James has always been a good walker. Since he took his first steps at 10 and a half months, he’s not stopped and he’s been on the go ever since. Even when he was little he rarely asked for carries and would happily plod along on our daily dog walks. Ever since we moved to Scotland he’s been desperate to get out into the mountains, “proper ones, with their tops in the clouds”. So far, all our walks in the hill have failed to convince him and he was still left longing to head up a mountain. The boy was ready for his first Munro. Dom explained if it was going to count as his first Munro, then he was going to have to walk all of it and promise to keep going. James didn’t need asking twice, he was most definitely ready for his first Munro.
James had the Munro bagging bug before they even started, he very quickly decided there was no point spending the day climbing one when they could do a circuit and get a few ticked off. They decided they would make a weekend of it and wild camp, well when I say they I really mean James decided and gave Dom his instructions! Now this invoked a whole new list of challenges and made route choice even more challenging.
We were fairly confident James would cope with the walking but we wanted to make it as easy as possible for him and that meant Dom would have to carry everything. It’s fair to say Dom is a little out of practice from his mountain marathon days so when faced with the prospect of carrying a huge pack with everything they’d need for a couple of days camping all on his own, he very quickly decided a nice easy route was vital. They decided on the Glas Maol circuit at Glenshee, taking in the munros Cairn an Turic, Cairn of Claise, Gals Maol and Creag leacach. With the ski centre carpark they could start quite high up limiting the amount they had to climb and with just 12 miles of walking they could tick off 4 munros.
As I waved an excited James off on his adventure, I must admit I was a little bit nervous it wouldn’t quite live up to his expectations. Would he get fed up and Dom then be stuck trying to coax him back down? I needed have worried it wasn’t long before my phone beeped and a picture of James at his first summit came through. His smile said it all and there was no way he’d be able to argue that these mountains weren’t high enough. They managed to find a lovely camping spot jut down from one of the summits which really helped to add to the camping up in the clouds experience. They had a great time and James had no trouble keeping up, It was definitely Dom who looked the most worse for wear out of the pair of them, on their return.
The only problem now rather than quench James’ thirst for mountains it has instead fuelled his desire to try and climbed them all. He is adamant he’s going to get all 282 munros ticked off before he starts high school. He’s even started his own database cataloguing them all, what can I say he is definitely his father’s son! If he’s going to have any chance of getting them all done, we are going to have to give Dom a helping hand and try and slow him down so he has a slim chance of keeping up with him. So we’re on the lookout for a rucksack so he can carry a few of his things – what would everybody recommend for a decent child’s sized one suitable for a day In the hills.
Written by Helena Carey on Thursday, 21 September 2017.
Posted in Mountain High
Monika Strell 29 September 2017 at 11 34 | # Well done James! We are hoping to get up a few mountains this autumn/winter. Apparently it's not Corwin but me who is the weak link in that plan but we'll see ;-)
Kerry Teague 03 October 2017 at 22 12 | # Brilliant! Well done, James (and Dom!) Getting up some mountains is on our to do list this year too! Our closest mountains are the lovely (but rather small) Mournes. The challenge is that most of them begin close to sea level so pretty much all the height gain must be done on foot and access can be lengthy. But the rewards are great. I'll blog about how we get on - hopefully it will be a success and not a massive fail!