Thursday, 12 June 2008


Location: kirkcaldy
Crag: Ravenscraig
Climbing Type: Bouldering
Climbers: Me, Tom and Barnes
Date: 08/06/08

We went to Ravenscraig for a short session and BBQ at the weekend to clear the heads and to test drive Tom's new bouldering mat. Anyway nothing to exciting happened except we found a sweet dyno to play on (Dynosaur V4 6B(Morpho)). All round good day and tom got some pretty good pics.

Tom, Barnes and Fraser

Barnes going for the dyno

Me going for the dyno

Me again

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

MEng Road Trip 2008

Location: Machrihanish, South West of Scotland
Distance: 470 ish miles

Well 5 years of blood, sweat, tears, stress, beers and hovercraft came to an end last week and 7 of us escaped to the country to clear the head and to escape computers. Nobody actually believed that we could or would organise a holiday away as we find it hard enough organising a night out.

It started out as a trip up the west coast from the Mull of Kintyre to Sandwood Bay at the very north west tip of Scotland. With two car loads with enough outdoor toys to keep a relatively large campsite happy for months, we departed HW on monday heading for Balloch to rendezvous with Mr Higgins. With Tom's "insert nickname" Ford Maverick, Alans Rave 4 and Ross's "dont scratch it" Toyota Avensis space was plentiful and we all (I think) enjoyed a relatively comfortable and easy drive to Machrihanish which was to be the first stop on the trip. The only excitment was when we past Ross with his tool kit out and the bonnet up. It later turned out Greig wanted the air filter out of the engine to make it "sound better".

The weather gods were with us and we arrived at the 4 star campsite with the sun out. The only downside was the wind but considering were we where it was no big deal. As you do first port of call was the beach. Andy had packed his kites so we headed for a play. After a slight detour across the majority of the Machrihanish golf course we arrived at the beach. Paddling was order of the day while andy got the kite together and Greig the man he is went for a very very brief dunk in the sea while we watched on. To cut a mid length story short we all are now hooked on kiting even though i did continually get dragged down the beach.

After a gourmet BBQ cooked by Barnes we watched the mighty Holland destroy the Italians in the football which finished off a cracking first day of the trip.

Day 2 was initially going to be surfing day but after rubbish looking surf we decided to go for a wander. Campbeltown was first on the list for some food and a look at some boats (wild i know). After staring at the cool lifeboat in the harbour a guy came out and took us on board for a tour. We saw the full shooting match including the biggest turbos i have seen (geeky yup). After the big boat we were shown the small inflatable which can hit the same speed as the big one and was pretty cool. Anyway big thanks to the guy for showing us about. After campbeltown we headed round the penisula for the light house. On route we saw some grey seals who were chilling out about 20ft from us and didnt seem to bothered. We eventually made it to the light house after a trek and a half across the back roads and on the way back stopped at the Keil caves, st columba's footprints, a well and a co-op for more food. For the evenings entertainment we hoped to find a nice sheltered spot for some fishing and the BBQ. This turned into the complete opposite of storm chasers. The weather began to close in and the wind picked up so we high tailed it across the peninsula in the hope of catching a break.

After a long drive up the east coast we found a 600bc fort and pitched up there for the evening ( not sure if I should give the exact location). In possibly the coolest BBQ spot ever we had a great laugh included getting soaked by the rain which caught us up. Tom taught us the dark art of crab fishing and we found out that most of us are big girls when it comes to holding sea creatures. We turned out hand to fishing and I am going to claim the award for getting closest to catching an actually real life fish.

We returned to the campsite to a beautiful sunset over the beach so we grabbed the Tennents (it was cheap) and the kite and fired down to end the night on the beach. Even though it was ballock freezin it was a class night. It also turns out I am better with the kites on a practice fairway in skate shoes. You can slide all over the place. I will also point out that we encountered possibly some of the craziest people in a long time. Its 10/11 at night with a howling winding and 2 surfers turn up and start surfing. Now if the surf was huge and worth it I could understand but it wasnt, it was crap. Just plan crazy.
It was decided due to bad weather forecasts to return to edinburgh the next day so that we could end the trip on a high. On the way home we paid a visit to the monstrosity that is the loch lomond visitors centre/shopping centre thing. After a couple of photos and like my 10th burger in 4 days we split and headed home.

I think the stand out quote from the trip came from Alan during the drinking, I mean kiting, session on the beach. Tom was on the kite and Alan said "if you ignore the kite it looks like a Jamiroquai video". Genius.

Thanks for the memories guys. I think it was a very fitting end to 5 years of "dossing".


Saturday, 7 June 2008

Man Powered Hovercraft

28 weeks ago I walked into my first class of my 5th and final year at Heriot-Watt uni were I have been studying for my masters degree in mechanical engineering. This class happened to be for our group project were we get put into groups of 5, get given £1000 and a project brief. The lecturers began reading out the project titles. The first group got given a powered hovercraft project, the second group got give a water jet powered hydrofoil and with bated breath we waited for ours . . . "group 3, we would like you to build a man powered hovercraft. We dont actually know if this is possible but give it a go anyway" or words to that effect. We left the room a bit dumfounded but after a bit of google action it turned out that a number of relatively successful attempts had been made although they had taken more than the 28 weeks that we had.
To cut a 28 week story short we were successful. We actually managed to build one that works nearly exactly as designed to which some people might think is strange for me to say but considering we have never really been given something like this to do before were we had complete control we are pretty proud of ourself. Its probably easier just to stick some photos up for people to look at.

I could sit here and type the spec of it out but that would probably just bore people so on the off chance anyone is interested drop me an email and I will try and answer any questions.