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Monday, 13 July 2009

Raining but still loving it

So far this year I've enjoyed most of my outdoor pursuits in fantastic sunshine. This has been a lot to do with luck, and also thanks to unusually good summer weather this year. Therefore, a day of full-on rain and wind could easily have put me off the mountains. Not so, I discovered yesterday.

Joining a group of avid walkers (many of whom I know from working in newspapers) on Saturday evening at Bridge of Orchy I was gutted to be told that while they had walked in mega sunshine that day along the Buchaille Etive Mor and ridge in Glencoe, Sunday's forecast was for typically driech Scottish weather. Hmmm. Well, since I'd arrived I thought I might as well see whether I liked the mountains as much without the glorious sun.

And it really did rain. Setting off from Victoria Bridge to do the Black Mount traverse, including the four Munros Stob Ghabhar, Stob a' Choire Odhair, Creise and Meall a' Bhuirdh, we all needed full waterproof clothing (and wind screen wipers for my glasses!). There were glimpses of blue sky at some points during the day but mostly the cloud hung low and proper compass navigation was required.

Yes, I would have preferred to be able to see the fab views around me all day long, but somehow it seemed just as special to be treated to a jaw-dropping view every time the clouds cleared a little. There were several heart-stopping moments when thick, swirling cloud suddenly opened up to offer a clear, spectacular view down across a valley. I was also amazed on one occasion to find myself on the summit of a mountain in sunshine, but looking down on the cloud.

What also made the day so much fun was walking along chatting to people I'd not seen for ages, or else getting to know those who I had never met before. Walking in our great outdoors affords a great deal of time for proper talking – and the luxury (well, so it seems to me in my busy life that all too often gets interrupted) of making it to the end of my thoughts about a subject.

And while I am not brave/competent enough to navigate myself yet I began to understand the satisfaction of working out how to traverse a landscape with only a map and compass for reference. I also liked the feeling of battling against the elements to reach a mountain top.

So now I know that I love the challenge/camaraderie of walking in the mountains just as much as I love the scenery. It doesn't matter so much any more whether it rains or shines.

I do not have another outing planned at the moment – but I hope to very soon.

1 comment:

  1. I remember walking up Goatsfell with a few male friends, dressed in only light shorts, thin t-shirt and one of the guys had an Asda poly bag with his cigarettes and a bottle of Irn Bru inside it. Of course, it started to rain incredibly hard and we all thought it really funny. As we turned a corner, we saw a group of men, dressed head to toe in blue waterproofs with only their eyes showing. They turned out to be a group from Japan who all stood in open-mouthed silence as we passed by, laughing and soaked. The guide waited til we passed and said "There goes the lesser-spotted Glaswegian, not normally found in these parts. You can recognise them by the familiar orange bottle of Irn Bru, the lack of a jacket and the 20 fags inside an Asda bag". I choked with laughter whilst my pal was deeply offended. :O) xx