Hobbies

I enjoy a few different hobbies and pastimes.

Walking and Hiking – I love the mountains.  My love for the mountains is founded somewhat in my experiences as a missionary for the Church in Austria.  I spent two years in the country living in Leoben in the south, Innsbruck, Steyr (not too far from Salzburg) and in Vienna.  Leoben, Innsbruck and Steyr have the Alps mountains on their doorstep, in the case of Innsbruck, my apartment looked out onto the Nordkette that stands over Innsbruck.  I was stuck immediately by the majesty of these mountains and spent most of my free time walking and hiking the Alps of Austria.   As our children have grown, we have taken them out on hikes in the UK hills, particularly in Scotland with the odd trip to the Alps.  In 2012, Scott and I along with a few friends from our church completed the 3 Peaks Challenge, hiking Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and  Snowdon, the three highest peaks in Great Britain in 24 hours.

 

 

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Scuba Diving

It was Lisa who introduced me to Scuba diving when we were dating, although I didn’t try it myself for another 6 years.   During the time we were dating Lisa went back to Bahrain for a couple of weeks with her Dad and whilst there she went diving in Jeddah, they hired a camera and took a couple of shots that she brought back with her.  This was my first introduction to the underwater world.  Up till then my main hobby had been walking or hiking and so she explained diving, as instead of starting at the bottom you start at the top and work down.

 

So in Jan 2004 we booked to go to Cyprus with all the family to see my brother who was stationed in the RAF there.  We thought it would be a bit of fun for me to get my PADI open water before we went out there and then we could go diving together.  So in the February and March 2004 I learned to dive in a pool in Reading and Windsor and then went to Horsea island to do my qualifying dives.  The water temp was 8 deg and I wasn’t perturbed.  From the moment I first put my head under the water and realised that with this equipment I could breathe underwater I was hooked.

 

We went to Cyprus and dived out there together and it was a great start.  I saw the wreck of the Zenobia on the wall of the dive centre and said I would come back and dive that.  I have still to do it but it is in the plans.   During 2004 I also qualified as an Advanced Open Water diver and found a diving group over at Yorkshire-Divers.com with whom I have done most of my diving.

In December of 2004 I agreed to go on a wreck diving trip to Scapa flow with some divers from YD, this meant I needed to improve my diving skills, so I booked on a Technical Diving Course for June 2005, and the inbetween time was a time for me to practice and get better.  I changed my equipment so that I now dive with a twinset which is two cylinders banded together and also extra cylinders for decompression diving.  So during 2005 I dived on the south coast, Devon, Cornwall, Wales, NE Coast, Scottish West coast and also Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.

Since then, we have regularly returned to our favourite dive centre in the UK down on the Lizard in Cornwall, at Porthkerris Divers.  In 2015, our three eldest children also gained their PADI open water qualifications.

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Cycling

One of my great joys is being out on a bike enjoying the open air.  I began cycling again in 2014 as a way of getting fit to commute to work.  This sparked a new passion for cycling.   Since beginning with a commuter bike I have moved on to road cycling and indulge in this passion with my wife and children.  I have been able to combine my love of the mountains and passion for cycling by taking my bike out to the Alps on a couple of occasions.  In 2015 I was fortunate enough to be on Alpe d’Huez for the penultimate stage of the 2015 Tour de France to see Chris Froome clinch his 2nd tour victory.  In 2016 my son and I completed the Marmotte sportive in the French Alps around Le Bourg d’Oisans.  This included the famous 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez and the huge climb of the Col de Galibier.

During 2016 and into 2017 I am training to ride a 7 stage cycling event for charity across the Alps to raise money for the Team Type 1 Foundation.  More details can be found by searching  #cycling

 

Skiing

As the children have got older it has been great fun to get them into Skiing.  I had my first taste of Skiing on a school ski trip when I was 14 or 15 and I loved it. Apart from a one-off days skiing when we were visiting family in the USA,  it was not until our oldest was 12 that we finally got to go again.

Since then we have tried to go each year to our friends place in Scotland where the children have all learned to ski on Cairngorm and Lech mountains in the Highlands.