Today I officially became a Hill Walker. With the ambition of becoming a Munro Bagger. I have dropped my ultimate ambition of climbing Everest after watching Extreme Everest and finding out just how many dead bodies litter the final ascent. And also I just know the last words I would hear are ‘she’s taking too long – cut her free’ before I fell to my death and lay where I fell for all eternity with other climbers averting their eyes as they clambered past. And also finding out you have to wear a nappy thing as you can’t go to the loo or your bum will freeze off put me off a bit. I mean I have had a bit of practice with Tena Lady – but a full on nappy is a step too far! And though it may seem trivial I didn’t realise you would have to queue to get to the summit. I have been known on regular occasions to dump my basket of shopping and walk out of Tesco in a hormonal rage if the queue is too long – so I’m bloody sure I’ll be queueing to get up Everest!
Anyway I digress – back to today. I am still fat despite having joined every Fat Class and attempted almost every type of exercise there is. In fact I am fattest ever with a menopausal midriff that the Post Office are considering giving its own postcode. Hill walkers are always skinny – fact! So I will be too. It appears I am also low on vitamin D – and a bit of daylight should help that. Also – I really really want some great Facebook posts on my hill walking – my personal facebook is rather empty just now – as it would just be a sequence of posts saying ‘watching Netflix eating the selection boxes we bought for Christmas but don’t have the will power to leave them in the cupboard’. I also want the ‘hill walking’ in the interests part of my CV to be rather more factually accurate than it is now.
I did attempt GoatFell in Arran in Summer with a couple of good friends but tbh my circle of friends bond more over alcohol and take aways than outdoor pursuits. So it wasn’t a total surprise when it started to rain and we decided to abandon our efforts and just book into the Auchrannie resort and drank cocktails and wine and have a huge meal. But an acquaintance at work said I should try Dumyat first then work up a bit. And that she would accompany me – she does lots of Munros so I knew I was in safe hands and so am planning to make her a really good friend. I really prepared as have joined a lot of hillwalking Facebook groups where the inexperienced and ill equipped are soundly derided. So proper hiking boots, a lovely paramo windproof waterproof mac, proper hiking socks, walking trousers, a hat, gloves, thermal vest and a buff thing to go round my hair. The walking trousers are too tight as apparently fat girls don’t go walking so could not get my actual size – but a good tip – thread a hair bobble through the hole then use it to fasten the button – gives you another few inches give round the belly. I have packed my lovely new green high vis rucksack with various snacks, lunch, torch, foil survival bag, whistle and a map and compass which I can’t actually read. Total cost – about £700 but if you see my partner – £60 in charity shop – as they are still banging on about the £600 bike I went on once and now languishes in the shed and my £50 a month gym membership that I only use once a week when they have fresh scones in the cafe bit and the £200 worth of running stuff that is now stuffed into a drawer somewhere. But at least if Mountain rescue come out they won’t be able to release a statement about how unprepared people like me should stay home. And I do think hill walking is the new me!
It is a gorgeous bright day and I get there a bit early. It is not wasted time though as the sun shows all the hairs on my chin and I have time to eliminate all of them with my car tweezers before she arrives.
Then I see her – in jeans, trainers and a leather jacket. WTF? She pisses herself (literally which is some comfort) when she sees me. I am not that amused tbh. She explains it is 40 mins up and 40 mins back – just a stroll. Doesn’t look like a feckin stroll to me as I gaze to the top of the mountain. It just goes downhill from there onwards tbh. We start at a gate with a big sign saying pretty much that if your dog even looks at a sheep it will be shot. Sweet Dog looks rather anxious despite having zero interest in any other living creature. I reassure her and we set off.
She strides on then stops to wait for me – then strides on – then stops to wait for me. I am feckin knackered and far too hot. The thermal vest wasn’t really needed. Or the gloves or hat. I am becoming too acquainted with her arse striding on in front of me. And as she gets a good rest waiting for me she is full of energy to stride on as I get there.
I tell her just to go on without me in the end. And she pretty much runs off without a backward glance. I stride on a few more steps then fall to the ground and scream as something – I think a bird hits off the back of my head. I don’t see anything but decide to have a rest and eat my Crunchie.
A few more steps and I take some good photos for Facebook. My right heel is rubbing on the boot and my left hip hurts but no-one will see that on Facebook. Then bang – something else hits my head. FFS – it is my bloody rucksack – the bit that goes over and clips down. Except the bloody clip thing isn’t working so slightest bit of wind and it come up and bashes me on the head. FFS – I thought it was the Farmer aiming a shot at Sweet dog for minute.
Then I see either a small cat or maybe a big kitten just down below me. Oh no. I know mountain rescue don’t come out for animals. I look carefully – it is possible that it is dead – it is not moving. I feel the menopausal tears coming on. I have had to stop watching Paul O’Gradys Love of Dogs because it breaks my heart. And we had to watch Children in Need on catch up so I could whiz past the sad stories. Imagine dying on this hill all alone. But then it moves a bit – it’s a alive. I make a decision – I am calling the RSPCA – I am googling the number as I slide slowly down the hill to where the cat is. Fortunately I have no signal as it is unlikely they would have been pleased to have been called out for a black beanie cap swaying a bit in the wind. It is time for me to start wearing my glasses all the time – but I am railing against it for now. I have a bar of Galaxy before heading on a bit further.
A bit further on and I stop to have my ham sandwich and opal fruits for energy. Sweet Dog discovers a bottle of what looks suspiciously like urine and insists on sitting beside me happily chewing on it which is a bit gross tbh. But she won’t be parted from it.
I walk on a bit further and am now very achy and have pretty much ate all my supplies yet I am not at the summit – indeed the summit looks very very far away. I turn to look at the view and hear a loud ping. My phone!! I scrabble for it keen to tell whoever it is I am up a mountain. ‘Get the FUCK out the way’ I hear and look up to see six mental looking cyclists racing down the hill right for me. It wasn’t my phone it was their feckin bells pinging. FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING IDIOTS I scream as adrenalin and menopausal rage takes over. Why would you cycle down a bloody mountain when there are tons of cycle paths. One tries to turn to give me the finger and careers off the edge of the path which makes me a bit happier.
I then see my pal who might not actually be my pal for much longer come towards me. She has made it up and back down. She warns me there are a couple of bulls just a bit further up. FFS! I smile and pretend that is something me and Sweet Dog deal with on a daily basis and carry on. I look back occasionally wondering if she might slip in the cowpats I passed. And an hour later I am there. At the top. And it is amazing. I take lots and lots of photos at the summit and whatsapp/tweet/facebook and instagram them. I rest a bit longer and look at the chinese takeaway menu on my phone deciding what to order as after all this exercise I think I deserve it!
Have to go now as the chinese delivery will be here in ten – netflix is all set ready to go – and the wine should be really really cold now….