Afternoon hike – Ben A’an

A sunny morning in Glasgow – so Adele and I decide to go for a wee jolly up Ben A’an. Reasons being – I’ve never been up Ben A’an before, it is small enough to do in a short afternoon and Adele told me she’d never climbed a hill before. Say what!

I’d heard about Ben A’an through a string of people who have told me its the best wee hill in the Trossachs for a short walk with great views, and it’s not far from Glasgow.

Ben A’an has its own car park at the foot of the hill which is just off the A821, you cross the road and are immediately onto the track. The walk begins with a lovely steep incline to ease those seized hips into action, up and out into the open.

IMG_0239IMG_0241

The path is extremely well maintained – and although most surrounding trees have been felled recently (which is kinda ugly) there is a nice breeze the whole way up.

IMG_0261

The rest of the walk provides a fantastic view of Ben A’an’s pointed summit. A good indication of how far you have left to stumble, and gives plenty photo ops!

IMG_0267IMG_0274

Onto the rocky summit of Ben A’aan – and Adele has ticked off her first hill. Wayhay!

IMG_0302IMG_0303

Almost the full length of Loch Katrine is in view from up here with Ben Venue in the distance.

IMG_0305

Overall, Ben A’an – perfect for a short walk, great for beginner hill walkers, ideal for kids and a nice one to ease yourself back into hill walking if you’ve not been out in a while i.e., me!

Thanks for reading – keep up with all my adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona x

Dear sports marketing, please ditch the f**king models

The women who become role models to us, and the women who SHOULD become role models to us are two very different people. Most of the time we don’t even notice – but how does this fair up for generations to come… the kids who are going to be thrown into the whirlwind of social media slapping them in the face with airbrushed images of celebrity models, photographed in clothing & equipment that should be promoting strong, healthy athletic women.  How come it’s a sexualised Roxy ad that sells me a bikini, or Kendall Jenner wearing Adidas that makes me buy new trainers? We talk about it all the time, using REAL women, doing REAL sports is good – it gets millions of views, it gets us inspired and excited – it wins awards. So WHY are we not seeing female athletes in advertising campaigns? Were they all too busy being awesome that day? Hmm.

What makes a good campaign great is the ability to tap into the minds of the viewer, something that makes me think – I am that girl, I could be that girl, I want to be that girl. I will stop being negative nancy for a second, because good advertising does exist. Ever heard of “This Girl Can”?

‘Are you up for breaking a sweat? Lottery-funded This Girl Can is designed to inspire you to sweat like a pig – and feel like a fox while you’re doing it.’

Not hot enough for sponsorship - Silvana Lima

S*** hot on a surf board, but not pretty enough for sponsorship? Are you kidding me? Silvana Lima is one of the best professional surfers in Brazil and she is being denied sponsorship for the way she looks.

“I’m not a babe. I’m a surfer, a professional one.”

And that, is what SHOULD inspire us. But athletes depend on sponsorship to an extent, it’s marketing, a pay cheque, a team and an opportunity to inspire worldwide. It’s seriously screwed that it’s only the ‘pretty’ girls that get this chance.

Silvana-Lima

Silvana Lima – WSL

Women to follow

The Kardashians and the Hadid sisters are long gone from my instagram feed – for a short while I got sucked into their parallel universe of ‘perfection’ – I kept up with Bella and Gigi for fashion and style inspo, and lets face it – the Kardashians can be entertaining. But why do these girls become the face of brands promoting sports that they have probably never done before. It kind of shakes me up the wrong way – so here are some girls with real talent, doing great things, living interesting lifestyles. Hopefully one day these women will be the ones we see all the time, on social media, in interviews, wearing our favourite brands and being themselves.

Tyler Wright

d3706b44cd8883f6ffc6d30cb88d70cdmaxresdefault

Tyler Wright is the reigning two-time World Champion, she’s talent and strength. She’s intelligent and knows exactly who she is and what she’s doing.

