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    The doctor is in: Frances Ryan, PhD - Jul 6th, 2019
    It has been a long time coming, but I am finally a doctor. Oh yes, I am now officially Dr Frances Ryan. The PhD kind of doctor, not the medical kind – just so that there is no doubt. [more...]

    My thesis shoes - Jul 1st, 2019
    Regular readers will know that my PhD Dreams have been an important part of my life for a few years now. And excitedly, my PhD Dreams will come true this week when I walk across the stage at Usher Hall to accept my degree from Edinburgh Napier University. Of course, an important walk like that deserves a very special pair of shoes. In fact, an important walk like that deserves a pair of one-of-a-kind thesis shoes! [more...]

    Lovely Ljubljana - Jun 22nd, 2019
    I am back home from my trip to Slovenia and am longing for the lovely Ljubljana already! The weather was wonderful. The city was wonderful. The entire adventure was wonderful! [more...]

    With love from Ljubljana - Jun 19th, 2019
    I am in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the moment for an academic conference, and I am falling in love! Why? Because much like my visit (and subsequent love affair) with Zadar, Croatia, a couple of years ago, I have found myself drawn to the countless graffiti hearts littered around the city. [more...]

    The border of Berwick and grief - Apr 28th, 2019
    On my way home from visiting my late husband’s grave, I stopped off in Berwick-Upon-Tweed for some adventuring. I thought that it would be a good way to shake off the tears and to make a few happy memories for myself. [more...]

    Fife in ruins - Mar 31st, 2019
    I have enjoyed a lovely adventure day out to Fife with a friend today, which has left me both energised and exhausted all at once. But I do admit that I like the feeling of a well-earned exhaustion! [more...]

    A buried church - Feb 16th, 2019
    I enjoyed a quick mini-adventure to uncover treasures at a buried church today. Which probably sounds more mysterious an adventurous than the reality of the adventure! [more...]

    Another Rosslyn day out - Jan 27th, 2019
    One of the lovely things about living so near to the Rosslyn Chapel and the Roslin Glen is that I can explore them whenever I want. And as the weather is a bit too wet and windy for climbing in the even-nearer Pentland Hills, that is just what I did yesterday when my friend came to visit. [more...]

    A cross in the Pentlands - Dec 28th, 2018
    Tucked away in the Pentland Hills is a memorial to the Tytler family of Woodhouselee. It is so very near to my cottage, yet I have only just now learned of its existence. And so, today’s adventure was a short walk to visit the site. [more...]

    Climbing Castlelaw - Dec 26th, 2018
    For my Boxing Day adventure, I decided to revisit one of my favourite “quick” walks: Castlelaw Hill, in the Pentland Hills by way of the Castlelaw hill fort and souterrain. The walk is nice because I can knock it out in about two hours (including time to stop for photos) and it doesn’t kill my energy for the rest of the day. [more...]

    Rambling through Rullion Green - Dec 24th, 2018
    This afternoon I enjoyed a Christmas Eve walk into Pentland Hills to visit the Battle of Rullion Green memorial with my housemate. The weather was a bit colder than ideal, but at least the frozen ground provided a bit of stability as I made my way across the fields of frost-hardened mud and muck! [more...]

    All holidays must come to an end - Jun 19th, 2018
    And with that, my Homeland Holidays have come to an end. Yes, after two (and a bit) weeks in America, I am now back in Scotland; back to my reality. But I had a great holiday and created a lot of new memories to keep me going until my next visit. [more...]

    The spirit of wild horses - Jun 14th, 2018
    Today was another wonderful day of enjoying my Homeland Holiday. This time, it started out with a drive to Vantage to visit the Wild Horses Monument with my Daddy. Although, the monument is technically called “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies”. But as all of the public signage calls it Wild Horses, that’s the name it’s best known by. [more...]

    Best friends, forever! - Jun 13th, 2018
    A Homeland Holiday is never complete without a visit with my best friend. And that means a trip to Portland for some bestie time! [more...]

