A Field Day

It has been noted that I am veering off topic on this blog – away from all that tedious training stuff, away from the struggle to become an athlete in a sport dominated by men, and towards blogging about the colour of my nail varnish and what I had for breakfast.


In the absence of my lead photographers today, I’ll introduce you to the place I spend a lot of time in doing my throws training: The Field. It belongs to my friend Robyn, suitably enough, as she was the one who got me into this pickle in the first place. I keep my horse at her smallholding, so I’m up there a lot doing all the backbreaking slogwork that keeping a horse entails.

I only seem to have taken photos up there when it’s done something picturesque like snowing, so here is the view from my training-ground in one direction:


And in the other direction:


You’ll just have to imagine it without snow and with added mud and rain. Wind is a big feature of this place! It’s rare for the air to be still up there. I figure I’ll have to contend with all that at the different Games anyway, so bracing against the howling gale is probably good practice!

As with everything, my practice gear is makeshift, to say the least. Here’s my trig:


Practically indistinguishable from the real thing, right? Guys?

OK, it’s an electric fence pole laid on the ground. Sheesh.

Here is my 8lb stone, for the putting thereof:


Pretty, isn’t it? Yes, it’s a big smooth lump of stone a bit bigger and heavier than a large housebrick. It’s the closest I could find to an oval on the day I went down to the river. So sue me.

And, for the grand finale of gear-tat, may I present the Sue Rann 13lb Weight For Distance!


Yes, it’s a 6kg kettle-bell attached to a heavy iron ring with a piece of sash-cord. What of it?

This, by the way, is the 20ft Thistle. That is, it’s not a thistle that’s 20ft high, but the thistle growing right about 20ft from the trig in the general direction I throw in. Very useful when measuring.


I’d show you a picture of my revolting, slimy, worm-eaten practice caber, but I’m off to the builders’ merchants today to pick up a 4″x4″ post about 14ft long, which is going to be my NEW, non-revolting practice caber. I’ll see if I can sweet-talk the guys at the depot into taking the corners off for me, otherwise I’ll be doing some fancy footwork tomorrow morning with my electric saw, tapering the thing. Then I’ll go over it with a sander. Then I’ll take it up to the Field and throw it around.

Oh, the things a girl has to do!


9 thoughts on “A Field Day

  1. Wow. I am almost inspired to get out and hurt myself. If I weren’t so busy learning pipes I might do it.

    As to the caber I ‘d only round out the lower 1.5 meters where you will hug and tug it.

    ROCK ON!

  2. Dudette, I am seriously in love with you. Your posts warm my heart like a mother fekkin heart warming thing!! Beautiful snaps and I actually laughed out loud at the thistle pic. That thing is HUGE!

    p.s. I totally know what you mean about the off-topicness. I started Rant and Roll so I could have a medium to write about all the things that were chapping my arse around the world, until I just realized that I’m not a ranty, ranting woman all the live long day. Variety is the spice of life right? Well, that or salt. Cause salt damn good too.

    p.p.s. sorry for all the swears. I’m a little revved up from the double espresso I just drank.

    • Salted Variety is delicious, FYI.

      Also, I would like to take a moment to point out how delightful the phrase “tapered caber” is. Even if I do end up saying “tabered caper!” every time I try and say it out loud just to enjoy it.

      Anyway, any woman who can fling around a large chunks of wood and stone has, IMO, earned the right to write about whatever she damn well pleases. Whether that be caber tossing or chainsaw juggling or how shoelaces just aren’t made like they used to be anymore.

  3. OMG…. you have the most scenic practice field in the entire world!

    Hey, our practice trig board is an old piece of cutup lumber that’s four inches too short. Whatever. Don’t matter. Just pace off something like 7 or 9 feet behind whatever you have, and throw! The stone…LOL…man, that’s awkward. But what the hell, just THROW it. It beats all hell out of not having a stone at all! The weight? UGLY…but again, what the hell…just throw it, and soon you’ll have a nice 28 and 14 pound weight, anyway. PROGRESS…. now you gotta get a 12 pound hammer.

    OK, buying a hammer is an expensive proposition, but you can make one out of five, 2.5 pound weight plates and some plumbing PVC. Go down to the Sporting Goods store…even better if you can find a store that sells used stuff…and buy five, 2 1/2 pound plates. You want the ones with the 1-inch holes, not Olympic plates. Then go to the electrical supply store and buy a length of electrical conduit..the PVC stuff. Then do THIS:

    Cut the length of the PVC tubing to 50 inches, so that from the bottom of the stacked-up weights to the end of the handle…the total length of the whole implement, it’s 50 inches long.

    Get some Duct tape, or whatever you call it in the UK, and wrap the hell out of it. Now, go throw it. It’s not exactly the same as a “real” hammer, but it’s darned close.

  4. don’t forget to include ale as part of your training regime

    from the number of competitors I’ve observed queuing outside*** the beer tent during some highland games it seems to be an essential part of the preparation

    *** they generally can’t get in the tent for the pipers there before them 😆

    • I see you are acquainted with the drinking habits of pipers! It’s the circular breathing, I gather…
      Also, circular is what I would be if I drank ale during training – and asleep!

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