So Long, but not Goodbye - The Cobbler
by Stretch » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:40 pm
Route description: The Cobbler, Arrochar
Corbetts included on this walk: The Cobbler
Date walked: 12/11/2011
Time taken: 5.3 hours
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 920m37 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
At the end of May 2009 I discovered the joys of Glencoe for the first time. On what had to be one of the hottest days of the year I climbed Bidean nam Bian and its neighbor Stob Coire Sgreamhach. From that fine day on I was hooked (Bidean remains my favorite hill). I began to scour the internet for deals on boots, waterproofs, rucksacks, and whatever gear I could get my hands on that would help better prepare myself for subsequent weekends of hillwalking. The company who issues my student loans stated that I should use my funds for pencils and paper – oops. After a month home that summer, I returned to St Andrews and began a long relationship with Enterprise Rental Car in Cupar (Thanks!). That fall I climbed over 25 more munros and gained some valuable experience which I used to tackle nearly 70 munros in 2010. That was a big year in terms of how much quality gear I purchased, how many cars I hired to drive all over Scotland, and how little I got done on my PhD.
Despite the joy that my new found hobby of hillwalking had provided me, by the summer of 2010 I had grown very homesick. In addition, I began to question whether doing a PhD was right for me. I was not happy with my work, nor did I like the fact that my student loans were becoming ridiculous. When I went home to Tennessee that summer, I began to check around to see if I could gain a teaching position in my hometown without a PhD. When I learned that I could (and would) I boarded a plane heading back to Scotland with a huge decision to make. On a glorious afternoon near the end of July I made my way to the summit of the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor – there time stood still – and all of the negative feelings I had felt were diminished by the scenic views I enjoyed. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6077
Not to exaggerate matters, but that day on the Big Buachaille changed my life. Not only did I decide to stay in Scotland, that autumn I got serious and began to produce the kind of work on my thesis that I knew I was capable of. Hillwalking continued to have a positive impact on my life – even more so after I organized and took part in the first big meet-up for the website over Halloween weekend. There I met a fantastic group of fellow hillwalking enthusiasts, many of whom have become – perhaps unknowingly – part of my support group. The memories of our adventure in Glencoe spawned several more meet-ups in 2011at Aviemore, Roy Bridge, Kintail, and Wales. Friendships were forged at these meets through walks in tough to brutal conditions, numerous pints of ale, and page after page of Monty’s jokes (the delivery of which being funnier than the punch lines). Thanks to the world of social networking, many of us have been able to stay in touch and get to know each other even better since that first meet in Glencoe.
While my group of hillwalking friends was steadily growing, my group of friends in St Andrews unfortunately began to dwindle. In a very claustrophobic academic environment like St Andrews, it does not take long to figure out who your real friends are. Needless to say, by the end of 2010 I had separated myself from the fake ones, which left me with very few true friends who I could count on and ones who actually took an interest in my life. Thankfully, I had my support group outside of St Andrews. Many of the names within this group are familiar to some of you reading this . . . Gammy Leg Walker, Gable Gable End, Mountainstar, Weemistermac, and Jockstar are but a few. The friends I have met through Walkhighlands are scattered all across the UK, yet they were with me in spirit here in St Andrews when there was hardly anyone else over the past year. Their friendship, support, and encouragement helped make this past year the best, and most productive, of my four years in Scotland. Even as my homesickness continued, I could count on the Walkhighlands gang to pick me up and remind me of why Scotland is such a special place.
My time in St Andrews is now coming to an end – I leave in 5 days. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze two consecutive weekends of hillwalking in before the stressful task of packing began. This past weekend, I received the best send-off a guy could ask for from my support group. The pictures below hardly do the weekend any justice – everything about it was perfect. On Saturday, thirteen site members – make that thirteen great friends - met me at Arrochar for a walk up the Cobbler. It seems that a few had conspired to dress me in a kilt and send me up the hill. I must say, I actually enjoyed wearing it – despite cheating a bit by keeping my walking trousers on. Thirteen cameras were aimed at me at various points throughout the day, proper paparazzi stuff! We laughed and shared stories the entire way to the summit. At the top, a few brave souls threaded the Needle and stood atop the fine pinnacle. As they looked down on us, a bottle of that fine wine made by monks in England was popped open and passed around – we’re a classy bunch no doubt. After more photos of me in a kilt, holding a bottle of Buckfast were snapped, we descended to lower ground and ate lunch before making our way back to the carpark. At the carpark, site member Scotjamie appeared and presented me with some Glenkinchie single malt. He was on his way to Glencoe and stopped by to say farewell – proof that hillwalkers are class acts! Once we were joined by Alan S we headed for the pub where the gang presented me with a quiach, a beautiful print of the Big Buachaille to remind me of my day on that special hill, and an extremely nice flask.
