I turned 40 at the end of the September #sadface.
As annoying and frustrating as it is, there is nothing I can do about that, might as well just get on with it. I am strong and fit so I cannot complain but I can slowly feel the time bearing down. There is so much to do and see, and I would prefer to achieve this while I am a relatively fit. Due to various reasons I always preferred or was only able to do hiking or scrambling in the mountains rather than a proper rock climbing. I have climbed multiple times but mostly indoors or occasionally climbed artificial climbing walls in the parks. As my birthday present, my family decided that we should go to Scotland and have a proper rock climbing session. I wasn’t notified of that idea so it was all planned as a surprise. I did manage to find out accidentally about this, few days before. Never mind, some things just happen, or not.
As the base my wife has chosen a place we visited before and absolutely love – Glencoe. At the back of our rented caravan, we could see a part of beautiful Aonach Eagach, the longest ridge in UK. Scottish Highlands are described as the eldest mountains in the world and they offer truly unique and stunning views. Moreover, an experience that you won’t be able to feel or see anywhere else in the world. Just a mile walk down the path from our caravan was the Clachaig Inn, a pub and hotel that offers tasty meals and and locally brewed drinks. Most importantly has an excellent view on Aonach Eagach and that includes famous trail Clachaig Gully. Just across the road, the parts of Harry Potter film was shot. You can actually see where the Hagrid’s hut was standing, and as our Hurricane pointed out looking at the Lake nearby, the famous Expecto Patronum was cast by famous young wizard.
As I mentioned above, the important part of Scottish trip was a family rock climbing session. Our guide Richard chose a place called Polldubh near Ben Nevis. Upon arrival we had to choose our harness and climbing shoes which became a real issue for Froggy. He wanted to climb the rocks but his autistic brain struggled to cope with idea of wearing harness. Richard suggested to carry the harness for a now rather than wear it, Froggy agreed. This has given him some time to absorb the information that he will have to wear it shortly. Also, Mrs Sting bribed him with a promise of Coca Cola after the session.
Climbing in Glen Nevis.
We took all the gear and went to the place. Richard set everything up and we could start our lesson. Ladies first, as Polish gentleman would say. Both where eager but little bit scared, tried their best while Froggy agreed to put harness on. However, he only climbed two meters up the wall with our help. When it was my turn, I managed to climb up as high as I could but honestly rock climbing is something I instantly fell in love with. Climbing shoes felt a little bit like cheating in comparison to big mountain boots because it felt so much easier, but then I guess if you want to climb bigger walls than they are invaluable piece of equipment.
We tried different routes up the wall with climbing shoes and normal mountain boots just to feel the difference. We tried some abseiling during which Froggy managed to put his harness back and stayed secured, safely attached to the ropes. This was actually a big achievement. Froggy was absolutely terrified of abseiling to the point that he was screaming in fear for a time what felt like hours. Eventually he calmed down after lots of reassurance. He did not abseil down, he walked down other path kindly guided by Rich. The ladies were a little bit scared while abseiling. Especially Hurricane needed a lot of prompting and motivation. A huge well done to them for fighting their own fear and overcoming it.
From my perspective I can only say that I have had the most fun for a long time. Even though Richard may made whole process save and explained all safety aspects of rock climbing, I could still feel the adrenaline. Being able to climb in various conditions like rain, mist, sun is unbelievable experience. Scottish mountains, unlike Alps, offer all four seasons in one day. Anyway, I instantly fell in love with this activity and, as a family, we decided to do it more often. Overall, it was the best present I have had for a long time if not ever. Being able to be around the nature, and make hard physical activities is absolutely priceless. Strongly recommended for anybody!