This Was Not A Love Song

You said you didn’t care about money, but chose work instead of us.
You said you wanted commitment but then just broke the trust.

You said you wanted a good woman but when found, you let her down. So that smile she began to feel just turned into a frown.

The passion wasn’t there, no tender kissing, just a sinking feeling there was something missing.

She didn’t feel your desire, only in her fantasies did she have that fire. Such a cold disconnection, no intimacy and no affection.

You didn’t make the right memories to keep her holding on, so this is not gonna be a love song. 

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Beinn Narnain & Ime MUNRO Summits (25/03/17)

Beinn Narnain Summit...No.8. ...on to 9 next...

Summit Beinn Narnain

View VLOG of the day here >>>

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!

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Munro Bagging 6 & 7 – Mayar & Driesch, Glen Clova (12/03/17)

Summit pic

Summit Driesch No.7. Bagged!

 

View Vlog of the day here >>>

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???

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Munro Bagging No.5. – Scheihallion (5/5/17)

Scheihallion Summit

Munro No.5. Bagged!

View Vlog from the day!

Having been a bit out of commission most of January due to injury and illness for any further Munro missions, then subsequently experiencing fears of slipping on ice or any greater injuries with a pending marathon challenge in May, I had ducked out of the bagging for a couple of months for some safer and more low impact exercising to coincide with my training as I repaired and rebuilt my strength. I was battling with the fears in my mind of falling in wintry conditions, unforeseen weather conditions and the desire to tackle another Summit challenge! 

My friend and I were both recovering from different injuries and fears of slipping so we took an easy confidence building climb up the Meikle Bin, a lovely local hill walk and not so daunting! Once we hit that, we were both busting for something a bit more challenging so made the decision that we were going to tackle Scheihallion.Our other hill-walking friend Jim thankfully decided to join us last minute and offered to drive, so then there were three in the team for the day!

A snowy cold early morning start and a drive that took us on a bit of a detour high into the hills where the snow was still fresh and thicker on the roads, so on this small single track road we had taken was a bit hairy but our solid driver and his van got us there as always, in one piece and safe!

Bit of a foggy start but the snow on the hills looked lovely and there was a clear path to follow on the ascent for most of the way till we got closer to the summit and where the boulder fields of this hill would usually be found as reported by many other hill-walkers but at this time of year snow had filled in most of the ground around the boulders so there were just some of the tops poking through and this actually made it easier to climb!

All in all this was a pretty straight forward hill, so it was fun and not too treacherous, especially with snow to bound through. We occasionally got cloud clearing and views appearing on the ascent but sadly by the time we got to the summit it was pretty thick and not much could be seen. We stopped there and sheltered among the boulders along with other baggers that were, like us, refueling and hoping at some point the mists would clear and reveal what lay beneath, but alas, only short glimpses and to no great avail, so we packed up and made our decent.

No injuries and plenty of giggles that seemed to be brought on at higher altitudes and with the intake of Jelly Babies that Grace had brought along with her! A great walk, a nice Munro to do in the snow and a great feel good factor from the day, as well as more confidence built again. With each Munro mission, new learning and more experience under the belt. Peanut butter and blackcurrant jam wholemeal rolls seem to have now become the summit snack of choice, along with a tepid (usually) cup of tea to wash them down, seems to hit the spot perfectly for me!
Exercise wise, this Munro bagging is a great all rounder, calorie burning, leg working in many ways and also with the pole use an upper body workout, all in all a bit like using a cross-trainer for 4/5 hours! LOL!

So, No.5. under the belt and over the hurdle that got me stuck after No.4…more to follow…

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Cycles Repeating 

I could write about politics and the state of the world but it’s all been done before. 

Wars and revolutionary cycles looping back again once more.
Nothing really changes, it’s just our time to live in the repeating, 

History never seems to wake most people, so many are still sleeping. 

Those that find the light find it, those that don’t stay the same, going round in circles hating the rules of the game.

None but ourselves can free our minds, said Bob, he knew.

Yet his words are only truly heard by the few.

Some rage against systems and people with power, others focus on their perceived final hour.
Another end is nigh, just like all that have been sandwich boarded before.

Just don’t worry because there will probably be plenty more…

Essence.

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Munro Summit No.4. – Ben Lomond

Videolog 

A cool but clear day on 2nd January 2017, the new year had begun and it was time to continue as I’d left off in the previous year, climbing big huge hills to get to the top and climb back down again. 

At least with a goal like this I can usually see the summit, at least a destination of exactly where I am headed, not like the path of being a self producing hopeful artist where no defined finish points, maps or presumed journey times were to be found, just travelling in blind faith on some crazy self created test of endurance, striving to progress, find some notable success, job or a way into the life and/or love you always dreamed you’d find in your happy ending, which was often the only thing that drove your passion to keep going, to keep trying and not to give up! It sure wasn’t the pay check, that’s for sure! Lol! 

Mountains though, and being part of a small team, just putting one foot in front of the other, usually with a route already travelled or mapped out and led by a more experienced member of the group, now, this was to some extent an easier or even more pleasurable task at hand right now, everything else just seemed so up in the air in a whole different way than the summits were.

I was getting used to packing my kit now the night before and preparing for the early morning pick ups by one of my kind drivers from the team that would get me and my wee legs to the start point. This time it was just two of us on this lovely fresh winters day. 

The drive to Loch Lomond was surrounded by the sun rising in a clear sky and it was looking like just the perfect day to do it. We arrived at the start point and got on our way pronto, no messing about walking with this one, this guy was a lean mean hillwalking machine, the kind that ate mountain summits for breakfast and was ready for another mountain by lunchtime! Lol! His pace challenged me to keep up as we ascended the steep and quite rocky path, a couple of times I did have to call on a breather or stop to take the odd pictures recording the day for my videolog. 

