Sometimes being rooted in a place makes it harder to convince myself to go out and explore it. As Walt Disney said, “Everyone needs deadlines”, and this applies to getting all things done: work, but also play. The constraints of a temporary home comes with the appropriate urgency necessary to enjoy it properly. But I, without an Edinburgh expiration date, have been neglecting the beautiful mountains that drew me up to the epic north in the first place.
This is no problem that a birthday list cannot solve. Monkey and I chose a destination for climbing this year – the Cairngorms – and once it was written down, I was committed to making it happen. We live stupidly close to such amazing weekend opportunities, so convenient that we can just go on a whim. But whims don’t always happen, especially if our minds need to process the faff of figuring out how to get to a place, where to camp, what to eat, what it’s like.
So we put the Cairngorms on the calendar. The weather said rain, but in Britain when does it ever not say rain? Sure enough it did not show.
I need continual reminder that nothing compares to spending an entire day outside in nature, an entire night in a tent under the stars. Fresh air and pure, amazing views in abundance. True, we did find ourselves in an all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant Saturday night, but it felt especially deserved. We climbed to earn our meals.
Saturday consisted of a long walk-in, which for us usually means talking about video games. Walking for a while, I forgot that in this case there was an end goal, and it was a glorious surprise to see the corrie suddenly in front of us, waiting to be climbed.
Outdoor climbing is way different from indoor climbing. Indoors, the challenge is mostly physical, then mental for me, but outdoors, the mental part definitely comes first. It is nice to know that I am climbing comfortably within my grade, so nothing should be impossibly strenuous, but other factors come into play, like freezing cold hands on freezing cold rock, and, notably, at the last couple of pitches, some loose rock making it even harder to trust feet (and sometimes, heads). We did reach the top, and made it to the car in daylight, but it took a while to regain feeling in my hands and feet. Hence deserving the pizza.
We agreed that we had exerted ourselves enough that day to have a more leisurely Sunday, which was spent walking around Loch an Eilein
, where we met many puppies. It reminded me of my beloved Walden Pond
. We finished the weekend with a Sunday lunch at the Old Bridge Inn
bustling pub/gig venue in Aviemore that was fully booked the previous night. Our tea was again, deserved.
If there is an escape near your town that you’ve been meaning to visit, why wait? Put it on the calendar :)