Tuesday, 22 December 2015

6. Watch a rugby match in New Zealand

Out of all the challenges on this list I knew that this one was going to be tough. With less than 12 months to go until my 30th birthday I knew I would not make it to New Zealand however when I heard New Zealand were playing Tonga at St James Park for one of their group matches for the 2015 Rugby World Cup I knew I had to try and get a ticket. Not only would it be an awesome experience to be part of the World Cup but in my opinion it would act as a worthy substitute  for not travelling over to New Zealand before my 30th (and there is no doubt in my mind that I will get to New Zealand at some point in the future).

I didn’t fancy going to the match alone so I bought a ticket for my dad as a birthday gift because even though he doesn’t like the All Blacks it was the opportunity to watch some world class players and I had a suspicion that the All Blacks would end up winning the whole competition. The week before this match St James Park played host to its first world cup match between Scotland and South Africa and the city was electric. The local news reported that 200,000 fans had descended on the city to be part of the event and when I was watching the match in the fanzone at Science City there was a lot of love for both teams in the atmosphere which just made me more excited to watch the New Zealand v Tonga match.  The highlight of being in the fanzone was watching the grown men attempt to play rugby after far too many beers and a man in salmon pink trousers being tackled and splitting them right in the crotch!

Getting to match day and there are only 2 words to describe it. Frickin awesome!!

The atmosphere was awesome.

The haka was really awesome.

The Tongans bringing it to the All Blacks was awesome. 

Richie McCaw as water boy was awesome.

The seats were ridiculous (Me and dad even had a fleeting appearance on the telly).

Witnessing Ma’a Nonu scoring a try and achieving his 100th cap was awesome (apparently if you are from the South Sea Islands then you get tinsel as a symbol).

All in all I think this has to be one of the best experiences on the list thus far!

30. Complete my Woobadge training

Unfortunately this has not happened and will not be happening before I’m 30 (if ever).

In January 2015 I came to the tough decision that I would leave my leadership role within the Scout Association at the end of the Spring term in March and would therefore not complete my Woodbadge. I think I stepped into the role without knowing to the full extent what was expected of me and how much of my time and energy I would have to commit to this voluntary position. Without a doubt I gained valuable experience in leadership, organisation and the opportunity to try new things but I decided that I wasn’t getting out of it what I was putting into it which wasn’t fair on me or the young people in the scout group.

Among my highlights were taking the troop climbing and seeing the determination on their faces, raising money through a cake sale for mynoma cancer charity and seeing them achieve badges when they didn’t even realise they were working towards one. The young people were great (if not trying at times) and it was extremely rewarding getting the opportunity to know them and see them progress through the section.  Don’t let this deter you from volunteering with a uniformed group because in all sections there lacks adult helpers however don’t run before you can walk. I would suggest if you are interested in helping out then have a trial for a month or so to get a feel of what it is like to assist running a group and don’t feel pressured into a role unless you’re comfortable with it. Never say never but for the moment this is the end of my scouting journey (and for the record Bear Grylls makes it look a lot more glamorous that it actually is…) 


18. Learn to play Poker

This is just a short post because to get the full effect of my newly learnt gambling skillz you need to come round for a poker night. For this challenge I called upon my friends Brian Kerrigan and David Gray for a lesson in poker. I wasn’t the only amateur round the table so didn’t feel too pressured. Apparently the success with poker all lies in your ability to bluff and not give away if you have good or bad cards oh and try and remember the winning hands. I didn’t win but I gave the seasoned pros a run for their money so a rematch is definitely in order…


8. Visit Loch Ness and hunt for Nessie

It has been over a year since my last post. I haven’t got any excuses I’ve just been lazy oh and I’ve taken on a mortgage and bought a house. Back in August 2014 after I conquered Ben Nevis and slept in a castle we took a detour on the way home to Loch Ness to hunt for Nessie.

We went in The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition which opened over 30 years ago. Today a hi-tech multi-media presentation leads you through 7 themed areas and 500 million years of history, natural mystery and legend revealing the unique environment of Loch Ness and the famous Nessie legend ...Using a mix of lasers, digital projection and special effects the Exhibition charts the history of the monster by exploring Scotland's geological past, its folklore and the various research projects carried out on the loch. It also reveals the discoveries of some of that research including the environmental fingerprints left in the loch's sediment layers by both nature and mankind.

It was a beautiful day so after the visitor centre we went for a walk round part of the lake and I even packed my binoculars to stand a better chance of spotting the legendary creature. Here are some fun snaps from the adventure:

In the end we didn’t spot him however I did bring a wee souvenir home to remind me of the trip. If you haven’t been to this beautiful part of the world then I would definitely recommend it but we did have the weather on our side!