The Beast from the East

30/03/2018 – Munro – Ben Vorlich – Loch Lomond side.  Up early 6:15 start from the house, got to Loch Lomond side at 8:15 and started to climb.  The first two sections were good to fair with a steep climb up.  But the top third was covered in ice and snow, creating a good challenge and a longer day than expected.

0 2/04/2018 – Munro – Beinn Bhuidhe, Warning don’t go up it when the beast form the east has raised its ugly head again, according to Walk Highlands website Beinn Bhuidhe “is a neglected Munro, being shyly hidden away between Glens Shira and Fyne at the head of Loch Fyne.  Its uppermost ridge is surprisingly steep and rocky and is a tremendous [03/04/2018].

What the narrative fails to tell you is that this blurb like all Munro’s in Scotland is dependent on the weather.  The narrative I would have created in support of climbing this Munro’s on the 2nd of April 2018 would be, “a challenging and demanding ascent of a gorge where frozen water in the form of a thin sheet of ice makes staying on the rocks almost impossible.  Followed by an intermittent snow and ice packed gully, where full use of ice axe is required, sadly not enough compacted material for crampons, therefore, a treacherous toe banging zig, zagging climb up to the final section. With wind gusts of up to 60 mph, fine powdered snow blasting the epidermis layer of skin from my face and forcing my eyelids into slits, I successfully traversed the last section.  The photo above does not reflect the pain felt by the blast of the wind and as you can see there is no tremendous views to make it all worthwhile” O’Neil (2018).   The challenges however scary and demanding taught me a remarkable lesson; I had to grow my courage mussel on this climb, and the closest I have ever come to just giving up.  Without my husband Brian’s determination and encouragement, I would have stopped and turned back.  What I did take away is that I feel the same way about the PhD literature review.  I have grown serious mental monsters in my head regarding my academic abilities.  I needed to find a way through the negativity and the fear of failure.  The climb down was a reflective one, I said some prayers of gratitude and by the time I got on the bike, I knew what action I had to take against the literature review.   The action was simple, I had to stop multi-tasking and focus on the top of the mountain.

21/04/2018 – Munro – Ben Chonzie, totally different experience from the last two Munro’s, another early start 6:15 start from the house to Comrie in record-breaking time and started walking at 8:10am. On leaving the carpark there were only three cars, which equated to only two groups up ahead.  Making good time we were quickly met by the now descending walkers and had the top of the Munro to ourselves, and enjoyed a brunch on top.   Surprisingly and to my horror, our decent looked like the contents of Sauchiehall Street were making their way up the hill.  The parking was transposed into an ant march in a straight line.   Thankfully not wedged in we made a quick escape back home.  A wonderful morning on Ben Chonzie, such a privilege to have had the mountain to ourselves, at least for a while.

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