Saturday, April 24, 2010

eternal inspiration

One of the most inspiring people I have met in regards travelling was a little old lady who's name I don't even know.

It was 1986 and I was early in the Bicycle Europe trip and found myself in Fort William in Scotland. This is the town closest to the UK's highest mountain Ben Nevis.

A modest 1,344 metres in height, it is a 3 - 4 hour climb from sea level to the summit of what the locals refer to as "The Ben". Although not very high, even in June there was still a fair amount of snow remaining scattered around the top.

About 10 minutes from the top I passed an elderly woman on her way up wearing a daypack and carrying a hiking pole. Surprised, I gauged her age to be around 70-75. (More likely closer to the latter.)

When she arrived at where we were standing, she surveyed the splendid scene of the Scottish Highlands laid out at our feet and said:

"I'm SO glad it clear and sunny today - it was so cloudy last week you couldn't see a thing."

Slightly shocked I inquired as to her plans on descent to which she replies:

"I'm hitch-hiking to John O'Groats."

Come hell or high water I am determined to be just like that LOL (Little Old Lady) in my advancing years and hope to be buried with my hiking poles.

firth of forth bridge (you dont want a mouth full of yoghurt when you say it)

en route to the ben

a loch unlocking

summer snow patches

view from near the summit

paul and neal (a canadian cyclist we met on the road who joined us for 3 weeks)at the top

view down to loch eil from the summit


ben nevis from the web as i neglected to take my own photo!!


Mike said...

On my first day of walking the Great Glen Way out of Fort William 5 years ago, I encountered a man of nearly 80 carrying his backpack for the same 75 mile walk. He had plans for many more such hikes over the next 20 years.

TC said...

Hey mike - did you go up The Ben? I also remember the midge experience in Scotland - my first encounter with them and I ended up with over 60 bites. (They were the ones I could see to count!)

Mike said...

No not been up the Ben (yet). Of the three times I visited Fort William 2005-7, never once did I actually see more than half way up it!

Monka said...

Dr Culver!

You finished your PhD! Congratulations :)

TC said...

Hey Monka - yes - put it to bed a few years ago! Now what on earth am i going to do with it!! T.
ps The second post is the hardest!!(Keep at it)