I bagged my second Munro yesterday! I was due to do another 16 miler for the Moonwalk but could not face plodding around the suburbia for hours. You know Moonwalk Fatigue has set in when you'd rather plod up a hill for hours instead.
Our target was Ben Vorlich. There are two Ben Vorlichs in Scotland – we did the one near Loch Earn, known as The Easy Ben Vorlich. Lots of people scurry up the nearby Stuc a' Chroin afterwards to make a proper day of it, but one munro was day enough for me.
After all my Moonwalking, I'd forgotten what a hard and painful slog the hills are. Instead of chirpy podcasts the only soundtrack was the constant clobber of my heart and the slobber of my breath. I didn't need a heart rate monitor to know this was maximum exertion, baby!
But I felt pretty decent, and much faster than the first one nine months ago. It was actually enjoyable! Much of that was down to cooler weather and not being riddled with hay fever but some of it can be attributed to increased fitness. Yet still I was overtaken by:
- an old man with a limp
- an arthritic Labrador
- two small children
- petite lady with golfball perm and lurid tartan trousers who was at least seventy years old.
Ben Vorlich the Easy was also recommended by reader South American Slimmer last year, who said it was a good beginners munro with a clear path all the way to the top. If you're out there SAS, thank you from me and my Calves o' Fire!
The path was nice because you could always see how far you had to go. But it also sucked because you could always see how far you had to go.
Amazingly, I had a grand total of ZERO Whine Breaks on this walk. I blame the BBC – on Friday I watched a show called Beyond Boundaries: Across The Andes, in which teenagers with all sorts of disabilities trekked across Ecuador in treacherous conditions. They totally ruined my appetite for incessant complaining, what with all their inspiring toughness.
Here's Doctor G giving a bewildered thumbs up, as it is the first time he's got so close to the top of a hill without being whacked by one of my walking poles.
"Wow!" he said when I finally reached the top, "You didn't threaten me with violence once!"
This is the pose I pulled when he said, "Look triumphant!" Part Edmund Hillary, part cheesy menswear catalogue.
Two munros down, 282 to go? I don't think so. I love the smugness and serenity of roaming the hills but have no desire to go beyond the novice ones. Going up is okay but I'm still not a fan of the descent. I had a minor freakout as we headed back down Ben Vorlich – it wasn't that steep but the loose rocks made me want to vomit and demand a helicopter rescue. It's completely irrational and I know I should trust gravity but… wah!
MULTIMEDIA BONUS: Gareth has reconstructed my tentative Coming Down The Mountain technique for your viewing pleasure.