Quite a relentless climb this one, requiring extra care and focus on icy patches hidden sometimes, just one small slip on the way up, enough to cause me to feel just that little bit more nervous of the footholds under me, after all, it hadn’t been that long since other injuries had prevented me from enjoying much exercise, so the last thing I wanted to do now was fall and hurt myself. 

It was getting colder as we got higher as is usual on these climbs, quite a busy tourist summit route this one, we certainly were not alone on our quest to bag this Munro that day, which for the most part had been providing us with clear views over the Loch and surrounding landscape. However as we were approaching the last leg a large thick cloud began to come down to greet us and by the time we got to the criag at the top all we could see was cloud and it was pretty darn cold, windy and a fine blizzard of snow was also now adding itself into the windchill factor.

No hanging about at the top except for the standard summit picture and we began quite a speedy decent to make our way out these higher level conditions rather than stopping for lunch. Out the worst of it we stopped for a quick, much needed refuel and then headed back down the rest of the way. I found myself on the verges of grassy mounds rather than the stony path as I felt my feet were far more confident stepping there avoiding potential unseen ice patches, but still I found one and proceeded to do a short Torvell & Dean move before stopping on one knee! Another friendly gentleman climber was on his way down just behind me and offered his arm out to give me a welcomed hand up as I joked about my lack of ice dancing skills! That would thankfully be my 2nd and last slip for the day and the rest of the journey down was made unscathed! 

About 5 hours later we were back where we started and that was the end of another adventurous day on the hills. We definitely took the high road on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond that day! Another memory created and another Munro bagged…great start to 2017…let’s see how many are under the belt by next New Year eh! 🙂 

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Munro challenge No.3. – Ben Chonzie 

Videolog
Just 4 of us today 27/12/16, 2 guys and 2 gals, a drive off up into the mountains with an early start at 8am to make sure we caught as much daylight as possible on this cold but clear winters day. A great way to lift the spirits (literally) during the festive period, which can be an awkward time of year for some, certainly for me, so I was very glad for this healthy distraction. 
As we pulled up at the car park we were not alone in our decision to tackle this summit today, another couple of lads were just leaving and likely laughing or wondering what crazy folks we were as we begun our day dancing in the car park to the Eagles, which J had pumping out of his van…nothing like a bit of joviality to start the day! 

Hiking kit on and we were off, snow covered mountains all around and looking forwards to this expedition with my newly found comrades. It’s amazing how fast a bond can be formed with like minded souls on such a trip. New friends, new challenges to conquer and new skills to learn.

This was a comparitively straight forward ascent for the most part, following a well established path that wound back and forth higher and higher into the mountains exposing amazing views of snow caps. 

The higher we got the more ice and snow covered the path and the colder the winds got too, so hoods and zips up time. Once we got so far the footsteps we’d been following in the snow on the path went off piste and hence so did we,  walking through a more potentially marshy hillside section now but it was snow covered so care had to be taken if you didn’t want to put your foot into a bog! This is where the hiking poles come in very handy.

We were getting nearer the summit now, it, along with another few bodies walking in the distance was now in sight. The next section we crossed over was frozen snow and pretty slippy, luckily I’d put on a cheap pair of grips on my boots, they helped a little but later kept slipping off my boots and becoming more of a hindrance, something to upgrade for future winter excursions! 

Along a wide exposed section of mountain now and we were there, a small whiskey swig taken by all as we toasted our next accomplishment! 

Time for some food and re-adjustments to clothing i.e. waterproof trousers on top, to keep the sub zero windchill that was now hitting me at bay. This proved to be quite a challenge as my fingers had decided to go numb and I had to get my boots/gaiters/grips off before I could get the trousers on! Learning curve as I watched D with her ones with a flap that opened at the bottom with studs so she didn’t have to go through such shenanigans! Lol! 
Our lovely gentlemen friends were quite the chivalrous and proceeded to pack snow into the small stone made shelter at the summit so we could all sit out the wind to re-fuel and sort ourselves out for the decent! 

It was bloomin’ freezin’, I couldn’t remember the last time I had been in such cold, but the views were amazing, my companions were fun to be around and those things combined seemed to negate any effects I might usually feel encountering that status. 

Some food eaten with totally numb fingers and toes beginning to join them in that feeling, it was time to get moving and get my circulation pumping some warmer blood into those areas. D & J had already headed off as I was trying to get my grips back on my shoes, to no avail, so just abandoned that idea and managed without them. Part of the mountain here was clear of snow and I decided to jog for a bit to catch up with the others and attempt to defrost my fingers & toes, it worked, but then turned round and my buddy had vanished! Turned out he had just headed over to take some pics and came back into view but there was just a moment of concern and subsequent relief as he came back into view. 

The decent now was through snow and marshy hillside off piste and not trodden on. We took the non-tourist route back down “to make it more fun” the guys said! Lol! And yes, I guess it did turn out to be fun as we bounded about in the deep snow and even did a bit of ice axe stop practice, but it wasn’t so much fun when first my right foot managed to find itself in a hidden stream that was running down the mountain, and just after getting one waterlogged foot out proceeding to then plunge my other foot in also! Lol! Two wet cold feet, yuk, but after a while they warmed up and I hardly noticed the conditions they were now walking in! 

Wasn’t long before we got back on the path for the last leg back down, passing the snow Angel that D had made on the way up, our stamp on the landscape for that day! 

Another Munro bagged, my no.3 and another great day out with my fellow mountain people, my new found tribe…

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