    A mid-holiday holiday - Jun 11th, 2018
    As part of my Homeland Holidays, I took a short city-break to meet up with a friend from my academic life. It feels a little odd to have taken this break, as I have only been in The Homeland for a week. But as we were both due to be in Washington State, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to catch up and talk shop. [more...]

    Climbing Manastash - Jun 6th, 2018
    This morning started a bit earlier than normal, as it was an adventure day with my Daddy and my Goddaughter, Virginia. The adventure? Climbing Manastash Ridge. [more...]

    Exploring Penicuik with Murphy - May 29th, 2018
    I spent the last few days in Penicuik dog sitting Murphy and exploring the local sites. Murphy is a nearly-2-year-old Golden Retriever. His people are my dear friend’s sister and her partner, which is how I got the gig. [more...]

    A sunny climb up Arthur’s Seat - Apr 21st, 2018
    Part of my plan to climb Arthur’s Seat (at least) once a month in 2018 is to explore different parts of the hill. So whilst I generally take the route past St Anthony’s Chapel on the north side of the hill, today I wandered around to the south side to make my ascent. I have taken the route before, but today was the first time I’ve taken the route on my own, with the luxury of enjoying the experience at my leisure. [more...]

    Crossing the causeway at Cramond - Mar 24th, 2018
    I spent today adventuring around Cramond and Cramond Island. I have wanted to explore the village and the island for some time now, but have never managed to make plans. So when I saw that the safe crossing times worked with my schedule, I decided to make the trip a reality! [more...]

    Walking around Caerketton - Feb 27th, 2018
    I took the weekend off from my PhD studies to re-focus my brain with some healthy fresh air. On Saturday, I did that by exploring St Anthony’s Chapel and climbing Arthur’s Seat. And yesterday, I climbed Caerketton Hill to further my weekend of self-caer. [more...]

    A wee pilgrimage to St Anthony’s Chapel - Feb 24th, 2018
    Today was another climb up Arthur’s Seat, as part of my goal to climb the hill at least once a month for the whole of 2018. It was also my first solo climb to the top and my first time exploring the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. [more...]

    The travelling girls - Jan 12th, 2018
    My lovely nieces, Virginia and Krystyne, returned to America last Friday after their first-ever international adventure—and I think I am just about recovered from the non-stop excitement of their visit. And so, it’s time I share some photographic evidence of their time here in Scotland (along with a wee recap of their visit). [more...]

    DC in a nutshell - Nov 7th, 2017
    I spent last week in Washington, DC for an academic conference. But as luck would have it, I was able to catch up with several friends whilst I was there, too. This post is about that week, in a nutshell. [more...]

    Exploring the past: Greenwood Cemetery - Sep 29th, 2017
    I spent a bit of time exploring the “old” Cle Elum cemetery when I was in the Homeland this summer. And in doing so (and talking about it with others on Facebook) I realised that not many people know about the place. So I’ve decided to share as much information as I can—with a hope that others will chime in to share any information they have. The abandoned graveyard, Greenwood Cemetery, was an active burial place for people in the Upper Kittitas County area from 1903 until 1923 when Laurel Hill Memorial Park became the main cemetery. When Greenwood closed, most of the inhabitants of the graves were moved to Laurel Hill. Most, but not all. [more...]

    Caching up with Parker and Haden - Aug 26th, 2017
    Holidays to the Homeland means time with my nieces and nephews. I treasure that time as it allows me to catch up with what everyone is doing—especially as they’re all growing up and starting to live their lives as adults. My catching up time with Parker and Haden was especially treasured, as I got to introduce both of them to geocaching. So in addition to catching up, we got to cache up! (I am so punny!) [more...]

    Caching up on the Old Highway - Aug 24th, 2017
    Before my trip to the Homeland, I checked out the local geocaches to see what new adventures I could enjoy. That’s when I found that there was a trail of 24 caches along the Old Highway that links Upper and Lower Counties. But as my holiday has progressed, I began to wonder if I would have time to enjoy the trail. [more...]

