The Auchenstary Aspirants

I’ve been tagged by Lynne to tell you seven things.  I’m not sure there’s much you don’t know about me, as I’ve already dumped a large proportion of my life into these blog pages.  However, prompted by some old photographs I came across the other day, here goes (and apologies if you’re heard most of this already):

1  The first alcohol I ever drank was Red Stripe beer. It was in Daphne’s bar, a roadside shack with reggae blaring out, somewhere by the road between Cow Bay and Kingston on the Jamaican south coast.  We used to dive at Cow Bay every Saturday morning and stop on the way home at Daphne’s for escoveitched fish, sourdough bread and ice cold Red Stripe beer.

2  I was the 2nd woman to land on Rockall – by 5 minutes.  The first woman went on Woman’s Hour to talk about it!   But GPD and I are pretty sure we were the first people to dive with sharks at Rockall.

3  I did the Nevis River race in 1979 or 80, with a crazy bunch of mountaineering friends.  We had to hurl ourselves into a raging torrent clutching a lilo,  shoot the rapids and jump over the waterfall at Polldubh.  Exhilarating!  Stupid. Our team was called “What we call the Auchenstary Aspirants”.  It was a very in joke that I didn’t entirely understand at the time, never mind now. I believe it makes reference to a climb that none of us had managed to do for one reason or another.  I had no intention of ever doing it; I preferred jumping over waterfalls. 

4  It was round about that time that I dived in Pingvellir, a cleft in Iceland that lies along the junction of two tectonic plates.   The water was so clear that from 30m down you could see the faces of people leaning over the bridge that spans it.  I was reminded about this when it featured on Ian Stewart’s BBC series.

5  On that same trip we dived north of the Arctic Circle on the little island of Grimsey and also dived in the caldera lake at Askja, an active volcano, and then swam in the smaller Viti, a sulphurous pool.  It was my last significant diving in a wet suit; I made my first drysuit when I got home.

6  My dad was a Tax Inspector and when he married my mother in Belfast, her father refused to go to the wedding on account of it.  I only found this out recently when my sister put some photos on Facebook!

7  I cried my way through my Grade 3 piano exam and refused to take any more music exams after that.  Somehow I passed.  Even at that age I’d have preferred jumping off a waterfall to doing a piano exam.

I’m supposed to tag 7 people – I’ll have to think about that and come back to it.

But I could start with Stewart and Bill


8 thoughts on “The Auchenstary Aspirants

  1. Potty Mummy, you’re quite wrong. I may have been hard core once upon a time. I’m now old and sensible. And excuse me but how could you not enjoy diving in the Caribbean?!

    Iota, I think it makes me feel nervous. I’d quite forgotten about that little excursion until I came across those photos. I really don’t remember that jump being as far as it looked.

    Iceland was most definitely cold, Mud. Time you learned to dive (maybe you already do?) so that you can fit in dips on your travels around the world.

  2. I think he went to the wedding but wouldnt walk her down the isle neither would her brothers because he was a tax inspector, not because he was english

  3. Pingback: » Black and white in colour guineapigmum

  4. yes he went to the wedding, photos to prove it, but she did walk down the aisle on her own as both her brothers also declined the honour. Denied by their widows.

Comments are closed.