Film Friday – The Ginger Runner – The 100 Mile Training Week (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recomendation of one video to watch this weekend.

This week’s video is The Ginger Runner’s annual 100 mile training week video. Watching his 2019 video was the reason I attempted to run and video my attempt at it. It’s a really interesting challenge and I’d recommend people give it a try.

Film Friday – Black & Whyte – A Norseman Story (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly recommendation of one video to watch this weekend. I forgot to post this yesterday but better late than never!

This weeks video follows Greg Whyte who you might have seen on television helping celebrities overcome sporting challenges. He helped David Walliams swim the Thames and Davina Mccall’s 500 mile challenge, as well as many others.

This shows what it takes to do Norseman when you are as dedicated as he is. I did none of this when I did it. Its fair to say we had different experiences

Film Friday – The Big Chill – Gary Robbins Backyard 100 (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recomendation of one video to watch this weekend.

This weeks video is the story of Gary Robbins, a Canadian trail runner, and his comeback from injury to run a 100 mile route near his house.

Its the perfect example of how much fun and adventure you can have by creating your own event.

2020 Report (Iain)

Every year I download an info-graphic of my Strava training stats from

You can see last years here

I did over 3,400 miles of swimming, biking and running. Which was enough distance to take me to Washington DC. Which makes me the second Lewis boy to get there. Donald Trump beat me to it. His mum is from the Isle Of Lewis just like my mum.

I like to imagine what Donald Trump’s life would have been like if his mum had stayed in Lewis. I think he would be selling Trump black puddings. The puiddingest puddings in the world.

I also like to imagine what my life would be like if my mum had gone to America. Maybe I’d now be Mr President. I’m sure I’d have done a better job at it!

Happy New Year Everyone. I hope 2021 brings you all health and happiness.

Best Music of 2020 (Iain)

The UK coronavirus lockdown was the perfect opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument, or learn a language, or work on art. I spent it scrolling through twitter.

The Dalai Lama doesn’t do twitter so he turned to music.


Which was one of the few record this year that Elton John did not appear on. He turned up on Lady Gaga’s album, Ozzie Osbourne’s album and the Gorrilaz. He also released his own songs. He was more prevalent than Covid.

I’ve never been a fan of Elton. I can appreciate his piano playing and meoldies but I think his voice sounds like a horny elephant bellowing for a mate. Take this song for example. It has excellent production, a good melody and then out of nowhere Sir Dumbo roars. Its the sort of collaboration record where I don’t believe the two of them have ever met. After listening to it they’ll probably never want to either.

Sex was a recurring theme of 2020. Some of the biggest hits featured lyrics that would be more appropriate to Playboy magazine than the top 40. WAP by Cardi B is about as subtle as punch in the face, followed by a kick in the baws and then a boot up the bum.

Has this song any redeeming features? None. If a man sang this explicitly, the song would be banned for being offensive. Because its performed by women, the song is classed as empowering. If hell had an elevator this would be the lift music.

My song of the year goes to a record released in 2019 – smoke by Headie-One. I include it in the best of 2020 because until earlier this year Headie was in jail. His song may not have been released in 2019 but he was.

It is the complete contrast to the glamour, money and cartoonish nature of WAP. Smoke is about real-life. It’s gritty, violent and mournful. The album reflects on his upbringing and his imprisonment. Great art is eternal. This time next year WAP will be forgotten but Smoke is a record that will sound just as good 20 years from now.

Honorable Mentions

Best song that mentions running

Best Pop Song

2020 – part 2 (Iain)


This was the month Celtman was cancelled. Which came as a relief to me. I’d been ill for a few weeks and and I had not been able to train.The only exercise I do this month is walk. I don’t feel back to full health until May.

I may have had Covid. Before I fell ill I’d visited a friend. They had Covid but they didn’t know. They got it at a spaghetti bolognese party. Yes, you have read that correctly. A spaghetti bolognese party. A party where everyone share food, cutlery and (unknowingly) Covid. The organizers of the party had just come back from a ski trip to a Covid hit region of northern Italy. The organizers and some other guests were subsequently diagnosed with covid.

I will never know if that is what I had it but it seems likely.

