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May 31, 2011


The Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremony

This is the second year that Tim has been honored the privilege to hand out England’s most prestigious outdoor achievement award for the youth of the country – The Duke of Edinburgh award. – A select number of young outdoor achievers from around the country get awarded for their pursuits.

My timing allowed me to join him this year in attending the ceremony, and what an amazing adventure it was. Only weeks before the “wedding of the century” of Kate Middelton and the Prince – I found myself standing in the same space that the bride-to-be was for her media shots of their late engagement announcement. After taking the VIP tour of the residence, we were escorted to our designated area where Tim was to give the awards. It was quite surreal to be sitting in a room with murals the size of my house adorning the walls. As the palace host talked about these murals the words “are priceless – you can’t put a value on them” rang through my ears for a while. I couldn’t fathom the values surrounding me.

Tim was presenting in one of the four red and gold themed rooms of the palace known as the “boardroom.” Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth holds dinners and meetings for world leaders here. Kinda a big deal. However, as I looked around, I couldn’t help but wonder why the cracks in the ceiling and it’s discolorations hadn’t been tended to! This is the Palace after all?  My thoughts however, quickly swung into the other direction and concluded: that’s nice- those cracks…shows that these Royals aren’t too materialistic – which is good! The host continued on to also let us know that we are of a select few of the public that will ever be within these walls – as the only event to be held here is the D of E award ceremony. Wow I thought – how did this small town Canadian prairie gal end up here!? Yee-haw!

Enter Prince after Tim speaks for 10 minutes. Now, Prince Edward only shakes the hand, within the room full of people, of someone with a special badge on – which Tim had one of. So after Prince was finished talking to the youth from a distance he stopped, extended his hand to Tim and Tim then opened up with his first prepared question.

“So when you’re flying fighter jets do you ever get high enough to see the curvature of the earth?”

Edward responds: “Well, I don’t know because I don’t fly fighter jets..” Prince continues “However, I have seen the curvature from the concord…the atmosphere looks very blue from up there.” ( Slightly starstruck, I say “yes” here, in knowing what he’s talking about through looking at Nat Geo photos in the past -then freeze again, as I don’t know what else to say…)

I give Tim all the credit for just having the gusto to ask the Prince questions – as I, tongue tied- just stood there having no clue what to say to Mr. Royal Man.  But next time, i’ll have some ammo I’ve decided. I’m going to ask him about his impeccable posture – and see if it’s owed to a Personal Royal Pilates trainer or perhaps years of ballet or possibly some afternoons of polo playing or something! After all it was the first thing I noticed about him when he walked into the room.

Until the next time when we shall be invited to the Queen’s house again, it was very special to feel like a real-life princess, as you do when standing in a real-life palace…. with a real-life prince.


January 12, 2011


This is a video Katie made that was shown at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, and also short-listed for the Banff Film Festival. It is a Para-Alpinism Video on climbing then BASE jumping a famous ‘sea-stack’ called ‘The Old Man of Hoy” in Scotland.

Tim was the first and only person along with Roger and Gus to complete BASE jumping off  the Old Man of Hoy. We stayed in a stone hut called a “Bothy.” A bothy is a basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge. Bothies are to be found in remote, mountainous areas of Scotland, northern England, Ireland and Wales. They are particularly common in the Scottish Highlands. The island is full of rabbits and sea cliff birds which seem to be the only other breathing thing around. There is also a little surfing bay just down from the bothy. After 3 days and 2 nights we had completed the mission, and headed home.