Looking back, last month seems a bit of a blur. The end of my Coldest Corbett journey was in sight and I had stepped up my pace into a faster gear. I will never cease to be amazed at how a finish line can draw energy where there seemed to be non to spare. Driven by an arbitrary end date I nearly doubled my average day over the last month both in summits and distance, immersed in a challenge of my own creation I felt myself slip off the edge of the world. Throughout my journey I hashtagged the phrase #ResetYourRoutine in an effort to encourage others to pursue something new, but perhaps ironically my daily cycle was pretty much always the same…
Make Coffee, push myself to exhaustion, return to the van, eat, sleep, repeat.
It is only now that I am finished and am resetting my routine to a more conventional existence that I have had the chance to look back on the journey for what it was. An adventure.
For the last six months, life has been simple. When problems arose they were easy to solve and as immediate as covering a blister or adjusting a route. As long as I could afford fuel for me and my van I could keep going. There were highlights, shared memories and sunset camps, those few lowlights were quickly faded by the regular addition of company. I often found myself wondering why I enjoy these long challenges, [ normally when it is wet and I can’t see very much], I know it is not just about the view for over half the peaks I saw cloud. Instead I find there is value in the many hours of movement without a conscious thought, just energy, a simple existence that seems harder and harder to find in a world full of distraction. But spend enough time alone and those thoughts can go the other way, they can consume you, taking you to light and dark places alike. Social solitude must be balanced with regular doses of good company and maybe a little whisky. This journey has made me truly realise that a view shared is always more fulfilling with that memory now lingering in more mind than one. Summiting Little Wyvis with 40 others, some as young as 10 years old, was a momentous and bizarre feeling. The realisation that at that moment one chapter is closing and the next is opening. It is a feeling to which I am no stranger, looking across to Ben Wyvis a familiar memory echoed from just three years before, I had felt then much the same way as I had tapped its summit and my final munro. Surrounded by old and new friends, some whom I had met on this journey, I felt at that moment that I could accomplish anything. To think of two hundred and twenty two mountains as a whole is daunting, to tackle them one by one was achievable. I truly feel now that I know Scotland, and in saying that I mean I know just how much is left to explore. There is lifetime of adventure spread across our doorstep. Whilst I tapped my final Corbett round it is by no means my last, nor has the invitation to join me come to an end. To all those who joined, followed and wrote as I went I owe you the deepest gratitude, this has been a fantastic adventure and I hope to see you out there somewhere again.
Now with summer approaching I am climbing back into my kayak, there are many big adventures in the pipeline, I am told the trick to keep sane is to keep moving, so that is what i’ll do.
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. – René Daumal
Here are a few highlights from April as I ran and rode around Kintail, Torridon and Ullapool in photos.