Walking the Great Glen Way was another fantastic experience, spending five days in excellent company, enjoying the wonderful Scottish scenery and having so many laughs along the way. It was also an opportunity to raise money for two extremely worthwhile charities. The Paul Lawrie Foundation does so much for junior golf (and other sports) and the Beatson Centre in Glasgow, where Paul's friend and coach Adam Hunter was treated, is a most worthy cause where all the money donated will go to great use and help to save lives.
The walk itself was extremely enjoyable but was no walk in the park, and I have the blisters to prove it! The last two days were certainly the toughest in terms of difficulty, however the first few days were still pretty tough for other reasons. The blog is undoubtedly funnier during the walk as Paul can take the Mickey of his fellow walkers (particularly me) instead of moaning constantly about missing putts. Spare a thought for the five of us though as we had to listen to his greetin for days. Do you know yet that he putted poorly in the Open (apart from the day he had the least putts in the whole field of course)!
As well as moaning for Scotland about missing putts it should also be pointed out that Paul can sometimes be a tad impatient. Well to be frank he is as patient as Ian Poulter is modest and does for patience what Monty does for Weight Watchers. I think his tongue is firmly planted in his cheek when he says Patience is his middle name. In saying that nobody likes a laugh more, even at his own expense. And I can't think of any other top golfer heading to the Bridgestone Invitational this week that will have prepared by walking 79 miles for charity, it really is a fantastic effort!
As 'guest blogger' I would like to thank my fellow walkers for a great week and for a lot of real laughs. Thanks to Marian for organising absolutely everything, she is so well organised it's frightening. Thanks also to Brian and Audrey for the great craic and entertainment all week, brilliant company. Also I must admit to not doing too much for myself at times and relying a lot on my long-suffering wife, so thanks to Val for her patience. And thanks to 'Patience' and stick in at the Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA. Here's hoping the sore shoulder, back, side, hamstrings, shins and foot you moaned about all week don't give you too much trouble!
Day 5 from Drumnadrochit - Inverness
Alan was telling us about the opening ceremony at the Olympics and how James Bond (Daniel Craig) and the Queen played by an actress parachuted in from a helicopter then the real Queen walked out dressed the same. To which Audrey said they must have coordinated their outfits!!! Really Audrey you think!!! Lol.
We stopped at the weirdest cafe I've ever seen but the soup and coffee was good our soup was served in the pan and the couple were let's say a bit different There was a fair breeze blowing this afternoon especially after the soup with Mrs L and Brian the biggest culprits!!!
Today was pretty tough again today especially the start which was uphill for several miles.
Huge thanks to the Morrisons and the Reids for again coming with Marian and I on the walk.
Best accommodation.. Glenmoriston Arms Hotel
Most improved drinker.... Me
Best pint..... Eagle barge
Best dinner.... Old Pines Hotel
Best lunch......Lock Inn Fort Augustus
Best day..... Day 2
Hardest day....Day 4
Fastest blister .... Alan
Best dram.....Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
It has been a good laugh again and very enjoyable. Thanks to everyone who has donated it is very much appreciated and for those who haven't donated yet its not to late as our just giving page will remain open for a while. Look out for our guest blogger tomorrow. (Compeed man)
Day4 From Invermoriston - Drumnadrochit 14.5 miles (aye right)
We stayed at the Glenmoriston Arms Hotel last night which was very good.
This morning was pretty tough with some steep climbs for at least 8 miles and overall was the hardest day so far.
Audrey's backpack has been squeaking so she asked Brian to have a look at it last night after we arrived. After some investigation he asked Audrey if she had any silicone spray with her.... "Aye cos I carry that where ever I go" came the reply .....
We bumped into a couple yesterday who are walking from Lands End to John o Groats for their honeymoon. They set off on 12th May and should be finished in two weeks. They are camping all the way so last night we offered to pay for a room in the hotel, which they were really chuffed about as it was only their 6th night indoors since they started.
The daily update on Alan's blisters is that he now has 4!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
If today's walk was 14 miles then my name is Callum Montgomerie. Mm mm mm
Day 3 from Laggan - Invermoriston 18 miles
When we arrived at last nights b&b the woman asked us if we had any ticks to which we answered "no".... Had she asked us this morning I'm not so sure the answer would have been the same. I'm nae saying the house was dirty but we bumped into Kim and Aggie on our way out !!!!!
