24/03/12 Colin the Munro Bagger

I chose to stay in Poolewe for a couple of days because there seemed to be a steady stream of folk who wanted to chat – and accept my none-business card with a smile.

An older couple came over for a chat – admiring the positioning of my tent in amongst the daffodils. She was English and he, at a guess, was German. After hearing my introductory spiel, he told me that he’d had a nervous breakdown – I smiled, shook his hand, and welcomed him to the club.

We talked a little about what got him there – but after touching on stress at work, he became more reluctant – he mentioned that the psychiatrist had put him on the wrong medication – he said he didn’t want to talk about him – he wanted to hear more about me. Even with my cunning ‘turn it around’ sneaky techniques he managed to avoid talking about his situation…

“it’s all in the past…” his wife said.
I met 3 German guys – incredibly laden with rucksacks – grinning and taking photographs of my tent.

“Er….?” I enquired

They explained that this would never happen in Germany – putting a tent up in a public park was illegal punishable by a fine, imprisonment and a slow death spit roasted over an open fire….I might have made those last two up.

My image of Germany was somehow different – I imagined hoards of campers in the Bavarian forests – living off the land and so on…

Our particular 3 musketeers were enjoying the freedom of Scotland – basically bothy hopping carrying copious amounts of whiskey. They grinned when I asked them if they were walking on trails…

“…er no, because there are no buses, we got a taxi here…”

Well I laughed.

Which brings me to Colin – the university lecturer and Munro Bagger. You may or may not be aware but your Munro is a type of mountain in Scotland higher than (quick google) 3000 feet.

There are currently 283 Munros and Colin has climbed all of them twice.
There ensued a lot of rambler talk from what to carry in your rucksack to what not to carry in your rucksack and the friendliness of the folk you meet.

Colin was great company. He would have bought me lunch had I not had 2 scotch pies for breakfast. The reason I make such a point in saying this is that he’s self professed in his discomfort around other humans – and yet here we were…

We chatted for hours – he goes to the hills to avoid folk and yet… He’s so friendly…

Brilliant. You work it out.

I, on the other hand, like hills but am afraid of heights.

Enjoying that particular juxtaposition he told me about his climb of the inaccessible point on the isle of Skye.

Through my terror – my memory of the story is something like this…

The inaccessible point is a pinnacle of rock stuck on the top of a big mountain. 1000ft drops were mentioned. Such is the point that one is deemed to have bagged this particular Munro by placing your hand on the top.

The second time he climbed it he found it was a couple of feet shorter. The top had been blasted off when it had been struck by lightning.

There – I’m justified in my fear …so there…

Tomorrow – the weather is so gorgeous – he’s going to be reckless – walking into the hills with no anorak – a banana, a sandwich, and a compass – I taught him all he knows about travelling light.
Like that’s all going to break his fall when he plummets 1000 feet….

Colin – the Munro Bagger and sociable introvert.

Walk a mile

Chris

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