The month starts with Keir Stammer being elected leader of the Labour party. I hope he keeps his job on googlebox.

Sir keir

Due to covid I receive a refund from HMRC which can be used to help with expenses. Thanks HMRC, I used it wisely.


I want to know more about this.


Covid discussions took a turn to the weird. I was watching Good Morning Briton and spotted ex England manager and top shagger Sven Goran Erickson as an expert. What next? Neil Lennon explains Herd immunity. Derek Mcinnes discusses social distancing?


I worked at home all month but made a mistake and accidentally orders some servers to be delivered to my house than my office. I had to explain to my my insurance company that I had £80K of computer equipment in my living room.


My Granny declared covid is worse than World War 2 because “During the war you could at least get a cup of tea with your neighbours”

I think she has forgotten about the part of the war where Nazis dropped bombs on her.

After weeks of lockdown I find I’m bored of covid. The early stuff was new and exciting but now it’s the same old symptoms rolled out week after week. I decide to move onto newer more exciting viruses like dengue fever. I’ll be a diseases hipster.


I have 20+ years of IT experience managing and building complex systems. So you can guess the first request I get within two minutes of returning to the my office. “Can you switch my PC on and off?”

It was nice to return to the office and see a reminder of the good old days when I only had to be afraid of people who’d been on holiday recently


Lockdown lifts at the end of May. One of the fun things I did whilst stuck at home was film a YouTube series with my wife. It was hard work to create/shoot/edit 10 minutes every week. I don’t know how Monty Don does it every week.


My favourite bit of Lockdown was when someone posted on my local Facebook group “Why is the farmers field got so much rubbish in it? When will the council force him to tidy it up? It is an eyesore! Anyone can drive up and tip their crap into the field. Nothing happens! There is no punishment for doing this”

Which most people read as “Easy to access rubbish dump now available! You won’t even get in trouble!” The next day the field was full of crap. Thanks Facebook

June saw more and more people escaping lock-down and returning to more normal activities although people kept adding the phrase “socially distanced” to whatever they did ie “I went for a run with a friend…socially distanced.” “I met my mum for lunch…socially distanced.”

You didn’t need to add “socially distanced” to describe exercise/activity you did with other people. You had and still have to socially distance when you are with people. Its the law. Everyone is doing it. If you are going to mention a law you are not breaking then mention other laws you aren’t breaking too. “I went for a run. I didn’t rob a bank” or “My mum and dad visited. I haven’t seen them in 8 weeks. We spent the time avoiding committing treason” or “I met another household. We didn’t exchange plants from other countries as that is a breach or the customs regulations related to horticulture.”

At the end of the month I was allowed to travel home to Stornoway to visit my mum….socially distanced.

Best TV and Films of 2020 (Iain)

If I was to describe the ways BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) is one of the worst films ever made I’d never publish this post as it would go on and on and on and on…

Don’t even think about watching it



Dave Lee is a fool.

2020 was not a great year for films. I’ve struggled to come up with a list of films I’ve enjoyed watching. The coronavirus lockdown has meant there has been very few good films released. I did venture out to see one of the only blockbusters released – Tenet. I won’t spoil it by giving my opinion on it as Andrew hasn’t seen it yet.

2020 saw the loss of of one of my childhood heroes and one of cinema’s biggest stars – Sean Connery

Years ago, I met Sean Connery. And by “met Sean” I mean I was in the same cinema as him. We were both at a film premiere. Sean sat down in front of me and then promptly fell asleep for the whole film. Afterwards I saw him on TV saying how much he enjoyed it! That was good acting.

As I can’t think of any particularly good films, here’s some TV I enjoyed.

Best Drama – Guilt

Guilt is the darkly comic tale of two brother who accidently kill a man whilst driving back from a night out. It’s much funnier than the premise suggests and at only 4 episodes long it doesn’t over do the concept. A lean, mean thrilling machine.

The writer of the show is the man who created Bob Servant. A very funny comic creation – a burger man from Dundee with delusions of grandeur. If you don’t find his tweets funny then you and I can never be friends.