We stopped for a coffee and a scone at Aberchalder, which was very nice then had lunch at Fort Augustus which was pretty busy. During lunch Audrey came out with a cracker...... when Val was telling us she lost her tortoise here as a little girl to which Audrey said "did it run away" (Audrey was doing so well this year up till then) Hope you all enjoy the pic update of Alan's blister as I know a lot of you are concerned for him!!!
Today was a lot tougher as there were some hills but the scenery was spectacular.
Day 2 from Gairlochy to Laggan. 15.5 miles
Last nights hotel the Old Pines was fantastic from the coffee and scones on arrival to the great food at night.
First thing Brian said to Audrey this morning was... Jesus you look rough.
Alan was at it again this morning its incredible how little he does for himself but he was funny when he said to Val "We are a team, I tell you and you do it." (Brilliant)
We stopped at the Eagle Barge pub for a pint of Red Mcgregor which slipped down so well we had another. (Half pint Lawrie my ass)
Audrey asked Brian to massage her shoulders (I assume she was imagining Abdul)
Today was a little longer and tougher than yesterday but still really good even though there were more midgies today. Single beds tonight what a result ...........
Great Glen Way Walk 2012
Day 1 from Fort William to Gairlochy 10.5 miles
Huge thanks to Eddie Morrison for giving us all a lift up to Fort William last night where we stayed at the Alexandria hotel. Like last year there are 6 of us walking this year.... Alan and Val Reid. Brian and Audrey Morrison and Marian and myself
Old precious didn't take long to get into his stride as this morning he shouted to Val while he was showering for her to come and help him as the shower curtain was touching him......(God forbid eh)
We set off at 10am and at 10. 07 Brian sold his first car www.morrisonmotors.co.uk Some boy our Brian
Today was only 10.5 miles but Alan managed to get a blister. (Half roads to breakfast I think ).
We are staying at the Old Pines hotel tonight, which is very nice and we're just sitting tucking into coffee and scones with jam and cream. Tough life this fundraising lark!!!!
Another poor day on the greens meant it was 72 today to finish +4 for the tournament which is ridiculous considering how I have hit it this week but that's golf I guess. Home tonight to find a new putter........
We start our sponsored walk on tuesday morning which should be good fun.
Without a question of a doubt today is the worst I have ever putted in a tournament which is a pity as I hit it really good today and could easily have shot under par but I finished with 76 which included 40 putts. For some reason I miss judged the speed all day on the greens and holed out very poorly. Never mind its head down tomorrow and shoot the best we can.
Played good the front nine to be out in -1 but made double bogeys at 10 and 12 with a birdie at the 11th in between. I finished with 71 to be four under overall and still in a good position but now 6 behind as Snedeker has shot 66 and 64 which is very good round here this week but there's a long way to go. I have had tremendous support both days which is much appreciated.
It was a great start to The Open this morning I shot 65 -5 including two chip ins. There was little or no wind which was unexpected but nice. I struggled a wee bit at the start but short game was awesome then hit some really nice shots coming in even with no wind the course is still pretty tough so it was a good effort. Back to the room now to watch the coverage on BBC.
I teed off at 7.30am this morning and played the first 3 holes then crossed over and played the last 5. There was more wind today but at least it was dry. I spent some time on the short game area and hit some balls on the range mainly working on rhythm. After lunch I putted for a while which is feeling a bit better.
Marian and I flew to Manchester this morning with flybe for this weeks Open Championship at Lytham St Annes. After some lunch and practise I teed off at 1pm with Ritchie Ramsay, Joost Luiten and Richard Sterne. The course is in fantastic condition and is a great layout with some very well placed bunkers and some very tough rough in places. We had a few heavy showers on the way round which is apparently the forecast for most of the week.
I played at Royal Aberdeen today with Craig and his pal Jamie Pryde, the boys were playing in the junior medal. We had some horrendous showers but managed to play through it. The course was tough with loads of rough but in awesome condiltion and the new 15th green looks like its been there for years and is now a much better hole. The roads were badly flooded on the way home especially in Cults where there was a foot of water on the main road. Congratulations to Jeev on winning the Scottish Open today, he's a good lad who loves a whisky or two. Marc Warren will be gutted but its nice to see him back up there where he belongs.
