I’ve been a good boy this weekend. I made some wholemeal bread on Saturday, went walking in Glen Affric on Sunday and, if I’d had broccoli for dinner when I came home, I’d probably have been so healthy I’d have become immortal. Being immortal would probably be a bit of a drag and I know that no matter how long I live there are a few jars of chutney at the back of my cupboard, my mate Joe gave me, I’ll just never get round to using.
Glen Affric, it has to be said was amazing this weekend, a riot of colour. Autumn is the best time to visit that area, when the leaves are turning gold. Autumn is what the Americans call fall, I’ve only just realised that they must call it that because that’s when the leaves fall off the trees. Amazing it’s taken me only fifty years to work that one out.
I set off this morning walking up the glen towards Toll Creagach. I managed to miss the junction with the path that leads off the land rover track and up on to the ridge for the second time this year. This is partly because the junction isn’t where you’d expect it to be. I don’t mean it’s on the wrong place on the map, that certainly isn’t true, but it’s somehow not where you think it should be. The main reason I missed it is that I was striding along deep in thought and not paying enough attention, a fault that has bedevilled me since primary school days if my early school reports are to be believed. I’d like to think I was thinking about something deep and meaningful, like, “Why are we all here?” and “Is there such a thing as free will,” but I actually think I was laughing at some knob gags I’d heard Mickey Flanagan tell the night before on the TV. Ah the shame of it.
The path up from the glen proved to be a series of cairns linked by a thin strip of bog. It reminded me of my life, a series of disasters seamlessly linked together. The weather was also playing tricks this weekend. The forecast definitely mentioned sunshine yet all the way up on to the ridge the sun was nowhere to be seen. Then, few hundred feet below the ridge, it put in a brief appearance. This was a ruse aimed at luring me further up the hill as I was faltering at the time and thinking about going down. This worked and I carried on up but as soon as I crested the ridge I was hit by a sudden rain shower that soaked me through. The trap had sprung.
On the ridge it was a two jacket day and surprisingly cold, well below freezing if you take into account the wind chill and my hands complained bitterly. Well it’s only October, why would I carry gloves? As soon as I descended to the glen to escape the rain, you guessed it, the sun came out. Then the weather managed to bath me in sunshine whilst raining on me at the same time which is just showing off if you ask me.
On the way down I spotted these fungi which some passing mycologist might be able to identify. I had them with sausages when I got home and the two pixies who are now sitting opposite me couldn’t remember the name of the mushroom either. (I made that bit up, no letters please.) The weather played tricks on me all day and by the end of it I was exhausted after taking my jacket on and off all the time.
I drove back to Inverness in glorious autumnal sunshine. Weather 1 John 0.