Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ain't no mountain high enough

We're in Arran at the moment - a mini-break (and possibly our only holiday this summer) as the children have been on their summer break for nearly two weeks and I've recovered from the last chemotherapy session. LH's parents live here, and I'm always looking for an excuse to come over. It's a beautiful island, I love the fresh air and the views are spectacular.

We've been going on daily treks since we arrived - as I won't be able to get my gym fix, it's my way of getting fit. Yesterday, we decided to climb Goat Fell. At nearly 2,900 feet, Goat Fell falls short of a Munro, but it's a pretty challenging climb nonetheless. It wouldn't have been my first time to climb it: LH and I did it a couple of years ago but we thought it would be fun to do it again. So, armed with a few chocolate bars and a camera, we made our way with LH's parents, the children and my nieces and nephew, who are also visiting from the mainland. A motley crew indeed.

When we set off, Goat Fell's peak was covered in cloud; and although the locals say the mountain should not be climbed if you cannot see the peak, we decided to go for it anyway. The sun was out and we figured that pretty soon it would burn off the clouds.

Sadly, halfway through the climb LH's dad turned back - but at 73 years old, he had done very well to get as far as he did. A couple of hours later however, over three-quarters of the way up, LH's mum, my niece E and daughter N also decided that they had had enough. I could certainly understand LH'S mum (I will not mention her age here as I do not want to incur her wrath) as she had a fall a few years ago and broke her ankle, and it's never fully recovered. She had done extremely well to get so high up the mountain. I couldn't really say anything to niece E, as she is my niece and not my daughter. However, I found myself very cross with N. I felt she was giving up too easily and not trying her best. I will spare everyone the gory details and just say that words were said and tears shed by my poor daughter; at this point I was so cross I decided to abandon the climb as well.

As soon as we made our way down however, I realised that I still had the camera, so I left N with LH's mum and chased after the rest who had gone a fair distance. Huffing and puffing (I'd had to run quite a way up) I caught up with them - but this is simply because they had decided to turn back too. Nephew C was cold and LH felt that it was pretty dangerous as the cloud had not burnt off as we hoped it would - the peak was still covered in cloud and in fact we were in it. I was extremely frustrated at this point - I told LH that since he was turning back, he could climb down whilst I would continue on with sons C and E and niece N. But LH counselled me against it - it was too hazy thus making it risky to do.

Embarrassingly, I lost it then. Although I did not rant and rave like a madman, I walked away purposefully and started to stomp my way down the mountain. And I stomped all the way down. And because I had stomped and stomped with absolute feeling, I hurt my right knee in the process and was hobbling like a drunken pensioner who had just finished a marathon by late afternoon. The worst thing is no-one said anything about it; although they commiserated over my sore and swollen knee they never mentioned the manic stomping - it became the Voldemort of the day.

LH and I did eventually talk about it (thank goodness as it gave me the chance to finally laugh at myself) and although I had initially blamed my sense of humour failure on my frustration at not reaching the peak, I think a lot of it boiled down to the fact that I wanted to prove to myself - and everyone - that neither cancer nor chemotherapy would get me down. And although I have in the past admitted defeat because of chemotherapy this time I will not. Because I know for a fact that if not for that obdurate cloud we would've definitely made it. Anyway Goat Fell is not going anywhere and neither am I; so I can always climb it another day.

1 comment:

  1. haha I can just picture you stomping down that rocky path mumbling under your breath....Homer Simpson style 'stupid mountain'!
    Don't be too hard on yourself (or the others).....those big hilly things can turn nasty at the blink of an eye and the locals are ALWAYS right about these things!
    Just think..the next time you stand atop that summit with the sun warming your will be free of that evil crab and that need to prove yourself (unless you try again tomorrow of course!) x