I played much better today but still putted awful to shoot 69 to finish on -2, which will likely miss the cut by 2 shots. I hit every fairway today and only missed a couple of greens but 33 putts makes it impossible to compete. For some reason this week I have been up and out of my putts so I have missed a lot to the right. So I will spend a bit of time working on that this weekend.
Congratulations to Iain our Foundation manager and his wife Jilly who gave birth to a baby girl this morning.............Lois Catherine Powell, weighing 8lbs 7ozs
It was a day to forget today shooting 73 +1 which is a very poor effort round there. I started well by making birdies at the first two holes but unfortunately I struggled with ball striking and putting all day.
We got some great news this morning when Davy my caddie text to say his wife Liz had given birth to a baby girl Emma Louise Kenny was born at 10.43am and weighed 8lbs 12oz. (Ouch). That's why my son Craig is on the bag this week as Davy has this week off. We will need to go low tomorrow to have any chance of making it to the weekend.
I had some press and tv stuff to do in the morning then a picture with Martin Laird, Luke Donald, Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen and members of the Royal British Legion pipe band just before the 1.15pm shotgun pro am.
The course is as you would think a little wet but in very good nick they have added some length with new tees and there is a little more rough so course should play a bit tougher than last year.
I was suppose to be flying to the opening of the Trump course this morning at 8am in a helicopter from Skibo but the forecast was bad so I was told to call the pilot first thing in case and sure enough the weather was to poor to fly so I had to cancel from the opening which is a real pity as I was looking forward to being there but this week is to important to be driving up and down the lovely A96. I wish everyone at Trump International Links all the best with the course but they have nothing to worry about as the place is magnificent.
We headed to Castle Stuart where I hit some balls (in the rain) and worked on pitching and putting for a while. We are staying at Kings Mill this week which is very nice.
We had 13 teams playing at Skibo Castle today in our foundation pro am. The whole day went very well my thanks to all the teams and pros for playing. The course was in magnificent condition and everyone was raving about it. We had the tee video guys film the day and the video was played at night which was very funny. Myself, Sam Torrance and Craig Levein did a q&a with Craig taking it in the neck a bit for Scottish football but he handled it well top bloke.
It is our foundation pro am tomorrow at Skibo castle where we have 13 teams playing 18 holes then dinner at the castle and overnight stay so we packed up the car and headed up this afternoon. This morning I played 9 holes at Deeside with Craig and Michael then had lunch in the clubhouse. We managed to get up in time to watch a bit of the Wimbledon final where Federer was just to good for Andy Murray but it has been a great effort by him as there is so much expectation on him.
Michael teed off at 12.20 today, so we hung around the hotel for a while and then headed up to the course. Michael shot 80 again but had 41 putts so hit it really good but had a day to forget on the greens. It was again very wet but the course held up well considering the amount of rain that fell. We headed straight up the road with a stop for something to eat.
It pretty much rained all day and while Michael was on the 13th green the hooter went to stop play as the greens were flooded. Play resumed after some hard work by the greenkeepers. Michael shot 80 +10, which he was disappointed with but conditions were tough and he had an 8 at the second so overall not a disaster. We popped over to Loch Lomond in the afternoon to hit some balls in between the showers.
I spent most of the day at the PLGC, which included fiming with "We Film Golf" for our new website. Craig, Michael and I also played the course, which is looking great. Michael and I then drove down to Drymen to stay as he is playing in the Scottish Under 14s this week at Buchanan Castle.
What a difference a day makes and a better attitude!! I hit it really good to shoot 66 -6 to finish -5 for the week. Yesterday my attitude was poor, which is unlike me in poor weather but today was spot on. It was raining again for most of the front nine but quite nice on the back nine. As I left the course just now it was nice and sunny so the later starters are getting the best of the day, which is fine as they've earned that by playing better. This week has been really good, very well organised and on a fantastic golf course. We had incredible crowds and all the players have loved it. I hope it goes back there soon. I'm home tonight to watch the Euro 2012 final.