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Coast-to-Coast for End Polio Now

4 May

[UPDATED 30 June 2011, 4:58 PM]

I am now three days away from leaving on my coast-to-coast hike across Scotland to raise money for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign! On Sunday, I will set forth from the town of Montrose on Scotland’s east coast, and will arrive at the Atlantic Ocean two weeks later at the Knoydart peninsula, one of the British mainland’s most westerly points. My 200-mile route passes through some of Scotland’s most rigorous terrain, including a summit of Ben Nevis, the highest point of the British Isles! I have been very busy the past few days making last minute preparations, checking my maps, and packing my gear. I can’t wait to get out on the trail and see Scotland the best way I know how—one step at a time.

So far I have raised about $1,000 for End Polio Now, and my goal is to reach $3,000 before I return to the US in September (roughly equivalent to $15 per mile walked). If you are interested in making a donation, please follow this link to my CrowdRise.com donation website and click on the big orange button that says “DONATE.” It’s easy, safe, and for an excellent cause. All donations go directly to the End Polio Now campaign.

For the latest updates on my hike, follow me on Twitter. I’ll be trying to post something every day while I am out on the trail, so check back frequently!

—Robert

[Original post follows below]

So…it’s been a while since I’ve posted, about six months or so I think. As you have probably noticed, I have been more interested in photography than writing as of late. That being said, I am planning something exciting for this summer that I thought I should bring to your attention.

But before I get there, a brief answer to “How’s Scotland been recently?” It’s been quite lovely actually. The weather has been fantastic for the past few weeks, full of long sunny days and blue sky. I finished my semester over a month ago and am getting ready for final exams. I also went back to Texas for a few weeks in there, which was really nice. I’ve been making lots of friends with other students in my program, who are from all over the world. So I am here for the summer, working on my dissertation and then coming back to the states in the fall. Okay, that’s enough of that, let’s get to the exciting bit.

I am going to walk across Scotland, from the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea. It’s roughly a 200 mile trek, should take about two weeks. Oh, I’m going to use the hike to raise money for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, which I think is one of the most important charities in the world today. My goal is to raise £2,000/$3,000, or enough to vaccinate about 6,000 children against this devastating disease.

As many of you know, a few years ago I hiked from Maine to Georgia along the Appalachian Trail. Although this trip will be similar in many ways, it will have its own unique set of challenges. For instance, there is no single coast-to-coast trail in Scotland. Instead, I’ll make my way across the island by piecing together a variety of different paths, including deerstalking trails, range-rover tracks, old military roads, and good old-fashioned bushwhacking.

Right now I am in the planning phase of the trip. I’ve been working with my friend Michael Reader-Harris to chart my route (pictured above). Michael and I go to church together here in Glasgow and he’s pretty much an expert on hiking in Scotland (or ‘hillwalking’ as the locals say)—he is only a few summits away from having climbed all of Scotland’s 283 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet tall). As of now, my route will take me through some of Scotland’s wildest regions and will include summitting Ben Nevis, the highest point in the British Isles. I’ll even swing by The Old Forge, which holds the record for the world’s most remote pub! Pretty cool!

So. That’s what’s new. I’ll keep you posted as things develop!

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Oh the weather outside is…

30 Nov

…delightful? Yes, I think that is the right word. There is snow. Everywhere. It’s been snowing off-and-on since Friday night, and it is really delightful. Here, see for yourself:

The Bell Tower With Snow:

Snow on Campus:

Snow in the West Quad:

Kelvingrove Museum:

In other news, I’m almost finished with the semester. In fact, I should be working on some final projects right now, but instead I am doing a much needed update to my blog. Things have been going swimmingly well here recently. I got to have not just one, but two Thanksgiving parties while I was here, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. They were really neat because a lot of my friends who are not American came, most of whom had never tasted pumpkin pie! I used Paula Dean’s the Secret Kent Family Pumpkin Pie Recipe. SPOILER ALERT: the secret ingredient is pumpkin. We even went around the table and said what we are all thankful for, which the New Zealanders thought was a bit silly but participated in anyways.

I had a stall at my church’s Christmas fair last weekend, trying to hawk some  of my photographs to unsuspecting strangers. I even surpassed my expectations and sold one! You can see it here. There was actually a lot of very complimentary interest in my work, just not many buyers. The Christmas craft fair circuit is probably not the best market for moody B&W prints of western Scotland, especially since my main competition at these fairs are things like this. That only leaves me with about $200 worth of unsold stock to get rid of before my return to the US next year. Did I mention that I ship internationally [suggestive clearing of the throat]? I think I will try to do a few more Christmas fairs here in Glasgow and see if I can sell a few more.

It is 4:11 PM as I am writing this sentence, and the sun is almost set. I am counting down the days (24, to be exact) until my family and my super-awesome-girlfriend arrive. They are all pretty much amazing, I love them all very much, and am pretty excited about seeing them. Not sure how to end this post, so I’m just going to end it…here.