    Casting shadows as the sun disappears - Aug 21st, 2017
    Today was one of those “once in a lifetime” moments that I hope (and expect!) will happen more than once in my lifetime: A total eclipse of the sun! It’s something that happens fairly often in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not all too often that it happens at a time and place that allows me to enjoy the wonderment. Of course, if it weren’t for the fact that I am in my Homeland for a holiday, I would have missed this year’s Spectacular Event! [more...]

    A Sunday hike to Pete Lake - Aug 13th, 2017
    I always knew how lucky I was to grow up in the beauty of Upper Kittitas County. I loved that I could escape into the woods around town during the summer. I loved that I could relax in the quiet bliss of nature. I loved knowing that my backyard was the whole of the Cle Elum Ridge and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I loved that I could just hike in the great wilderness that surrounded me. Anywhere, anytime. [more...]

    Back to Blackness - Jul 22nd, 2017
    I was invited out for a mini-adventure with a friend and her kids. And as you know, I can rarely turn down an offer for an adventure! So, it was off to Blackness Castle we went. It was the first visit for my adventure partners, but I was going back to someplace I’ve been before. [more...]

    Falkirk for a fortnight - Jul 20th, 2017
    I have just returned home after two weeks in Falkirk where I was house sitting (whilst taking orders from the resident cat, Phoebe). It was a nice little break away from my typical routine and gave me the opportunity to “live alone” for a short time. It was also a great way to focus my brain on a grant proposal I’m working on. Importantly, it was also an opportunity to finally see a bit of Falkirk. [more...]

    A fairly fun weekend - Apr 24th, 2017
    I have been trying to get out for mini-adventures a bit more often and am pleased to say that I managed two of them this weekend! (Don’t worry: I also managed to get some of my thesis written along with some work on my non-thesis PhD tasks!) [more...]

    Caching around Rosshall Park - Apr 8th, 2017
    I’m in Glasgow for a much-needed writing retreat (and a bit of cat-sitting). And one of the things that helps to keep me going on writing-intensive retreats is getting out for mini-adventures. So once I finished today’s to-do list, that’s just what I did—I went on a mini-adventure! [more...]

    The law of adventure - Apr 1st, 2017
    I have a personal outlook on life—a law, if you will—that says I will have as many adventures as possible. It might be a 5-minute adventure that sees me popping into a wee art exhibit on the way to the dentist. Or maybe it’s a long weekend to somewhere fantastic or a long-term move to a foreign land. Whilst long weekends away and moves to foreign lands can’t happen on a regular basis, mini-adventures can! [more...]

    Bridges and sunshine - Mar 25th, 2017
    Life has been pretty thesis-centric these days and it’s been causing me a great amount of stress. Part of that stress is because I have felt a need to work on my PhD every moment of my waking day. And so, I decided that today would be an adventure day out! [more...]

    Bordering on 43 - Feb 20th, 2017
    This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so I enjoyed a wee road trip to the Scottish Borders to explore in and around Kelso. It was a great way to shake out the cobwebs and a fun way to celebrate the end of another year. And, it was a great excuse to eat lots of holiday food! [more...]

    A visit to Crookston Castle - Feb 11th, 2017
    I’ve been away in Glasgow house and cat sitting for the past week. And as the ruined Crookston Castle is only a mile away, I decided it was high time I made a trip to see it. [more...]

    A Dunfermline day - Jan 24th, 2017
    I spent a day in Dunfermline over the weekend and am now wondering what took me so long to make the journey*. After all, it’s only a wee 30-minute train journey across the firth. But now that I’ve been, and now that I’ve realised there is so much to do and see, I am sure I will be back! [more...]

    Banishing the gloom at Castle Campbell - Oct 8th, 2016
    I spent today doing vital ankle rehabilitation work, in the form of walking to and from Castle Campbell in the hills above Dollar. It was a much-needed outing and a great way to rid myself of some of the gloom I’ve been feeling from missing out on all of my 2016 running goals. (Broken ankle = no races. How gloomy, indeed!) [more...]

