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April 2, 2007

Rotary Club of Stirling

For the last few years, I've been proud to be a member of the Rotary Club of Stirling. Founded in 1905, Rotary International has over 1.2 million members worldwide, in 168 countries. In theory, I can visit any of these and would be made welcome. In the Great Britain & Ireland alone there are over 1845 local clubs, with an average membership of 30+.

Rotary Foundation does amazing good works - it's the world's largest charity, instrumental in eradicating polio in 122 countries. But it's Rotary activity at local level that I find so engaging. Being self-employed, and working in the countryside, I was finding it easy to become isolated from my local community. Nowadays, whenever I'm not travelling, I go along each Friday lunchtime and enjoy fellowship and a wonderfully diverse set of talks. The formula suits me well: lunch, followed by a 20-minute talk, all finished by 2pm sharp.

The latest talk was from Ian Richardson, about Bhutan, Buddhism and the monarchy, and was supported by fine photographs. Since I am about to leave for Nepal, just to its west, I found that very topical. Last week's was from Peter Philips, about single-handed sailing, from Joshua Slocum to Francis Chichester to Peter's own race to the Azores and back. And the previous one was by John Rankin, a Stirling GP, talking about his "other job" as a police surgeon: fascinating! It'll be six weeks before I can get back to Rotary and I shall really miss the traditional values, the fellowship and the encouragement.

July 7, 2009

Rotarians walk the West Highland Way

Last Sunday was the day of our Rotary Club's sponsored walk of the West Highland Way. President Alan Skilling had organised it to raise funds for the Craighalbert Centre in Cumbernauld which does conductive education with children with profound conditions such as cerebral palsy. It looks like we'll have raised over £2000, but I'll update this with the final figure once we know. The date was fixed long ago, independently of men's finals day at Wimbledon. However, by leaving Landrick very early, our team completed the driving/car-dropping, hiking 12 miles from Tyndrum to Inverarnan and retrieving the car from Tyndrum, and still got home in time to watch most of that wonderful match. My heart really warmed to Andy Roddick in his protracted and gutsy challenge to Federer. His post-match comments were a model of generosity and restraint, and I do hope his turn comes soon.

Anyway, our team comprised three people and two dogs: neighbours Malcolm and Calum Johnson with their dog Laochan, plus me and Bramble. Here they are, in the woods west of Crianlarich, with Bramble waiting for me to catch up:

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Here's the view from our early lunch stop, with Ben More, Stob Binnein and Cruach Ardrain in the distance:

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And once Laochan discovered the River Falloch, even Bramble (a non-swimming labrador) was tempted to join in:

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Walking from north to south, against the flow, means you meet more people. One group of hikers included a woman from Ontario who recognised me from the long profile in Scots magazine that by chance she'd read the night before. Her companion promptly asked me to autograph her copy of my guidebook. I was thrilled to see it was open at the page, and slightly dog-eared from heavy use. They seemed pleased with this chance encounter, but it was their reaction that made my day!

May 20, 2011

The Rob Roy Way and Rotary Club of Stirling

Last Sunday, I organised a sponsored walk on the Rob Roy Way which was well supported by members and supporters of the Rotary Club of Stirling. We covered the 79-mile route in sections, and all completed their sections in good time and in good spirits.

We can't compete with the massive fund-raising achieved by the imminent Rob Roy Challenge, but we have raised a total of over £2350 for our two charities: End Polio Now and Riding for the Disabled. Considering we are a small club of fairly high average age, I think that is a creditable effort. What's more, we had a great day out, not much rain and a friendly meal at Stirling Golf Club that evening:

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