“I’m comfortable, very confident, and it reflects in a powerful manner. Just the way I hold myself in certain situations – it comes from knowing myself, and that’s what’s reflected. It translates into a confident, powerful, strong style of surfing.”

Her journey from day one is pretty impressive. The Wright family is also a team of people who I really admire. Check it out…

Kimi Werner

kimi-werner-gear-patrol-cinema-lead-full1704079512

“Never take more than you need”

Kimi featured in Fishpeople, a film about people’s lives transformed by the sea. This is where I first came across her, and I was immediately hooked. Excuse the pun. She won the US National Spearfishing Championship, she was the best! But this sport was not in keeping with her beliefs; she left it behind to concentrate on sustainable hunting and marine conservation. Spending incredible amounts of time underwater on one breath, Kimi’s skills as a free diver and spearfisher is further proof that humans are completely capable of living in a way that is unharmful to our ecosystem.

Angie Payne

b72fd01f-110f-434c-9211-09d5f736dc7e

Climber, photographer, explorer. I was introduced to Angie Payne in the film ‘Poumaka.’ She was climbing one of the world’s gnarliest towers: a 1,500-foot volcanic spire called Poumaka alongside Mike Libecki (who is one of my favourite people in the whole entire world). Angie seeks adventure, she’s out there doing amazing things and not really shouting about it. She talks about her expeditions truthfully, it’s not all sunsets and summits – and we really get to see the blood, sweat, anger and tears that push her boundaries each and every time she climbs.

 

Thanks for reading

R x

The Arrochar Alps in December

The Arrochar alps – sitting quietly in the midst of surrounding giants. Blue sky and views that stretch forever, glistening icicles, frozen burns and that iconic rock formation iced with heavy coats of white. The Cobbler in December!IMG_2190IMG_2198The best thing about winter hill walking in Scotland is unpredictability. The worst thing about winter hill walking in Scotland is also unpredictability! It is so hard to plan ahead, weather flickers by the second and so you either have to go super scout prepared with kit or take a risk with the elements.IMG_2197IMG_2195Without an abundance of waking kit this year, the plan was to stick to the wee hills only. 6 hour max routes, so we didn’t end up walking down icy ridges in darkness. Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) is one of my favourite hills, sitting at 2884 ft and with breathtaking views down Loch Long. We completed the hill up and down in 4 hours, and given our lacking kit of no crampons or poles it felt pretty speedy. IMG_2196We reached the summit at 2pm – the sun was low in the sky and cast incredible pink hues across the landscape. IMG_2194-5 at the top, and at least -10 with windchill meant our decent was slightly more challenging with frozen fingers and toes – IMG_2193But we weren’t as chilly as the ice climbers! IMG_2192IMG_2191Triple layers on the way down – and a teeny bit frosty/grumpy!WARM AGAIN! Thanks for a fantastic day Callum!

-and thanks for reading

R x

Ice Buzz – Christmas Water Sports

IMG_2952

A cold Christmas? It defiantly was for me; I feel the cold… unlike my three older brothers who seem to have built up an impressive immunity. Our holidays began with Christmas and Boxing day on the Isle of Bute at our Dads. With lots of relations on the island, we are really lucky to have access to boats, outdoor toys and equipment whenever we go over to stay! Despite the drizzle and dampening grey clouds (which would often put me off), we got going and had a great afternoon in Port Bannatyne Bay. Kit choice was slightly questionable – borrowed bits and pieces and with a wake board too small for anyones feet to fit in we improvised with one of Ewan’s surf boards.

IMG_3383IMG_3381IMG_0037IMG_0018If anyone fancies wake boarding (properly – unlike us) give Loch Lomond Wakeboard a visit, or alternatively the Glasgow Wake Park.

IMG_3157We then headed North West to Kishorn, beautifully caked in snow. This is my mums front garden, with breathtaking views over the Bealach na Bà and escaping sea views across to the Isle of Skye. It blows my mind every time I visit! My mum is very into wild swimming, whether its long distance, short distance or a speedy dip – she swears its beneficial physically and mentally; and I would not disagree. More often than not, it does take quite a bit of convincing to get me in the water, especially if I’m feeling a little run down. But I always come out the sea feeling fresh, awake and full of adrenalin. The best natural pain-killer!

