Day 5 of our Scotland Trip began with a large degree of trepidation. After yesterday's constant deluge, I wouldn't have been surprised if, when I opened the curtains, the view outside resembled Atlantis.
As it turned out, I was surprised. When I drew back the curtain, I saw for certain, that it wasn't raining. It was cloudy and overcast - but it wasn't raining.
We decided to strike while the iron was dry, and embark on our first walk of the holiday. We set off just after 10am and drove a short way to the start of our walk. The moment we pulled up at the side of the road, the weather decided to remind us that it was still there and started to rain. Fortunately, it soon stopped - so like five coiled springs (and their dog) we sprang into action, leapt from our respective cars, got into our walking gear (not that we were sat Naked in the cars - its not that kind of holiday. Or Friendship) and headed off up the trail we were to follow.
The path was generally rocky and stoney, but also very boggy in places. Because of the recent rain everywhere was wet. For a brief moment the clouds brightened - but we knew bad weather was on its way so we pressed on. At first we were very cold; there was a stiff breeze, and until we warned up from the walking we all felt the chill.
The path wound steeply upwards in places and in no time at all we had reached a height that gave us a good view of the surrounding area. The view was amazing - the majestic peaks of the munros and hills that surrounded us with their lower sides covered in a blanket of Scots Pine, which seemed only to grow until a certain height and then gave way to increasing patched of bare rock interspersed with heather. The Loch that sat nestled between these peaks shimmered as the wind drove the waves across them. It was nowhere near as windy as yesterday so the water looked almost smooth.
As we climbed, Jim and Jack (the dog) led the way, followed by Cain (Ben's son), Leigh (Jim's wife and Ben's sister), Ben (Leigh's Brother, Cain's dad, and Jim's Brother in Law), and then me (Ben's best mate, Leigh's friend, Jim's friend, Cain's nothing, and Jack's next meal - given half the chance). I decided to go last and walk behind Ben because he is suffering with an injury and cannot walk as fast as the rest of us, so I didn't want him getting left behind. And, he has a lovely arse that I never tire of looking at.
Actually, that's not true; he isn't injured.
We steadily made our way up the track getting ever higher and higher. We stopped to have a bite to eat, and to admire the scenery. The clouds were drifting slowly by, and there was even some blue sky to be seen in patches. It was truly lovely. We carried on walking and wound our way up the Munro. After about 45 minutes of climbing (well, walking - but you know what I mean) we paused again to admire the view again. It was the same view, from a slightly higher viewpoint, but it was still amazing and well worth a look.
As we stood there oohing at the scenery, it started to rain again. Behind us, the bad weather that had been forecast had arrived, and it rushed over to see us like the one person at a party that you don't want to see - but always sees you first.
It was as if the weather had decided that we had climbed high enough. In a matter of seconds the weather turned from fairly bright and calm and quite mild to freezing cold with severe winds and stinging rain and hail. Poor Jack was definitely not liking it - and to be honest, I wasn't exactly relishing it myself. To continue upwards would be to walk directly into this malevolent weather, so we decided to turn back.
As we started our descent, the wind and rain stung any exposed skin. In hindsight, gold hot pants with the buttocks cut out might not have been the best choice of outfit, but it was too late now for me to change back. Everyone else was feeling the cold too as we made our way back down as quickly and safely as possible.
And then, things got even worse.
As we carried on downwards, the cheeky weather started to improve! With every step it got brighter, the rain eased off, and the wind died down. We couldn't believe it - the weather was playing mind games with us. As our feet squelched in our wet socks within our wet walking boots, the day was once again becoming beautiful. By the time we got back to the cars, it was a lovely day. The lochs were like mirrors, they were so calm. Plus, Jim broke one and got 7 years bad luck. We could not believe how quickly the weather had changed. Each of us had toyed with the idea of going back up now that the weather had improved, but we could see the next bad weather looming round the next Munro. We agreed that coming down had been the right decision. And that I looked awful in gold hot pants with the buttocks cut out.
We returned home, got changed and had a spot of dinner. Tomorrow, we head over to the Isle of Skye to walk up the Old Man of Stor - weather permitting.
Despite our unsuccessful first walk, it has been another fabulous day in Scotland. I love this country, I love being here with my friends, and I love this holiday.
(Especially the bit when the fabulous friends I am holiday with read my blog and point out any errors that may/may not exist)