Best Documentary – The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty

A four part documentary detailing how Murdoch came to rule the world of newspapers in the UK. The interviews are varied and balanced and it shows clearly who he has earned peoples loyalty and respect as well as why people fear him. It is beautifully shot and edited with the production values of a Hollywood film.

Best Show of 2020 – The Real Marigold Hotel

A spin off of the hit film about pensioners finding love and adventure in a ramshackle Indian hotel shouldn’t work. It sounds like an idea Alan Partridge would pitch to the BBC. “Monkey tennis…but with pensioners”

But in a time where people are no longer allowed to gather together, a show about strangers living together, discovering common interests with each other and learning how to challenge how they previously lived is the sort of life affirming show 2020 needed.

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley – Winter (Iain)

Worst Hitchhiker Ever

I was recently asked what my secret is for swimming in Winter. I don’t think their is any secret to it – I try to be consistent, I make sure I have the correct clothes and I accept the fact it’s going to be cold!

I’ve got better at handling the cold by being consistent with my swimming. Over a number of years I pushed cold boundary. When I started I only swam outdoors May to September. The next year I tried starting in April and finishing in October. Now I swim all year round.

I enjoy swimming skins. I’d like to swim skins in winter but I’ve tried it and I struggle with the after effects of the cold. I could keep at it but I’d rather enjoy a swim than endure it. Don’t let you ego determine your clothing! Use common sense and wear as much as you need to feel warm.

My winter kit (to wear with a wetsuit) is:

I was wearing all this kit when I recently visited Carron Valley Reservoir. My aim in winter is to try to do at least 10 minutes. It was hard to stay in for that long due to a strong wind the water was very choppy and difficult to swim in.

I tried my best to get some swimming in but I was happy to stop when my stop watch said my time was up.


Ease of Access: Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: The water level was very high. Normally there is a rocky “beach” but it was completely covered by water. The tree were I normally leave my stuff was half submerged by water.

Swim Quality: Hard work. The waves and a low sun made it very tricky to sight to swim in a straight line.

Other People: Not a soul.

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

Rugged Bike – Whitelee Windfarm (Iain)

In landscape photography the golden hours of sunrise and sunset are considered the best time of day for any type of photography since the light is properly diffused and warm. Basically good light at this time can make any picture look good.

This month, the weather has been wet and the sky has been grey but on Saturday we were blessed with some spectacular winter sunlight.

It was a great opportunity to get the GoPro video camera out and shoot some video at Whitelee windfarm.

The Whitelee is just outside Glasgow and provides free parking, a visitor’s center, a cafe to enjoy lunch, and bus tours that take you around the entire complex. Although current restrictions mean only the free parking is available. Which proved very popular. By 10AM the car park was full and people were queuing to park.

The wind-farm has more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) of trails for cyclists, walkers, and dogs to explore. I’ve been here many times but usually to run. You can read about some attempts at racing here

or here

I ride a mountain bike but the tracks would be suitable for gravel bikes too. The route I choose was a nice loop of Loch Goin with a detour to the highest hill. From there I could see across Glasgow as well out west to Arran.

After watching the video, my brother said it made him look like a good mountain biker. I’m sorry to say the golden hour can make anything look good but even the best CGI couldn’t make him look like Danny MacAskill!

Judge for yourself.



Route Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nearly 300m of climbing but the routes were very easy to ride.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great views over Glasgow and nice stretches of forest riding.


Rating: 5 out of 5.



Rating: 2 out of 5.

It was very busy. On a nice day, if you are not there early, then it might be full.


Rating: 1 out of 5.

There were no public toilets open.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

The cafe was closed (Nov 2020) but normally it does a nice range of teas/coffees and baking.


The Bonnie Gardener: Season Two (Iain)

One of the joys of the first UK Lockdown was learning new skills. I decided I’d learn how to create videos. You can read about it here.

Trying to create a show every week from scratch was hard work. So, for season two, we decided we’d film videos during the summer and then put them together into episodes in the Autumn. This has hopefully resulted in a more interesting show to watch as its not just shots of my garden for 10 weeks.

Here’s a preview of season 2.

There is no running/biking or swimming in the videos but it does fit into the general theme of this blog which is a love of Scotland and a passion for showing off all the great places you can visit.