It’s a challenge trying to write a story about three and a half hours of wishing you were somewhere else. That’s what the ascent of Meall a Bhuiridh felt like…wishing I was somewhere else. The day before I was really up for this trip but it only took a dozen steps up the trail to realise it wasn’t going to be a good day. Someone had shut off the power to the legs. 😯
Thicker cloud than anticipated had sunk into Glencoe and coated the surrounding tops. On top of that it was bloody freezing and I had left the base layer behind in favour of a lightweight shirt. Half an hour later the fleece and the outer jacket were on, as were the gloves and the hat. The breeze from the north was biting good style.
I wasn’t happy. 😦 No amount of cajoling would make the legs turn any faster. I needed to move faster to keep warm but that just wasn’t happening. I just kept getting colder. Oh, how I wished the sun would come out, even for a few minutes. Just to increase my general level of irritation the strung out calves and hamstrings were playing hell with my balance and I kept wobbling and stumbling on the loose gravel path. Slowly I gained height.
A solitary ptarmigan was the only thing which brought a smile to my face. I debated constantly whether it was worth pressing on. Cloud was beginning to fill the corrie between Meall a Bhuiridh and Creise and began to obscure the summit of the former which had hitherto remained clear. As my internal debate continued, the legs kept slowly churning their way upward into the opaque greyness above.
We arrived suddenly. It came as a bit of a surprise. The mist filled plummeting drop in front threw me; I hadn’t been expecting it. I hitched up The Fatdog and hauled out the map to check where we were. There was no doubt we were at the summit and the cloud wrapped spur to our right would take us down…then up…to Creise. I decided against it. It had been hard enough doing this one and I still had the (by now dreaded) descent to do.
Going down proved to be as uncomfortable as anticipated. Unable to stretch my legs for fear of a horrible twanging sound from the hamstrings, I cut my stiff legged steps short leading to more than a few jars through the left ankle. The uncertainty of a soft landing resulted in tweaks in the left knee as it attempted to fold under and the ache from the “gluts” was beginning to build. The strain on the walking poles increased with every step as more and more I relied on them to keep me upright. Ah…the joys of hillwalking.
Needless to say we were only some 10 minutes into the descent when the cloud began to lift from the summits. Thankfully the sun didn’t shine until much later when we were on our way home.
At least once a year for the past 3 years, I’ve thrown a hissy fit and “given up” charging up and down hills and every year, a few months afterwards, I’ve managed to start up again. However this is the first time I’ve ever felt like giving up on my first hill of a “comeback”. I think my body is trying to tell me something…maybe it’s time for me to listen a little more carefully. 😉