When the Summer was just arriving, we saw Johnny Marr play in Hyde Park and generally rated him a "total legend". As a result, when he announced his tour dates, it was a prerequisite that we should go. The only slight challenge was that the initial gig list did not have any dates in London (he comes from Manchester, so he probably has issues about softie Southerners). I looked down the venues to find the next most convenient gig.... which was probably Northampton or something. So obviously, we chose the gig furthest away from where we live - Inverness. It might sound bonkers but our favourite walking place is Torridon and that's only an hour and a bit from Inverness, so why not take advantage? We usually visit Torridon in the Winter when the tops look like this (but less sunny if I am honest):
Anyway, we had four days and it actually decided to stop raining for us (something of a minor miracle). A window of good weather in the Highlands means you have to "go for it" (i.e. do one of the bigger walks regardless of how mountain fit your legs are). We chose the full ridge traverse of Beinn Alligin - the mountain in these photos. Isn't she fine? Do you see the big crack down the middle of the centre summit? Its more visible in the snowy picture taken on Christmas day last year. To the right of that are the three Horns of Alligin. These are actually the tricky things in the snow and ice because getting over them requires some exposed scrambling - not so bad in dry conditions, but tricky when icy - and dangerous if you slip. This time we had no excuse, other than our (my) fear, which is never a good enough reason not to do something. In case you are remotely interested, if you look at the middle picture, we walked from the trees by Loch Torridon into the valley to the right of the mountain, up the Horns, and then along the ridge. You come down via the Corrie to the left of the final summit. All the time the hills were echoing with the sounds of the rutting stags (think bellowing bull in pain). We did the traverse in respectable five and a half hours (but not forgetting three days of leg pain afterwards). So what is it that draws us to these mountains? For me, its not just a communing with nature thing, though that is a huge part of it. These mountains always remind me that, a lot like most tricky situations in life, they always look WAY more scary at the beginning than they do at the end. Quite often I look up and think "there is NO way I can get up that". But then I put one foot in front of the other and BLIMEY...you arrive. Would ya believe it??? So sometimes its not just the view that gets you, its the fact that you did something which you thought was impossible/too difficult, and you prove to yourself (again) that its tackling the hard stuff that makes you feel epic. After all that, we went back home via that Johnny Marr concert. Best detour to a Johnny Marr concert ever.