After saying my goodbye’s in Arrochar, several of us headed north of the Cairngorms to Weemistermac’s country abode. Once there, we celebrated his and Paul’s birthday with a bonfire, fireworks, tasty food, some terribly spicy chocolate, too much alcohol, and the musical talents of Monty, Leithysuburbs, and Gable Gable End. The following morning we were treated to a fine breakfast which helped most of us clear the cobwebs. To finish the weekend, a group of us climbed Ben Rinnes and enjoyed another fine afternoon. Knowing that I was standing on the summit of my last Scottish hill for some time was certainly bittersweet.
The inscription inside the case for the flask the gang pitched in to get me reads as follows: ‘In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks’. No words could be more fitting to describe my hillwalking experiences over the past two years or so. During that time, the Scottish highlands gave me strength to continue my studies, a better understanding of Scotland and its people, and most importantly, a great group of friends. I have so much to look forward to as I go home. I simply cannot wait to get back to the beautiful young lady who eagerly awaits my return. There were rumours at the weekend of plans for a Walkhighlands Wedding Meet-up – like myself, the gang obviously sees the writing on the wall. I’ll also be able to help my parents and visit more with my grandfather. I’ll still have work to do on my thesis, but hopefully by the end of Spring I’ll be able to submit and await my viva. But home is where the heart is and I’m anxious to get back and begin a new chapter of my life. But before I turn the last page of this current chapter of my life, I would like to thank everyone who helped make this past weekend so special. Moreover, I would like to thank all of my friends and those of you on Walkhighlands who I have not met for making me feel like a part of the hillwalking community.
A special thank you goes to Paul and Helen who have provided each of us with a great website. Had I not discovered it several years ago, my life could have taken a different direction. To the many friends that I have made through this site – you know who you are – thank you for getting to know me, for accompanying me on the hills, for the laughter, for singing along with me during Monty’s sessions, and for making me feel welcome in this great country. I will miss each one of you and please come visit my neck of the woods if you get a chance. Finally, a very special thank you goes to Gammy Leg Walker. Willie takes a lot of stick for his clag-attracting ability, but you could not find a better person to hit the hills with. Since last November we have had some memorable walks and have become great pals. He has also been kind enough to look after me on my solo walks this past year. I’ll miss you big guy!
At last, this is me saying so long, but not goodbye. I’ll continue to contribute to the forums and when I get a chance I’ll add some reports to the outside Scotland section. I’m looking forward to reading all of your reports and living through you once I’m home. So until we meet again, stay safe and happy hillwalking!
Stretch (aka MacDrinnon)
Rather than flooding the site with 14 reports, the gang will be posting more scandalous photos of me in a kilt below. Enjoy.
by Kevin29035 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:59 pm
All the best!
by rockhopper » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:02 pm
by Alastair S » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:12 pm
by davgil » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:13 pm
It's been a pleasure reading your reports and comments.
Glad you enjoyed your time in Scotland so much and good luck for the future...all the best
by Tomsie » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:18 pm
by Valerie » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:21 pm
by walk aboot » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:25 pm
by magicdin » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:31 pm
by walk aboot » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:34 pm
- Yup, ANOTHER kilt photie :-D ...Bod showing Andy how to wear it
- Iain Watson, Brian (Jockstar) and Bod threading the needle on the Cobbler
- Cuban cigar smoking, Buckfast drinking Adopted Scotsman
by foggieclimber » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:36 pm
Was good to meet you a few weeks ago.
- Posts: 1041
- Joined: Aug 9, 2009
by blueyed » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:41 pm
good luck back home!
by ChrisW » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:42 pm
by SouthernUplandKing » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:54 pm
The hills will be waiting...
- Munro compleatist
- Posts: 580
- Joined: Mar 1, 2011
- Location: Broadford Skye
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