    Weir walking - Oct 7th, 2016
    I’ve been staying at Serenity Lodge since last week where I am house- and pet-sitting for a while. I am using the time to catch up on my PhD, but I’m also taking some time for my ankle’s rehabilitation work. And what better way to do that than a bit of weir walking? [more...]

    Zadar: Everyday life for an everyday girl - Sep 30th, 2016
    Travelling to new places is quite exciting; you get to see new places through the warped lenses of tourism. So when I travelled to Zadar, Croatia, for an academic conference last week, I was very excited to have a free day to explore the city on either side of the conference. [more...]

    Zadar: A Catholic girl’s paradise - Sep 30th, 2016
    I spent last week in Zadar, Croatia, for an academic conference. But the timing of flights meant that I had a free day to explore the city on either side of the conference. (Yay!) When the trip was first planned, I knew I would spend my days exploring the various churches, monasteries, and convents. Unfortunately, a broken (but healing!) ankle slowed me down a bit so I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted to see. Still, I managed most of the highlights. (But there was no climbing up bell towers, sadly.) [more...]

    With love from Zadar - Sep 24th, 2016
    I love Zadar! I really do. I arrived here last Sunday for an academic conference and I will be travelling home tomorrow. But in this one week, I fell in love with Zadar. [more...]

    A Dunblane day - Jul 16th, 2016
    A couple of weeks ago, I visited The Kelpies with my friend Caroline, and we decided that we’d try to get together for some more summer outings this year. So today, we met up in Dunblane for lunch and a visit to the cathedral. And as it happens, it was a first for both of us. Yes, despite my friend living most of her life near Dunblane—and me living just down the road in Stirling for two years—neither of us had been to the cathedral before! [more...]

    A Kelpie day - Jun 25th, 2016
    I’m house-sitting in Falkirk for a couple of weeks, so when a friend asked if I wanted to enjoy a day out, it seemed that visiting something local would be the way to go. When she suggested The Kelpies, I was really excited as I hadn’t seen them yet. [more...]

    Darting around Devon - Jun 5th, 2016
    I was invited to speak at a conference in Devon this past week, so decided to take the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing along the River Dart whilst I was down south. After all, you should never pass up the chance to explore and learn something new! [more...]

    Digitally medieval - Jun 3rd, 2016
    I’ve spent the last two days at the 5th annual Discover Academic Research, Training, and Support (DARTS) conference in Devon, England, where I was invited to speak about my PhD research into online reputation. The conference, with a focus on engendering a (digital) research culture, was held at Dartington Hall—a medieval manor house that was built between 1388-1400. [more...]

    West coast weekend - May 30th, 2016
    This past weekend was the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. But I decided not to run the half marathon because I didn’t have enough time to recover after having been rather ill. So instead, I headed west to enjoy a weekend on the coast with a friend. [more...]

    Conquering the law - Feb 21st, 2016
    I arrived in North Berwick yesterday for my birthday weekend, with a plan to conquer The Law as part of my visit. And since yesterday was spent exploring Tantallon Castle and the coast, today was the day to climb the hill! [more...]

    Tantallon to end - Feb 20th, 2016
    Today is the start of my birthday weekend, and my last day as a 41-year-old woman. So to celebrate, I’ve taken myself away for the weekend. Not far—just to North Berwick. But it’s a nice little village that I’ve been meaning to explore for a long time, so my birthday was a good excuse to do that. [more...]

    Caching Oban - Feb 14th, 2016
    The first time I was in Oban was for a quick lunch stop as part of a bus tour with my best friend, Rachel, when she came to visit me way back in 2002. I’ve been meaning to return for a while now, so when my friend asked if I was up for a weekend break to Oban I couldn’t say no! After all, there were a few fun geocaches I was hoping to find! [more...]

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