My tips for swimming after being out of the water for so long.

  1. Take it easy

It is not complicated. I have all summer to enjoy swimming. I will enjoy being back outside first and I will worry about getting the speed and distance up later.

Run #EveryStreet – Mayrathon Challenge (Iain)

I took up the challenge of to run every street. I thought it would be easy as I live in small town. I was wrong!

I went out on my lunch break thinking I could do it in an hour and that it would be 10K at most.

90 minutes and 10 miles later I had to abort the run and head home otherwise I’d be late for a work meeting.

What I took from my attempt is that it’s very hard to do it without a map. I wanted to challenge myself by trying to find my own way around town rather than relying on technology. But the mental strain of trying to remember which roads to visit and where I’d been was hard. I haven’t concentrated that hard on a task since my school exams!

New build estates are a killer to run around. So many dead ends and identikit houses makes navigation a challenge.

I got some strange looks from locals when I did run down dead end streets especially if the street was only a couple of hundred metres long. The locals must have wondered why I was bothering.

Long streets with lots of roads running off it are also tricky. I couldn’t work out whether I was better running the street in one go and then coming back to do the turn offs or just do each turnoff as I came to it.

Its an interesting challenge a mixture of running and mind skills.

I’ll try again but give myself more time.

Celtman Training – April (Iain)

Despite lockdown, I managed more exercise this month than any other month this year. It’s just a pity Celtman isn’t on. I feel really fit!

Luckily, I live in a small town in the countryside. I have access to biking, trails and hills on my doorstep. I can leave the house and not see a soul for hours. I don’t need to practice social isolating. I’ve been doing it for years.

Here’s some things I’ve learnt this month.

I’ve learnt that I’m sports TV addict who is so desperate for sport to return I watched the wood chopping world championship.

I learnt that my Dad hasn’t mastered video calls but it was good to see his ear

I learnt that I could spend lock-down learning to bake, or work on art, or even learn a new language. I could do any of those things….or could use this time to get my favourite twitter account Grumpy Skeletor to insult a friend of mine. All it required was a three pound donation to Grumpy’s coffee fund. Money well spent.

I learnt that the most exciting day in lockdown other than Bin Day is Bin Day Eve. I’m never sure if I’ll be able to sleep due to the excitement of wondering whether the bin men will come.

I completed a Jigsaw! Now, a lot of haterz might say – what about the sky? That’s #fakejigsawnews from the #fakejigsawmedia The bits are all there! Do they report that? I’m the jigsawest jigsawer of all time. So there! Make jigsaws great again!

The letter below says that I am a key worker. No need to call me a hero or clap for me…oh ok then. You can clap a little. #humble #clap4todd

Here are a few pics from the month.

What to Watch During Lockdown (Iain)

Having more time at home means I get to spend quality time with my loved ones – the TV, the computer and the wife. That is not an order of preference. My wife reads this so I have to say that!

I don’t watch many TV shows. I’m about five years behind everyone else. I only recently started Game of Thrones. I love Sean Bean. I can’t wait to see how his character progresses over the seven seasons.

But because of lockdown, an abundance of free films, Theatre and YouTube videos have been made available to watch.

Here’s a selection of things I’ve seen.


Two twins – one more successful than the other, swap places after one dies in an accident.

This is a concept I can totally buy into. It’s factually correct. One twin is always more succesful than the other. Andrew – How did you get on at Norseman? Do you want to see what a finishers T-shirt looks like? Is it cold in my shadow?

The show is utterly preposterous but it has one redeeming feature. It is filmed in Lofoten. One of the most beautiful areas of Norway. Lofoten is somewhere I want to visit (as I love Norway) and hopefully do their triathlon


Gangs of London is the thickheaded more violent brother of Twin. It is even more preposterous and prone to extreme violence. It is well directed and acted but at the end my wife said “I’m not sure I could watch any more of that”


A train circling the globe has the last reaming humans. The train is split into different classes from the poorest to the richest.

This films sounds stupider than Twin and Gangs of London combined but its actually great. Don’t learn anything about it in advance. Just watch it and enoy a smart sci fi premise done really well.

The director and writer went onto to win Oscar for this years Parasite. So it proves he knows what he is doing.


I’ve watched a lot of great YouTube videos. I’ve created a playlist of some of the best

I tried watching some live theatre – One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Cordon but after 30s of watching him, I wanted to lick a self service machine to try and get a dose of covid-19. Even that horrific illness must be more enjoyable than 2 hours of Cordon!