IMG_3371Swimming proof!

 IMG_3373With new toys to be tested, and old toys to be used – we paddled round Kishorn Bay. Three kayaks, two paddle boards and a rowing boat (not pictured).

IMG_3370IMG_3210My birthday present shamefully getting used for the first time. I cannot recommend an inflatable SUP board more; Callum got this blue SUP (in my favourite colour) from Two Bare Feet for my birthday in October. I have always been keen to try SUP boarding, and I was also convinced I wanted a solid board that I could strap to the roof of my car. But I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision to get an inflatable – it performs as well as a solid board once inflated and is a million times easier for transportation.

IMG_3321New year, new wetsuit, same me?
New years day, we took the SUPboards (Ewan bought one as well, so thankfully there will be no soloSUPing) to Loch Lomond for a hangover cure paddle. I also got to try out my new super luminous Hurley wetty, which did a great job after I fell in attempting some SUPyoga. IMG_3384IMG_3357Hurley wetsuit from Surfdome

Thanks for reading, and if anyone fancies some SUP adventures let me know!

R x

Bothy Culture

First Bothy adventure of the year - UAGS

Unless approached by sea, Uags Bothy is at the end of an extremely boggy scramble from Toscaig (south of Applecross). We (Callum, Ewan and I) did plan to paddle there in sea kayaks – launching from my mums front garden in Kishorn and exploring the coast line until we reached Uags. Typically the weather came in, and the wind would’ve made it impossible for my wee arms to manage the 10 mile paddle – Ewan and Callum would’ve been fine, but they kindly joined me for the walk instead!

GKLM9088IMG_4639

We left Kishorn in Ewan’s new van, excitedly arriving at Toscaig at 4pm – we expected to be over the hill and at the bothy for sunset.. which we almost made; if only the path didn’t keep disappearing from under our feet!

IMG_4642IMG_3966

Arriving at Uags, we saw the very last of the sun dip behind the Cuillin mountains on Skye – which the bothy looks straight out to. January adventure meant darkness at 5pm, so we set up camp inside the Bothy and began prepping dinner – steak, rocket, peppers, broccoli, camembert cheese? Possibly THE poshest bothy dinner ever, but so delicious! The rest of the evening was spent huddled round the small fireplace, listening to the flames crackle, we chatted and told stories – and once the Jura was finished we hunkered down for sleep.

IMG_4645IMG_4646IMG_4647IMG_4648

I can’t say it was the best sleep I’ve ever had; Callum convinced me the Bothy was ghost infested and the creaking of the building warming up with our presence totally spooked me… I think i’ll sleep in a tent next time! In the morning Ewan went beach scavenging for fire wood (to restock what we had used the night before) as Callum and I swept, and tidied up the inside of the Bothy.

IMG_4649IMG_4643

We walked back to Toscaig – following the correct path this time, and headed home for a bowl of mums soup! Great adventure with the best people!

IMG_4651

Bothy Etiquette
  • Leave the Bothy in as good (if not better) condition as you found it
  • Take ALL rubbish home
  • Don’t leave food – this encourage mice and other hungry rodents
  • Double check all the windows and doors are closed tight before leaving
  • Bring some extras to leave behind – maybe a lighter, some candles, fire lighters etc
  • Collect fire wood for the next visitor – and stack indoors to allow it to dry – but don’t cut live wood!
  • Respect and welcome other people visiting the Bothy at the same time as you!
Kit List
  • Roll mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torch
  • Candles + matches/lighter
  • Firewood + firelighters
  • Pan + spork + sharp knife
  • Bin bag
  • Hip flak/whole bottle
  • FOOD + water
  • Waterproofs + boots + socks (with spares) + LOTS more warm stuff
  • MAP!

IMG_4640

Thanks for reading!

R x