Not Quite so Epic

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Not Quite so Epic
By Helena Carey
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Not Quite so Epic

Hillwalking has always been something that James and Dom go off to do together.  Up until now Sophie hasn’t been too interested but she’s started to feel like she’s missing out and wanting to join in.  She’s done a few day trips but really wanted a camping in the clouds experience, so we opted for an overnight trip to tick of the munros Mayar and Dreish in Glen Clova.   We had a bit of a drive to get there but we weren’t in any rush, we only needed to get to the top of the first one and set up camp today.  As we were loading up Dom “tweaked” his shoulder putting a box in the boot, so I drove.  Now in hindsight this was probably quite a big clue that the trip wasn’t quite going to plan but we decided to push on.   As I drove, I could see Dom squirming around uncomfortably in the passenger seat.  An hour into the journey it became apparent Dom’s “it’s just a tweak” was indeed something a bit more sinister.  We were now nearly most of the way there with two excited little trekkers in the back so again we decided we’d carry on.  There was no way I could carry the camping stuff for all of us, but I would manage a day pack.  It wouldn’t be the early start we’d have planned for a day trip, but it was mid-summer and the sun was shining (for now!) so we’d have plenty of time to finish in the light.   It was almost 12 oclock by the time we’d loaded up the rucksack and got our boots on to get going.  I was rather pleased James had brought his new Jack Wolfskin pack, I was impressed with how much he could fit in and having someone to share the load with was rather welcome – I’m always amazed how much stuff you need for four people for a day.  We managed to make really good progress and cover a fair distance to eat our lunch with a view.  But then as we reached the col the weather took a turn for the worst and our jackets needed to come out, and then a little while later the gloves and hats.  I was the only one revelling in the rain, my pack had suddenly become a lot lighter.   There’s something about plodding along in the pouring rain which always stalls our progress.  We’d lost view of the summit and with-it Sophie’s drive to get to the top disappeared too.  By the time we reached the summit of Mayar it was four o’clock, we were soaking wet, Sophie’s legs ached and Dom’s shoulder was hurting.  So I decided we should finish for the day and head back down.  Now this didn’t go down well with James, he had his copy of the map and we only had a short walk and climb to get over to Dreish and if we didn’t tick it off now we’d have to do the whole walk again another day.  So, we split forces Dom and Sophie headed back down, luckily Dom could just squeeze into the Jack Wolfskin pack and fit in a few essentials and me and James carried on.   I must admit I was a little bit daunted heading off on my own with James, the weather was closing in and we had to get the compass out.  I’ve often wondered how Dom manages to get him up so many Munros and how someone so little not only keeps plodding on but is always so keen to do it.  James had won the sportsman cup at the awards ceremony at school for his hillwalking.  And whilst I was obviously super proud, it wasn’t until we were plodding along together in the fog that I realised just how much a worthy winner he was.  I was truly amazed by his ability to just keep putting one leg in front of the other and to keep going regardless of how miserable the weather was.  He truly was my equal (or more likely my superior!) on that walk.  He didn’t moan once,  if I’m honest I’m not sure I that I would have reached the summit if it wasn’t for him.  He was so knowledgeable and positive and such fantastic company, he made what would have been a pretty miserable walk a pleasure.  By the time we reached the summit it was 6 o’clock, our normal dinner time, we were both hungry but decided we’d push on and try and get back down and out the worst of the weather before we had a snack.  We finally made it down to the carpark at 7.30pm (James’ normal bed time), we were tired wet and hungry.  The trip should have gone down as an epic, one we’d look back on in horror, but do you know what I think it is one of my all time favourites.  It was such an honour and a privilege to tick off another couple of Munros with my favourite walking partner, I’m definitely going to have to make sure we do it more often.
3 years ago
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