Sunday, 8 May 2011

Steepness, Wetness, Something, and Laughter.

Day 3 of the Scotland adventure, saw our first walk. To give you an idea of the task ahead of us, I took this video:

As it turned out, I was wrong. It was the slope to the left that we would be attempting to walk up. We started out in high spirits - or maybe high on spirits, I'm not sure - and soon we were on our way. Here is a picture of our intrepid group:

Almost immediately however, we hit a stumbling block: we were looking for a path up the slope, but couldn't find one. We had asked a local, if there was a path and he had said that there was a path just after a gate about a mile down the track. We found the gate, but no path. We decided to soldier on, just in case the track we were on would take us up the mountain slope. Unfortunately, it only seemed to circumnavigate the foot of the mountain. We only found this out after about half an hour of following the track. Eventually, we took the decision to turn back and see if we could get up the slope via a rocky trail that didn't really look like a path, but might have been. When we found it, we set off up it at a good pace.

I must admit, that I found it tough going. Being now a car driver, I had forgone using my legs for anything else but clutch control and acceleration, so the steep and slippery stones that formed the "path" were making my lower limbs work. Pretty soon I was sweating like a good un' and was out of breath. However, the hard work was rewarded by the spectacular views. Loch Leven shimmered in the sunlight, and the green slopes of the Munroes opposite were a beautiful sight. unfortunately, my pictures don't do it justice.

We continued on, the slope getting ever more steep, and tricky. In addition to this, the weather was beginning to look ominous. Threatening clouds were closing in and.....erm, threatening us. Undaunted, we carried on. I should mention at this stage, that I was slightly less prepared for this walk than the rest our the team, as they all had waterproof clothing rucksacks, and I only had a waterproof coat, walking boots, and a carrier bag.
I don't mean that I was naked - I had jeans on, but they would prove not to be very suitable.

We stopped after about an hour and had a bit of lunch. The carrier bag I was carrying had been a source of much amusement and ridicule amongst my fellow walkers, but soon earned their respect when they needed somewhere to put their rubbish. The fact that I now had even more to carry didn't seem to come into it. Whilst eating, much hilarity was enjoyed - especially when, whilst being filmed eating, I said "can you stop eating my while I am trying to film!?".

Lunch over, we carried on. And then the weather got worse. It got cold. We got wet. We got wet and cold. With the peak still a long way away, and the weather really quite nasty, we decided to head back. Going down was even more treacherous than coming up, and on more than one occasion I slipped over. And on one specific occasion, as I slipped over, I exposed my bum crack to the walker behind me - who happened to be Martin Bennett. Lucky him!

Once in a clean set of clothes, we all felt better - although sharing the same set of clothes was probably not a good idea for the seven of us. We decided to each wear our own clothes, which was much better. But now we needed food - ice cream specifically. A trip to Fort William was in order, so we jumped in the cars and set off.

SHOCK HORROR!!! The legendary Thorntons shop that sold the fabulous ice cream, had shut down! Not for the first today, a black cloud descended above us. We decided to find another food establishment, but one that would allow both dogs and children. Luckily, we found such an establishment - but we decided to do some shopping first. I bought some waterproof trousers, and a rucksack - although, as this is me, I could only find a cheap one with the brand name "Koko Pink". Not the most masculine name for a mans rucksack.

Shopping done, we went to the Ossian restaurant for a meal. The place was deserted - which was a surprise, as it had amazing views of Loch Linney. We didn't mind, and sat down for our meal.

The food was good,  and the company was great. But the desserts were brilliant. The waitress brought them out with another member of staff. She proceeded to hand out the desserts, asking who had ordered each one, and handing it to them. The other member of staff then decided to help - but didn't know what dessert he had in his hand, so he asked "who ordered the........the........something?" Well, at this we fell about laughing - not at him, but at the hilarity of the situation. Ben was in tears virtually, and his sister Leigh was in pain from laughing so much. We laughed for a good ten minutes, and continued to laugh throughout the day. It wasn't just the waiter we laughed at - we also laughed at a Windsurfer out on the loch who was caught in a vicious circle of only being able to either be in the water with the sail of his board up, or be on his board with the sail in the water.

We are committed to fairness - we laugh at everybody (especially ourselves).

Incidentally, by the time we got to Fort William, the weather had completely changed. The sun had come out, and it was lovely and warm. A total reversal of the earlier weather.

We returned to our accommodation happy - it had been a good day.

As I type this, my friends are upstairs watching "Blazing Saddles". Their Laughter is music to my ears. I'm going to go up and join them.

I love this holiday.

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