Coming Down The Mountain

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.

Ben Vorlich
3,231 feet of pure pleasure.

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.
Spotty Dug
And a nutty dalmatian.

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.

Lunch ahead!

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.

Dr G

"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.

Triumph on Ben Vorlich
Windswept with severe case of Beanie Hair.

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.

48 thoughts on “Coming Down The Mountain

  1. What a beautiful place! I used to live in England and spent a lot of time traveling ‘up north’ and in Scotland and these made me wish I’d done some climbing!

    Well done!

  2. HI DG, I don’t normally comment, but I absolutely loved DR G’s reconstruction.

    vvvv funny and brightened up my day πŸ˜€

  3. Your man is a genius. And I think this can really qualify as cross training for the Moonwalk. And on the way down: cross-verging-on-really pissed-off-training. I thank you.

  4. Congrats on making it up and DOWN the mountain. Nothing like coming down a hill to make you feel like an old woman doing the hippy hipy shake. First the knees go, then the rest…

    As to the vid I needed a laugh and that certainly did the trick. Thanks!

  5. Ahahaha!!
    Bloody hilarious reconstruction.
    I love the ass-sliding bit (I’m guessing the camera wobble was cos you were shaking with laughter?)
    Congrats on conquering your 2nd Munro! πŸ™‚

  6. Nice one Loth πŸ˜‰

    Lauren – You got it! It was hard enough to hold it steady as it was coz the wind was so strong, then when he hit the deck i was busting a gut laughing!

  7. The first part of that video reminded me of Shelob… you could wrap up a hobbit with those enquiring poles of yours! Of course, she doesn’t really fall over at any point, but it only could have added to the story πŸ™‚

  8. Congrats Shauna! I agree – descent is too scary! Why do the rocks go sliding when you put your foot down on them? It should not happen that way πŸ™‚ And Dr. G – way way funny! At least he wasn’t on his back like a mad Scots luger.

  9. Fantastic video! My dad always took me up hills and mountains when I was younger – climbed Snowdon when I was 9, and I still hate the descent. The lure of chocolate at halfway and the top worked when I was younger though! x

  10. Wow… that could make a really, long (time-wise) descent! I want to say I could do better and to tell you to toughin’ up but I imagine I’d be doing part-two of the video, sliding down on my arse down the ben!

  11. I’m so pleased that you went up Ben Vorlich. My family live in Strathyre and I know it very well. It’s a beginners’ munro as far as finding your way is concerned, but it’s still a physical challenge, especially the last rocky stretch you photographed which always has my calves crying out for mercy. Once a year people run up Stuc a’Chroin, but, as my sister put it, they run UP but they limp and crawl DOWN.

  12. That’s too funny. And is the lovely Dr G carrying all the kit too? Otherwise that’s a massive daypack for one person. I’m foolishly contemplating the wainwrights in the Lakes as a challenge (by the time I’m 40 – which gives me over 5 years to do about 100ish). Love getting out in the fresh air and nothing beats a cheese and onion marmalade filled bagel at the top of a mountain (and of course jelly babies).

  13. Brilliant. Nothing like a pisstaking Scot to liven up an evening!

    Well done on the Munroe and, BTW, you have my utter respect for taking on the Moonwalk – it sounds like hell to me. I would genuinely rather run the 26 miles than walk it!! And I can only just manage 13 so far.

    All the best, do you have a charity page thingy for it?

    Lesley x

  14. Nice one Jac πŸ™‚ i think my web would be too wobbly to catch anything, hehehe.

    SAS – So glad you popped up! I can’t believe people run up and down Stuc a’Chroin, it looked bloody scary!

    einalem – OH that bagel sounds good! and the wainwrights is a fab idea, you should go for gold! πŸ™‚

    as for the kit, we split the load. i always give gareth shit about his giant backpack but he swears everything is essential! i had water and the food (natch) and extra layers. he had more water and the tea flask and layers and probably some sort of emergency origami helicopter in case of a sudden change in the weather!

    Lesley – you have a point there! One of my pals ran a marathon last year and she reckons the moonwalk is worse coz it’s so bloody boring!

    oh re the charity page i can send ya link if you want (cheers!), there’s a bunch of us doing it at work so didn’t really want to put the work page up on here.

  15. {wink} You could also think of us poor blighters who have to live in concrete jungles of almost amazonian proportions. Need to drive an hour on the freeway to get to somewhere that remotely resembles nature. (And then ya gotta watch out for pumas etc.)

    So very jealous you get to walk all those lovely green bits.

    And I’m still pissed off that the in-laws moved outta Alaska.

