Friends, collies and Water Hounds,
With the weather set fair this was to be our biggest Munro day ever; four monsters in one long walk. We already knew B’s legs didn’t carry her as fast as the man who wrote one of our guide books. He said this walk would take 6 hours but then he doesn’t stop for lunch, or do much sniffing around or – for that matter – cocking of leg (well at least I hope not). Then, of course, there is the not inconsiderable number of seconds taken in the giving of treats. Another book that B reads says our walk would be between 6 and 8 hours and I reckoned the upper limit might be a bit more like it, given the age of her legs. We picked up a leaflet about the estate at the gate, at the beginning of our walk, that said I had to be on my lead the whole way around. I couldn’t even run free for a little while, if I came across a stick that was begging me to pick it up and go off on a run together. The man who walks very fast had told us to expect the gate to be festooned with notices about don’t do this and don’t do that. However, all that seems to be in the leaflet now because, when we arrived, there were just two notices, which B had to read out to me. One said forestry operations and the other said path blocked. We weren’t sure what to do. I didn’t like the idea of operations. I had one of those a while ago and it was very unpleasant indeed. I don’t think I’ve been the same dog ever since. Anyway, we decided to forge ahead and see what happened.
The first part of the walk wasn’t very comfortable because we had to keep clambering over all these stupid tree trunks that had fallen over and got in our way. Soon enough though we were on a nice broad track and that was when people started overtaking us. It was a nice day but with my fur coat it was a tad on the warm side, so I was grateful that the sun only peeped out from behind the cloud sometimes. I like the blue stuff but, like most things (with the exception of my treats) you can have too much of a good thing. It was a bit of a pull up to Car Gorm, the first Munro, but we got there eventually and I met a couple of nice humans to have a chat and a stroke with, on the way up; like me they had just started doing Munros. We wished each other luck and then pushed on. B really likes it when people say hello to me because it means she can stop and have a rest. I’m getting used to this thing they call a wide sweep, where you have a good look all around and bark, “we did that one yesterday” or, “we’re doing those ones tomorrow” or perhaps, “look there’s the iconic Ben Lawers range”. I look up at B and she tells me, “we’ll be up there one day”.
Anyway, what with the cuddles, the wide sweeping and the taking of treats, to say nothing of sniffing and cocking , it took us a long time to get to our first summit. I quite liked the top of Carn Gorm because there was a long flat stone I could sit on to have my photograph taken.
Not like some of those horribly uncomfortable jagged stones, that seem to be the mainstay of summit cairns. So, I was really happy and trying to look my best when suddenly I was assailed by lots of walkers, all coming towards me to touch my nice flat stone. Well now, I wasn’t having that and I told them, in no uncertain barks. Then me and B had to make a pretty hasty retreat, which suited me fine; I’m not great in crowds.
Next there was the infuriating walk down, which gives you a false sense of not feeling as bad as you did when you hauled yourself up to the top, only to have that particular illusion shattered as soon as the down runs out and you have to start clambering up again.
B was beginning to struggle a bit here but I think a lot of it was psychological, knowing there were another two of these big down and ups to go. I tried to help with some mind over matter, motivational bark, but I think it might have been sheer relief that caused the big sigh when we got to the top of our next Munro. If Carn Gorm had been the summit cairn of choice then Meall Garb’s was the one from hell. The joker who assembled all those bits of rusty fence posts wasn’t thinking of a poor dog, who had to sit on them for his photo shoot.
Love Ben xx