A Stunning Red Head

I was excited and scared. I haven’t set a foot on a hill since what, November? I know I’ve lost fitness, but the lingering tiredness from my bout of covid and also my ragged mental state from what might be the most stressful weeks of my life made the simple and oh so regular task of shooting up the crags feel like an almost impossible task.

I was was encouraged by the brightness of both the day through the window and the words coming at me through my phone, go everything said.
Once I was packing and getting dressed I was focused (a rare state for me at any time) and in the end it was okay getting there and getting out of my old ladies car (I currently have a VW Polo which was mother’s until the truck gets new steering, and various other bits and pieces…), it was when I had to negotiate the groups of unmasked, living breathing people that I stated to waver a little.

Everyone got space, and very few got a nod never mind my usually grinning and uninvited welcome. It was uncomfortable.
I took a right to take the track to the steps, the sun was playing on the crags and splashes of glowing white below the blue sky and ribbons on cloud.
That pulled me on as I started to feel the incline, first in my legs and then my chest. I kept the pace even and low, I breathed in deeply and took in the view behind me many times and I got the the highest point in better nick than I’d expected.

I think maybe anxiety had tightened my chest as much as the weeks of inactivity because from here on I felt better. My head cleared a little as I felt calmer, my legs seemed to be working fine and my lungs took me up the zigzag gully to the crag edge without issue.
On the edge was just glorious. Snow on the peaks, snow in the glens, snow under my feet. Snow up to my ankles actually.

Sometimes you get that fleeting moment of newness, your eyes forget, your brain is working on other business and it feels like the first time all over again, just for a moment before the internal processing catches up and tells you to put on your windshirt and hat because you’ve done this your whole life and you should know better than stand about misty eyed and getting cold.
Well screw you brain, I had my wee moment and I loved it.

It was late when I left and the sun was already low and the light was already colouring the snow gold and pink. I stopped at the far end of the ridge to break out my flask, take some photies and soak it all in.
I must having been feeling myself by then too because I caught two passersby and gave them all the banter I’d been saving during my downtime.
Liam is a local snapper and Lowe Alpine ambassador, and is younger than the Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap I was wearing. He’s in the early days of his adventuring and I could sense his enthusiasm and energy. Be interesting to see where he ends up, good luck young yin.
Jim is a few years ahead of me, another local, long finished his Scottish rounds and now looking to visiting all the islands. We chatted 2m apart about life, engineering and local history as we descended into the evening.
These were joyful meetings, thank you both.

Two things stick with me as I write this on a Saturday morning. Lowe Alpine Mountain Caps are excellent and I’m glad I stopped wearing mine because it’s in mint condition despite being bought I think in ’97 or maybe ’96.
Second is that I am absolutely wrecked today, everything hurts.

Still, I’m thankful to be moving again, there are many that won’t have that chance.

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