Oh Boy! That was HARD…! I needed inspiration…

Ben More and Stob Binnein demanded everything I had.

Those two opponents, AD and KG did everything they could to stop me. AD (Ano Domini), will kill me eventually but will have to try a wee bit harder. He caught my knees today, around 1000m above sea level. He was helped by my other adversary KG (Kilo Gram – whom I have in my sights).
So today, alone in the clouds – I needed inspiration, and so, I touched ‘The Happy Isles’. I did not yield (*).
This was a return to the Highlands after 19 years. One cannot just ‘walk’ in the Highlands without respecting them; their weather and their awesome beauty – even under a high blanket of cloud. To say the least – I was apprehensive.
I found all the somewhat indistinct tracks. The uphill was relentless. A lot of bogs, but at least the lovely Bog Asphodel was in flower.

 It was harder than any day on the Camino. Walking these hills – for the first time on my own – is hard. I realise more than ever the value of a friend in tough places.

I reached the summit of Ben More after 2 1/2  hours. The wind and cloud (not per forecast) made it bitterly cold.
On to Stob Binnein. I saw one walker descending at the bealach, having climbed to the summit. 

The climb was just as steep as Ben More – but thankfully less boggy.

The downhill after Stob Binnein was knee-jarringly steep. In sections it was steep loose mud and steep loose rocks. My poor old knees gave up on me a couple of times, and I landed in deep, deep ooze. The sheep looked on and I swear – they were laughing.

All in all – 1300m of ascent and descent. Only 13km, but oh, so steep.

(*). And now I leave you with my inspiration. If you know (and as I do, love) the works of Tennyson, then you will know this as an extract from Ulysses. If I err in my memory please – put it down to age…
“It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And though we are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will;
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

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