I have been horizontal mountaineering again. If you’re wondering what that is, pour yourself a small vat of sherry and cut yourself a slice of Madeira cake, then I’ll explain.
It’s actually quite difficult to get down to the shore round here, as is the case nearly everywhere I guess, as you’d have to go through someone’s garden or field to get there. But I have found a place called … The Fairy Glen. And well named it is too.
Just off the single-track road, there’s a gate hidden in the foliage. After faffing about with the fiddly latch, you find yourself on an extremely narrow path that runs down by the side of a burn to the sea. I have become somewhat paranoid about catching Lyme disease from ticks of late and so, even though I’m wearing knee-length wellies and have sprayed my troosers with lotions, I hurry past the long grass and ferns that wave and bob at the side of the path.
At last, I come out onto the rocky shore. Not a soul around, of course, though there has been in the past: there’s a net (possibly even a hammock) stretched out between two trees and a makeshift swing made from a small tyre.
A hawk patrols overhead. The ferry ploughs the Sound. The rain falls, sometimes lightly, sometimes not so much. At the time of writing, even my waterproof overtrousers are in storage! But I am determined to explore the shore. It’s my second such adventure. On the first, further up the coast, I nearly got caught by the tide.
Earlier, on the return leg of that walk (or horizontal climb) I’d thought to take a shortcut back up to the road, but I was shopped by neighing horses and a barking dug, and somebody quickly came out to look all proprietorial of the land.
It’s earlier in the day this time, but the rocks along the shore are the same: huge and jaggy. Every step, as I have noted before of the other pebbly shore where I love to walk, is a decision. But, here, it often involves the hands as well, as you scramble your way along the horizontal cliffs.
On this occasion, the rain got too heavy to continue, but I was delighted in the time I had to find a hollow in one rock, which shall henceforth be my throne (you know I always like to find one of those in quiet places of contemplation).
Plashing back across the burn and back up the windy path, I left the Fairy Glen and stravaiged with a will back doon the road towards ma hoose.
My troosers were clinging to my legs, but my new red anorak was holding up well. The hood had toggles, which regular readers will know I deplore (why can’t hoods be electric?), but I managed to get these to work fairly satisfactorily and without bursting into tears of despair, as I so often do when suffering hood failure.
Back home, I had a hot shower and a cheeky wee afternoon dram to warm up my insides. I had thoroughly enjoyed my wee adventure and, in particular, finding a new outdoor hobby. It is activities such as horizontal mountaineering that made me the upright fellow you see before you today.