Six months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Blimey, I thought (or something similar.) I had surgery. It was all a bit grim. Now, my body is recovering……but my head’s doing itself in. And that’s not healthy. The Challenge is to sort out my mental as well as physical well-being. The two go hand-in-hand. I decided I needed an endorphin rush to get me to the next stage of my recovery.
So, I’m walking back to health and happiness. Last week, I scrubbed and dubbed boots that had seen no action in a long time. Hiking paraphernalia which had long languished in the cupboard was dusted down and maps were consulted. (I love maps, they are like memories of places tramped and good times had. I’m never happier than in the grand outdoors huddled over a map with a flask of tomato soup and a cheese and pickle roll.) For many (mostly indefensible) reasons, I’ve neglected my favourite hobby in recent years but now feel an overwhelming urge to lace up my boots and rediscover the hills and glens.
In my thirties and forties I was quite an ambitious hiker, and scaled many of Scotland’s Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet). My proudest achievement was in 2000 when I traversed the Aonach Eagach ridge, (pictured) a petrifying, three-kilometre scramble between two peaks. Who’d have thought that sea level was so far down? I never want to experience that kind of exposure again. These days I’ll be sticking to lower level walks.
Coming soon: News of another Challenge!