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Poles apart – two great weekends

Written by Fiona April 26 2009

One weekend I’m ploughing through leg-slashing heather, knee-deep peat bogs and algae-swollen burns during my first ever mountain marathon on a remote mountainous plateau near Inverness, the next weekend I’m learning more than I ever could have imagined about sparkly eye shadow and bra fittings on a girls-only outing to Glasgow’s finest shops.

While both weekends are poles apart in terms of substance and aims, they both included a huge amount of heart-warming friendliness.

The Highlander Mountain Marathon, sponsored by Dare 2b, was a first-of-a-kind adventure by myself and Mr Outdoors. We joined another 90 or so teams of two for the tough weekend event, which required us to navigate many, many miles and up and down numerous mountains in search of dozens of checkpoints. We also had to carry all our food, drink, camping equipment and emergency kit for two days of roughing it in the wilderness estates of Glen Strathfarrar.

While some competitors pulled off Bambi-like speeds bounding across the unforgiving heather and deep boggy landscape, Mr Outdoors and I stuck to a pace that mostly resembled dogged determination. This difference in ability showed clearly in the final results, with the winning pair in our “C” class coming home some 3.5 hours ahead of us! Still, we’ve been assured that just finishing the “C” class is something of an achievement. In my opinion, the fact that we were still happily married after completing such a testing event says a whole lot more about our teamwork!

What was also rather amazing was the enthusiasm that some competitors had for ceilidh dancing. One of the unique selling points of the Highlander is the ceilidh dance at the overnight camp spot. While most people were nursing arching legs and tired brains after the first day’s exertions, many were still up for a few Gay Gordons and Dashing White Sergeants – before crashing out in tiny, tiny tents at 10pm.

The Highlander proved to be a truly unique event that was much tougher, much friendlier and much more all-inclusive than I ever expected.

So then to this Saturday and a totally different event: The Girls Go Shopping For Pretty Things Adventure. Mr Outdoors was sure that an afternoon of shopping in Glasgow with eight women would be as arduous as the Highlander – and I confess I couldn’t actually disagree. But in the event, the shopping was laid back – and a huge amount of fun.

The focus of much of the retailing was my tri pal Jo PM’s almost-here-and-gosh-I’m-so-excited wedding and among other purchases were a gorgeous green and shiny dress, a pair of snazzy loved-up sunglasses, glittery nail varnish plus lots and lots of sparkly make-up.

I even treated to myself to some girlsome accessories including my own sparkly eye liner, a pink glittery eye shadow, a shimmery woven wrap and the kind of underwear that I’d would normally dismiss as an outrageous waste of money.

Perhaps next year I should do The Highlander while wearing some full-on sparkly make-up!

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