After the sadness of this week it is good to go back to earlier in the week when I was privileged to get 2 days of superb weather in the North West. I walked in the evening before to the wonderful Mountain Bothy of Sheneval. Pete who I was meeting had a superb Alpine day over 3 of the great Fisherfield mountain in truly alpine condition. He arrived at the bothy after a 10 hour day and after a good meal he “snored” the sleep of the just! The weather held the next day and we headed off for one of the remote Munro’s Ruadh Stac Mor. It was a wonderful day and Pete was going very strongly we split up after 2 hours. My hip was very sore but what a day what views Pete charged on to his summits and after 5 hours I headed back for 4 hour walk. The superb paths make travel so good and such a delight to be on, it is amazing thought that this is how people travelled with good and animals in the past. The weather was magnificent and the views of especially An Teallach were incredible. The mountain looked so Alpine and its unseen ridges to many Munro baggers were so inviting. I was watching the weather and could see the change coming the high cirrus giving a good guide to a big storm on the way.
I had a superb walk out with lots of memories a week in Sheneval with two great friends Mark Cheeky Sinclair and Al Mac Leod both sadly gone, killed in the mountains. It was a winter week in the 80’s I will always remember we did a new line on An Teallach and a couple on Beinn Dearg Mor and a superb line on Beinn Tharsiunn, none of them recorded. I am not a great climber and got dragged up but I was a lot fitter and younger then. I then had a day off whilst they climbed another line . I went on to Beinn Dearg Mor and what a day that was, how did I get up there? It is a wild hill in the winter one of Scotland;s finest. I was laughing with the memories as I crossed the rivers back to the bothy. I quick tidy up in the bothy grab all the rubbish and then the long pull back to Corrie Hallie. I passed the herd of hinds on the flats all enjoying the sun and just revelled in the mountains. It was heavy snow in places but the views and clarity were outstanding. An Teallach dominating and taking the mind of the pain of a battered body. The path was icy and now freezing hard ice was everywhere and I soon made it to the car and the radio on for the football. Pete was not far behind me so happy with his summits and very tired. We drove back in the dark in a winter wonderland a blizzard. Herds of deer were on the road and we took it easy. One massive Stag on the road of Destitution stood its ground and gave me that look, “I rule around here” and then sauntered off into the snow. Pete was by now yawning and struggling to stay awake, he slept the whole way to Inverness. A quick chip shop stop and home for the second half of the Celtic game and heartbreak.
Then the news flooded in about tragedies in the mountains and there was more to come. It has been a difficult week families will be mourning the tragedy and young energetic lives lost. Many of the survivors will be effected for life by this weeks events. The mountains can bring such joy and sadness in a short time. Why do we do it? To ask the question it is easy to answer it more difficult. We do it as we love these wild special places, the wind on our faces, the feeling of space and nature in its raw beauty and the solitude of the mountains. We do it because we live breath and love these places they are in our soul and our reason for living.