As the hut was full on one of the nights, ahead of the trip, I had opted to camp to save money. However, given the weather forecast, the other hut occupants offered me the floor to sleep on. However, my tent mate Franklin decided he was still going to sleep outside, and after watching him struggle with my tent in the wind for a bit ,I undertook an act of kindness to go out in the rain and wind and help him put it up. Once it was up, I thought I may as well take the opportunity to add to my new challenge item, of a night under canvass. At 6.30am, after no sleep and a night of being slapped in the face by the tent in the wind, I wish I hadn’t!
Over the weekend, I was mainly cooking bog standard hill ratios of pasta and sauce. However, I did take in custard powder and some muffins, so given I had to do something to the custard powder to make it edible, I’m claiming that as a ‘dessert made’ for my challenge. The weekend finished with a very long walk out, as the stepping stones across the river that we’d arrived over where now deep under a fast flowing torrent of water from all the rain
The following week saw another act of kindness. I used to be Treasurer for a charity called Be United (I’m still a Trustee) and stopped as I found I really don’t enjoy doing accounts and it was making me procrastinate on doing any work at all. However, the new Treasurer was at the point of submitting his first Annual Accounts and was a bit stuck, so I spent 3 hours of my time with him, teaching him the knowledge I’d picked up from doing it the year previously. While he was in my house, I also gave him a bit of coaching about what he wanted to do with his career, so he also counts as one of my free coaching sessions.
Last week, I finally managed to progress on my Munro count, with a weekend away with Matt to claim a long-sought-after set. We had a leisurely start from Edinburgh on Saturday and climbed 2 easy munros on the East side of Glen Shee (Glas Maol and Creag Leacach) in the afternoon. We then headed to the Deeside Inn for the night, and for a delicious dinner (who’d have thought a blue cheese scone on a top of a steak and ale could have been quite so delicious.) The next day saw an early start to do the Lochnagar round – 5 munros and 32km in a day. We were blessed with terrific sunshine (and hence a bit of sunburn) and finished the round within guidebook time, which is unusual for us as we like to bimble slowly. As I’d already done one of these 5 munros before, I can now claim an additional 6 munros for my challenge from both Saturday and Sunday.
Finally, the week ended with a Zumba class this morning, adding to my different types of exercise. My experience of Zumba is that you spend an hour looking entirely ridiculous as you desperately try to follow the latin movements of the instructor. You are both performing the same moves, yet there are some differences……she looks awesome – sexy, sleek and rhythmic……you look sweaty, confused and like you’re having some kind of twitchy allergic reaction. If you ignore the mirrors, its actually a lot of fun! I also saw Judy Murray going into the next-door tennis centre, and took some solace that I am least a better dancer than she was!
My learnings for these 2 weeks:
- You really can get trapped by rivers in the mountains. Water rises fast and really can make rivers uncross-able. I have learnt about it all my Mountain Leader training, and have turned back from rivers before when there’s been a 15-minute detour uphill to find an alternative route, but Skye was the first time I’ve had to turn back from a river and opt for a much longer route. A 10km day actually turned into a 20km day to stay safe. Safe, not even dry – our ‘safe’ route involved wading 3 rivers at knee-height, but thankfully not the one torrent that had already reach waist height on one of our group before he even reached the deepest point. This was a river I had easily crossed with completely dry feet 48 hours before, and with one slightly damp foot 12 hours before, and was suddenly a waist-deep white-water death-trap.
- Balmoral House and Estate (near our Lochnagar round) is open for visitors between Easter and October! That’s entertainment for my Mum’s next trip to Scotland sorted.
- An odd glance at the mirror has taught me I really don’t look as cool as I imagine I do when doing Zumba.