Yet another blank page…and yet another cup of tea.
Sometimes I think I would like the keyboard to start the story of its own accord. That way my brain wouldn’t hurt as much and I wouldn’t have to join up the dots of the day to see what the completed picture looks like. The combined arithmetic power of my fingers and toes has calculated that I’ve been writing The Fatdog “Tails” for 3 years now. That’s a lot of “parked car”, “walked up hill”, “took photos at top”, “walked back down hill”! Don’t you wish the story could have been a bit different?
I quite like the idea of “arrived at summit by helicopter”, “took photos”, “left again by helicopter”. To be fair I’m probably suffering a bit from the effects of uncharacteristic over-exuberance. For the past 7 weeks my gym work and the loss of a stone of blubber have resulted in hugely improved fitness levels. Confidence levels are also running on max. So when I returned completely exhausted on Saturday from the 12 hour Tyndrum epic did I think of having some time off? “The hell I did!”
Tuesday night I was back at the circuit class. “He” had devised a torturous “step” class which I have to say was fairly testing for one of my limited motor skills. The effects on my legs from Saturdays prolonged exertion were still with me and by the end of the evening even stepping onto the “step” was becoming a mighty task.
Still, I told myself, I’m made of tougher stuff these days…so the next day myself, Cap’n Jack and the Fatdog were to be found below a cloud topped jagged monster that is one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains…”The Cobbler”. Did I take the easy stroll around the back, up the beautifully formed steps and then across a fairly nondescript slope to the summit? “The hell I did!”
Straight up the steep rocky path into the corrie we climbed…none of this namby-pamby easy stuff for us. Cap’n Jack’s views on the matter are still not clear…the unintelligible muttering drowned them out. The Fatdog’s views were also unclear, but as she’ll follow a potential rucksack to the ends of the earth for the chance of the odd morsel it was difficult to assess preferences in her particular case. Nonetheless straight up we scrambled giving FD’s rear end an occasional punt up as we clambered through narrow water scoured gaps between rocks. The cloud still swirled around the mountains 3 tops…would it clear for our arrival?
Cap’n Jack was beginning to look a little edgy. I don’t know why…he wasn’t the one perched on a sloping ledge that plummeted into nothingness below. Well, it might have been nothingness but I wasn’t getting close enough to the edge to find out. The last remains of the swirling cloud had gone so I couldn’t use a lack of visibility as an exposure shield. Did I climb onto the very top of the narrow top…”the hell I did”. Climbing through the eye of the needle onto the ledge was fine but once up on my feet there was no way I was shuffling up that ledge. I could have done it on my bum but that would have been unacceptably undignified. I settled for a photo suggesting I might have had the courage to get there and dived back through the eye a.s.a.p. to the safety of less exposed ground. Fair play to the Cap’n though, he made it up to the eye for a squint through which, considering he generally avoids that sort of thing entirely, was a big step forward for him.
I don’t recall ever seeing a summit as shattered and broken. Huge faults ran westward slicing the southern part of the top into thin segments, with treacherous narrow crevasses a constant danger to those failing to show proper care. This was a real mountain. We sat up there in sunshine, munching lunch and admiring its decaying glory all the while nodding appreciatively at its efforts at holding itself together.
We left by the near uniform back steps, possibly the fastest and easiest descent I’ve ever come across and strolled down to the dam for our final break…and to let The Fatdog have a paddle. I checked my watch. It had been a very easy relaxing day and we would be home by 6pm.
You would think the story would end there, wouldn’t you?
It’s now 7.45pm and my legs are on their last legs. I’m slumped over in the saddle just like the fourteen others. We’re supposed to be “hovering” with bums just off the seats but in reality I’m using my folded elbows to prop me up. I’ve been pedalling for three quarters of an hour now and “He” is showing no sign of letting up. Never mind only 15 minutes to go.
After Saturday’s exhausting 12 hour Tyndrum round, Tuesday night’s tough “step” class and Wednesday’s steep scramble up The Cobbler did I consider for 1 minute that it would be really stupid to do a “spin” class on the Wednesday evening?
“The hell I did…!”
“Aaaatchooo ! Hello, Mr Cold.”
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