Archive for category Vital Music
A gorgeous clear morning and forecast for the whole day, probably one of the nicest sunny days of 2017 so far and luckily we were able to “carpe diem” and head to the hills for another Munro bagging expedition, this time in the Arrocher Alps region near Loch Lomond.
A lovely drive and we were parked and ready to go, this time with much less need for such heavy extra layers, gloves and earwarmers and more in need of sunglasses and even a touch of sunscreen! This was a new Munro bagging experience for me! I had started my first MUNRO bagging in December when the wintery cold weather was just setting in, but one great thing about the cold is the dissappearance of certain undesireable insects, the midges and ticks!
So off we went up the track path for a small section and then cut up to follow the route. Since the weather was warming, there was a melt going on and the stoney path was resembling a small stream in places. Quite a steep section this first bit, and not long till we were all pretty warm in this spring sunshine.
As you will see if you view the VLOG in the link above, the views were incredible at every turn, simply breathtaking! Most of the start to this hike was fairly straight forwards, but as we ascended it got more rugged and steep in sections which was a little more challenging and required focus on the footholds. I had not done much “scrambling” the official word for rock clambering, except in my youth as kid by the beaches on the west coast. The scrambling began to become a lot more serious once we approached the part called the Spearhead. At this section we had to use hands to grip rocks and pull ourselves up certain sections, and it was a long way down if any mistakes were made. I looked down a couple of time but that just made my knees and tummy go weak and I could feel the fear inside me ready to take hold, so with the old pop song by Go West – “Don’t Look Down Girl” in my head, I did just that and persevered onwards and upwards. Behind me were my two hiking buddies, Jim highly experienced with close to 200 Munro’s under his belt so any terrain was not really a chore to him! Grace on the other hand, pardon the pun, literally in some ways due to her wrist injury recovery was struggling a bit with less mobility and that confidence of two strong grabbing working hands to grip the rocks with. Hats off to her for even attempting to do this climb but there did come a couple of points where she was engulfed with the fear and became imovable on sections. Looking back now we can both laugh at the moments when she was suggesting we call mountain rescue and she was not going to budge and further! But as they say, we get by with a little help from our friends and with me up ahead making footholds in the snow for her and coaxing her verbally to keep going and Jim with his sturdy patience at her rear we all made it!
Quite definately the next level of climbing that hill was and I was very glad to be off and over that section, as was Grace most definately! Thank goodness the worst bit was over! Phew…and we did it! A stop for food and it was off to Beinn Ime.
It didn’t look like it was going to take too long to get to that other summit, but boy the hill was a bit deceiving and I was certainly feeling my energy levels dropping a bit and that feeling of “when are we gonna get there” arising as the actual summit was hidden by false appearances. Finally we got there, and again some more snacks and sugary treats to boost the slightly flagging energy levels, then it was back down and past the base of “The Cobbler” another landmark rocky scramble in the same vicinity. One day I will get to that too!
The final hour of walking to get back to the car park was quite tiring, not sure now of out exact timing for this trip but it had been a good 10 hours or more we had been going so we were flagging a bit, well I sure was! Longest day on the hills yet I think…the sunniest and the best views, new skills challenged with the scrambling sections and another two Munro’s bagged, making my grand total now of 9!
Another team escapade to the hills, snow melting, slightly milder weather and a long drive headed by our kind transporter for these Munro Missions, Jim. We arrived at a nice opening in the middle of the mountains with a cafe and toilets! Oooooh the luxury of such a great thing both before and after long walks is a blessing! It is often the case that we are caught short in the middle of nowhere and just have to go back to nature!
Beginning this hike through forest paths and then into the beautiful sight of the Corrie Fee, and immense view of the whole panorama of hills from the edge of the forest. No rain thankfully and not too cold, certainly not icy cold anyway, and as soon as the walking begins it is not long before we all get to hot and layers have to be opened or removed as required to be comfortable.
Nothing too hazardous on this walk UNTIL we got to the top part of the waterfall next to the huge gorge and a very slim and icy section that had to be crossed to follow the route up the mountain. At this point I felt the fear, one glance looking down my stomach went, quickly turning away focusing on anything that was not scary and taking a few breaths while I tried to get my guts together! Jim was over the other side looking dependable encouraging and directing me the safe steps to take, I couldn’t chicken out and go home, although for a split second this was something that came to mind! LOL! So, I focused and went for the move, yes, I made it to the other side and my friend Grace, I think, equally crapping herself soon followed! Phew, that had to be the most scary section on the hills I had come across yet! A great feeling of brave accomplishment along with relief to be over that bit and we were off on the rest of the climb up these mountains.
The rest of the walk to Mayar was fairly straightforward, weather was coming and going a bit around us, but visibility was thankfully still reasonable so when we got to the summit we were able to enjoy views for miles around. There was a group of highly experienced looking walkers at the top looking like they had stopped there for a long lunch and a good old natter, many of them most definitely in retiree age, which is most inspiring to see! They soon headed off and disappeared very quickly into the distance as they headed for next summit.
We had our lunch refuel snacks and soon followed the same direction but by the time we got anywhere near the summit they were long gone! The old skools must have been setting quite a pace! Anyway, still reasonable clear weather, a few clouds threatening to put a dampener on the day but thankfully we made it to the next bag still dry and that was numbers 6 & 7 now covered!
