Friday, January 4, 2013

Clachnaben Take Two: Challenge Accepted

Since it’s the first Friday of 2013, I thought about doing my Highs and Lows of 2012 today. But since I did my epically long 2012 review earlier in the week, I thought it might be a bit redundant. So instead, here’s a recap of our day so far:

This was another holiday filled week which meant Jonathan had 2.5 days off of work. When we saw that his Friday off was going to coincide with some sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures, we decided to plan a hike.
I was overwhelmed by the choices on, but also limited since the current amount of daylight we’re cursed with keeps us within a 60 mile radius. I’m starting to feel bored with Aberdeenshire and itching to explore some turf further south. However, since some of the other ‘shires’ require a 4 hour round trip, we know in the back of our minds we’d better stay close until Spring arrives. 

Eventually I handed the hike picking task over to Jonathan and the following conversation occurred: 
Jonathan: What about Clachnaben? 
Me: You can’t handle Clachnaben (said in my sassiest ‘You can’t handle the truth’ voice). 
Jonathan: Challenge accepted (Said in his creepiest Barney Stensen voice). 

So that’s how I found myself lacing up my boots for a return trip up the intimidating hill. For the original experience, read this blog post.
Angus’s mom Jillian is out of town and since his Dad had work today, we offered to take the lab pup on our hike with us. Jillian and Ryan think we did them a favor, but actually, we’ve noticed that Bailey stays a lot closer to us if Angus is nearby, so it was really a selfish act
Siamese twins.
Sure enough, they were both on their best behavior and had a great time chasing each other up the mountain. The climb was even steeper than I remembered and my calves are still burning from the excursion. However, the realization that I have to be swim-suit ready for the hot tub at our ski chalet in less than 2 months kept me motivated. Still, I had to stop for several “photo opportunities” and also to take my fleece off. 
It was straight up warm outside. So warm in fact that the midges (Scottish Mosquitoes) were out of hibernation. I hiked this same hill in November and I wore a ski jacket. Here we were in January and I was wearing a thin long sleeve shirt and passing other walkers in shorts and short sleeves. 

The weather in Scotland seriously never does what you think it’s going to do. Just as we were gearing up for a miserable winter, a warm front comes through. Weird. But even if it was a cold day, the practically vertical ascent would have been enough to break a sweat. 
Luckily a breeze greeted us at the summit and we relished the cool air as we guzzled down some water. 
Jonathan decided the summit wasn’t challenging enough so he rock climbed up the tor. 
I got about halfway up as well and posed for some pictures with my girl. 

These are truly some of my favorite moments in Scotland. I love the fresh air, the adrenaline, the work out, the beauty, and the quality time with my family/friends. In that moment, I was so glad that Jonathan accepted the challenge of Clachnaben and got me out of my PJs for the first time in 3 days. 
 Of course all of these lovey warm fuzzy feelings always come along with ‘hill-climbing amnesia’. The summit is always exhilarating. Your mind minimizes the work it took to get you there and temporarily blocks out the effort it will take the get you back down. I felt like our return trip to the car took forever
My friends’ Nary and Tanvi nicknamed Clachnaben, ‘Clach-never-end’ during our Explorer’s hike there in the Fall, and I see their point. Of course, that walk was 11 miles. This one was only 6. I tried to lure Jonathan with a sassy “You can’t handle the 11 mile circuit’, but he was beyond manipulation at that point and just ready to get home. Good thing too, because our seemingly insatiable hiking buddies were even starting to tucker out by the end of it. 
We’re taking it easy tonight and heading to the mall for some burgers and an 8 o’clock showing of The Hobbit. We’ll see if the New Zealand scenery really surpasses what we have here in Scotland. I’ve heard it’s a tight race, and I hope to be able to make the comparison for myself one day.  
Photo source, from The Hobbit, filmed in New Zealand


  1. I'll have to see if I can get Steve to go on that hike! Looks great! Maybe Sunday we will tackle it. Did you enjoy The Hobbit?

  2. I can't believe you climbed it again! But glad Jonathan got to see it along with the pups. Wish I could go on a hike since the weather in Dubai is great for it this time of year, but sadly they don't have that here:(

  3. Love the Siamese twins picture :-) I know Angus loved tagging along with his girl!! Miss you guys!!