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 walkhighlands.co.uk, 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.
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.
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|