(This is my second post today. Don't miss my post for May 2nd below this.)
One of the main reasons I came to Inveraray, was to try out the Scottish Tourism Board "4 Star" rated activity centre, Argyll Adventures. Argyll Adventures offers five activities, including a 7 metre climbing wall (not that tall, really), a paintball range, laser tag, bungee trampoline jumping, and the activity I was most interested in, horse riding tours.
Never haven ridden a horse before, I thought I'd sign up for the two hour beginner class (I'll try the Tevis Cup next time). My horse for this first sunny afternoon since my arrival in Scotland's ride was Louis.
After a quick ride around the training ring to get the hang of the controls, we headed off on a rather slow walk through the country side, culminating in a fantastic walk along the beach.
(Here we are descending a steep hill. It's a good thing that I always pick the best times to take my hands off the wheel/reins when capturing these photographs.)
(The beautiful trail along Loch Fyne that brought us back to the stables. The 11 year-old girl in front of me taught me how to touch my toe and my horses ear whilst riding; harder than it sounds.)
I've always loved horses, and was certain I would get on sportingly with one should I have the opportunity to ride it. I wasn't wrong either, as the trainer said Louis usually falls way behind the group, and that I must have developed a rapport with him because that was not the case today. I'm going to train up so that I can go faster next time. I'll never win the Tevis Cup at the pace I went today.
(Me and Louis, bringing up the rear. I always get at least one Louis in each of my blogs.)
Some time during the ride our guide told me that the climbing wall had a route on it that had yet to be climbed by a visitor. With a challenge like that I immediately handed over an extra six pounds to give it a go.
The first three routes were a breeze, but the fourth and final route really was difficult. I'm certain, had the holds been cleaned, and I been able to use my climbing shoes and some chalk I would have made it to the top without much fuss, as it was though I couldn't seem to get past the last move. So, with my energy dwindling rapidly, I decided to pull out my secret weapon and climb with socked feet instead of my shoes. With my new ability to stick my big toe into some of the small pockets, I finally made the last move, which of course made up for my less than admirable performance at the fell race (because my result in a 150 person race, in the middle of nowhere, was common knowledge across Scotland).
Pride restored, I went home and celebrated by eating through an entire 326 gram jar of Doritos HOT salsa dip, with chili flavoured corn chips. Then I felt sick.