  16. Bah, got carried away with my own whine and forgot to say, “You rock!” (pun fully intended)

  17. Good on you for no whining. That’s a big accomplishment in my book. Dr. G’s re-enactment is hysterical. Thanks for the laughs today!

  18. OMG that is the funniest video ever!! I love at the end when you/he fall down on your ass and lie there helplessly. Oh he is such a bastard! πŸ™‚

  19. You are in so much trouble, Missy!

    I was so busy laughing my arse off at Dr G as Dietgirl, that I forgot all about my breakfast and BURNED MY FRENCH TOAST. Aargh!!

    Note to self: DO NOT read Shauna’s blog until breakfast is safely cooked and in your greedy little hands.

  20. That is GOLD πŸ™‚ I remain in awe of anyone who is brave/foolish enough to attempt hillwalking, much less the Moonwalk (I almost fell off my chair when you converted it into kms, I hadn’t realised how far it was!)

  21. The scottish men do like to take the piss…
    But it all sounds great and I am a wee bit jealous – the munroe’s look great and what a view. I will just have to be content with the Blue Mountains. But who am I kidding – at 7 months preggers I am knackered walking to the shops for my daily mars bar!

  22. How dare your man mock you so! Does he not understand that ladies have to handle gravity differently because of our unique weight distribution? If he had boobs pulling him forward then he might understand!

    I was watching This Morning last week (shush, I know) and they mentioned The Moon Walk…made me think of you! x

  23. How dare your man mock you so! Does he not understand that ladies have to handle gravity differently because of our unique weight distribution? If he had boobs pulling him forward then he might understand!

    I was watching This Morning last week (shush, I know) and they mentioned The Moon Walk…made me think of you! x

    That looks TERRIFYING
    My ankles kind of shrank in my boots just looking at the photos, let alone the video

  25. That Dr. G is a riot!!

    Although, coming down is kinda scary sometimes…

    We spent our honeymoon in Scotland… We did alot of hillwalking and even managed a few Munroes! I love the wildness of the Scottish hills! *sigh*

  26. Well done joining the ‘2 down 282 to go’ club. I achieved that status on new year’s day, having been dragged up Ben Alligin (Torridon) by friends. Ben Vorlich was my first. I’m averaging one every 8 years I think! Benn Alligin is amazingly beautiful , but we went up the REALLY steep way. Worth the slog though, and self-righteousness at the top. Have been reading the blog for a while, love it – apart from making me nostalgic for my Edinburgh days!

  27. I thought I posted this a minute ago so apologies if it ends up appearing twice, but:

    Dr G is a very mean man. He doesn’t deserve you.

  28. bwahaha hilarious!!! sorry
    We’re heading to scotland for a week and a half at the end of July, can’t wait!

  29. Hey, that’s exaclty how I do it, no exaggeration. My husband & I were coming down a mountain once & I was sliding down on my bottom because there was all this loose scree on this really steep trail and I was sure I’d fall off if I relied on my feet to get me down. To my utter, utter horror, this other couple came scampering by us, dancing along like a couple of freaking mountain goats, and they wanted to know if I’d been injured and needed them to send for help. “Uh, no, no, I’m fine, just not very agile,” I had to confess, blushing horribly. I don’t think I’ve been up a mountain trail since.

  30. Well, when it is grassy and wet and one is weating waterproofs, I find sitting down, holding the bottom of ones trousers and skooting down the hill at high speed very satisfying. Try to stop before launching into a burn, though, always important…

  31. I totally agree – it looks TERRIFYING!!! I had no idea that you didn’t have nice paths . . . you rock!

  32. What a great video and I am so impressed with the hill walking (and jealous, I have go second Kada’s complaint about the concrete jungle business).

  33. Dr. G’s re-creation video was hysterical! Great photos too. Congrats on the no whining climb. Now THAT is an accomplishment!

  34. I don’t know how Dr G can mock what is a natural human failing. Up is fine, down is torture.

    I hate going down too so my bushwalking comments end with the ‘you think bl@@dy Parks and Wildlife could put an f’in decent track’ ‘Moan, bitch, moan, bitch etc.

    But it was very funny.

  35. OMG, that video had me laughing my ass off! I totally understand about decending, I freeze up with terror. Ok, I’m gonna go watch that video again!! ~j

  36. I love Scotland and will be visiting near Ben Nevis in August and hope to walk up it!

    Vid is too funny! But that is how I walk down too! LOL


  37. You two made my day. It’s 5am in Oregon (USA) right now and I think I just woke my little ones laughing outloud at your video clip. This is my first look at your amazing blog and I think I’m already addicted.

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