The decent, due to there still being snow on the path was a little nervy for us girls, as my friend was still nursing her wrist injury recovery and I was just scared of doing any more unplanned Torvel and Dean impressions like I had done on Ben Lomond! Not only that, this path was on the gradient of the hill and on the right there was a steep drop in sections that was best just not to look at I found, just again focusing on the footsteps and path in front of me, as I got that vertigo feeling in my tummy if I looked down!
Boy was I glad to see the end of that path, I had my mini spikes on but that kind of walking is more tiring because it requires much more concentration, or at least I preferred as a learner hiker to take it slow and steady to do my best to avoid injury. It has been said to me by many that most accidents happen on the decent on a hill, when legs are more tired, mind too and often over confidence on the way down or going faster to get home quicker.
And so it was the end of another great day of adventure way up in the mountains of Scotland, places I had never been before, new heights and sights all around. I had well and truly got the bagging bug back again, this hill-walking thing, the fresh air, the natural energy around and generated by the exercise was very moreish.
There would be more that is for sure…where to next???
Since an early age I have been quite adept in the fields of engineering, a girl among few that seemed to excel in these subjects. Physics always made sense to me, I won prizes in it at school, I was always a deep thinker, I naturally studied things, and how they worked and fitted together. I was also born an artistic creative soul and have always been deeply into music. It is funny how even if we look back at our youth, no matter the journey in between we often end up very close to where we started in one way or another.
I wasn’t really like most of the other girls in my school. Maybe this was part of the reason I was bullied. I used to fix people’s personal stereos and I found a close relationship with mine and the music tapes I had in it. From my early teen years this small device went everywhere with me and was my friend and comfort. Funny how now, music has ended up having to serve the same kind of purpose in my life after all these years.
When I lived in London I ended up getting into DJ’ing, another technical hobby that is not a standard female practice and another world where even if you are good, as a female your skills can be left unnoticed unless you are prepared to sell your soul or your body, which is fine if your internal conscience can cope with that, and boy I wish mine did sometimes, but unfortunately or fortunately the way I was brought up, the soul I am, just disagreed with doing things that didn’t agree with my heart. If I got with a guy, it was because I had a genuine attraction to something about him, not about where he could get me or what he had. This did not bode well for me to move up the ranks in my career as a DJ. It was always frustrating to be as good as the lads, be able to do what they do as well as they could, but when it came to gigs and being booked, it was generally the guys that got the breaks. We girls on the scene at this time in the mid 90’s were allowed to get the odd back room 2 slots, we were allowed to do radio shows, and we were allowed to hang out and have fun. It was often hard to get paid and often there was little or no pay, but still for some reason I was compelled to do it because I just loved mixing music an being part of the scene.
Having never really “made it” as a female DJ, and having had situations bring me to my knees emotionally, life took me to return to higher education as a mature student, I began with a course in Multimedia and Web Design, that progressed to a degree in Audio Technology with Multimedia and then onto study a masters MA Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The whole way it has been hard to get the grades, regardless of my abilities. I have always been in a small minority of females on the courses I have taken and had to encounter varying degrees of sexual discrimination, some that were just part of the usual banter you come to expect and others more subtle and manipulative within the systems that be.
There have been many times where I have given up for a short time having been de-motivated and demoralised with the results I was receiving after trying so hard to achieve but I have always bounced back not willing to throw in the towel and ready to run the next road trying to get “there”.
My journey headed into quite lonely and long road, but I have now been on it far too long and gone too far to turn back and give up. What I have built is so integrally part of me now as an person, as a soul, as an artist, that I have to continue to do it.
I am aware that the music industry is a tough place for females, and truthfully sometimes I wish I had been born a male, because it would have made my life a damn site easier with the kind of passions and mind I have in respect of career choice and what my soul has lead me to find is my calling. It’s always been a struggle, I’ve always been good at what do, always had intelligence, always had the stamina, always had the vision, the ideas and so many of the attributes required to be taken seriously but I am a woman and sadly that attribute changes everything, even in this day and age. I did try to follow other career paths in my life, but this is the only one that feels right.
I am now deeply into producing music, usually some format of house flavoured music. I have spent the last 8-10 years developing my skills as a producer, largely on my own self teaching and experimenting with various software packages, vst’s and pluggins trying to get great at what I do and like the sound of what I am producing. I have always written poetry and lyrics but I have only just started to add this aspect of my own voice to my tracks. Previously they were just instrumental compositions or I used accapella vocal samples to create the expression I was trying to create.
In tandem with developing my music and furthering my education, I have been setting up my own small business and building my baby Vital Grooves as a net label brand platform for my music. It’s been a slow incremental dynamic process and everyday another thing on the list gets done.
All that I do with this process gives meaning and purpose to my life every day, and a much needed outlet for my creativity as an artist. It is just part of my journey, I know not where it will lead, but I am ever hopeful that somebody somewhere will think I am worth investing in as an artist. Until then I shall remain true to the artist I am, living on a dream, working on a shoe string, just trying my best to keep it all moving…the journey continues…