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Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker


Postby Stretch » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:57 pm

Route description: Ben A'an

Date walked: 16/12/2012

Time taken: 2.3 hours

Distance: 3.7 km

Ascent: 340m

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Well, after a year's time away from Scotland I finally returned for a bit of closure to my life as a postgraduate at St Andrews. Last Friday I successfully defended my PhD thesis titled 'The Apocalyptic Tradition in Seventeenth-Century Scotland'. It has been a long, tough, soul-destroying struggle, but I can now say that my time as a student is officially over. I have thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing about my niche of Scottish history and I have learned a great deal more than most Americans ever will about the history of this fine country and the fascinating people who shaped its past. For that I feel truly blessed.

I am also truly blessed to have discovered the joys of hillwalking and to have met some individuals of the hillwalking community who have become great friends. I will certainly cherish our walks together and have frequent flashbacks to the many laughs we have had on our shared adventures. I would like to thank Paul and Helen again for running this website which in many ways saved me from abadoning my PhD midway through my time in St Andrews.

When I started packing for my short 5 day trip back to Scotland last week, I knew I would regret not packing gear for a day on the hills. Although I figured it would be extremely cold and that I might encounter snow, I packed as much as possible so that I could stay warm and dry. By the time I made it to the airport, 3/4 of my suitcase was made up of hillwalking gear. That's dedication!

I had been making some preliminary walking plans with Gammy Leg Walker who I would be staying with over the weekend. The night before our walk the whisky and beer flowed at his place, but strangely there was no hangover to deal with Sunday morning. With the cloud down and rain a possibility, we opted for a short walk up Ben A'an near Callander. It was dry most of the day, but the cloud wasn't going anywhere. Rarely in my time walking with GLW did we have views on our walks - thus I dubbed him Gammy Clag Walker. No matter though, our conversations along the way up and down the hills outweigh any potential views we could get.

GLW had not been out on the hills in quite some time due to an ankle injury, so Dr. Stretch was ok with prescribing an easy day out. We took our time and enjoyed the forest walk and its spooky atmosphere. After the forest section we emerged to a clearing and could see the summit of Ben A'an in the fog. Up the steps through the fog we went. At the top we caught some fleeting views of Loch Katrine below. Despite the clag, it felt great to be back on top of a Scottish hill with my pal. Loading my suitcase full of gear was well worth it!

Gammy's ankle held up fine and I believe he enjoyed his first day out in months. Hopefully he'll make a full recovery and get back to the munros early in 2013. After the walk we took a drive across the countryside to see some areas of Scotland that I had not visited during my 5 years in St Andrews. I really enjoyed this, especially since I no longer had any PhD stress to deal with!

Just want to say thanks to GLW and his family for the hospitality during my stay. I never wanted for a beer, a coffee, or a meal. In addition, big thanks to Jonny616 for the Cuban cigar - it made it back to the US despite our embargo! Also, I have to thank Jockstar and Su for taking care of me during the 3 days I stayed at their place in St Andrews, and for Nathan making the trip up to have a meal with us. In all honesty, the experiences I've had in the Scottish hills and the friendships I've made through hillwalking are more valuable to me than any academic degree that I've earned. I am certain that I will visit again soon, hopefully in June for graduation, and I will be back to strap on my boots, cross a few bogs, and scale a few munros in the near future!

All the best to everyone and Happy Holidays!

Dr Stretch

Gettin started.jpg
Gettin started


Forest path.jpg
Forest path


Ben A'an path.jpg
Ben A'an path


Forest stream along the path.jpg
Forest stream along the path


Ben A'an.jpg
Ben A'an


Ben A'an summit area.jpg
Ben A'an summit area


First summit for the Dr.jpg
First summit for the Dr.


Gammy Clag Walker.jpg
The Clag Walker


GLW standard clag - Loch Katrine.jpg
GLW standard clag- Loch Katrine


Loch Achray.jpg
Loch Achray


Lake of Menteith.jpg
Lake of Menteith


Walkhighlanders - GLW, Stretch, JB Likes A Beer, Alan S, Jonny616.jpg
WH members - GLW, Stretch, JB Likes A Beer, Alan S, Jonny616


Victory cigar with Jockstar.jpg
Victory cigar with Jockstar
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Stretch
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Gable Gable End » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:37 pm

Claggy. It's like you have never been away....

Sorry I wasn't able to get down to St Andrews; next time buddy!
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby ChrisW » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Congratulations Dr Stretch, great to see you back there with your old pals, particularly GLW who ( in true clag attracting fashion) ensured you had the perfect memory to take home :lol:
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:53 pm

Glad you enjoyed the hospitality stretch,great night on the Sat,even better watching someone who shall remain nameless trying to drink whiskey.

Its always good to know some things never change know matter how long you have been away.
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby rockhopper » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:41 am

good to hear from you again, Stretch, and good to see GLW back out again - the sooner he gets better and out properly, the sooner he can recapture the clag and keep it away from the rest of us :wink: - cheers :)
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Scotjamie » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:35 am

Nice one Stretch

G'C'W is becoming as legendary as yourself

Think many of us would like to buy into a Stretch meet in June - stay in touch
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Jockstar » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:39 pm

It was good to meet up again and spend a few days recalling many memories of Walking, Drinking and humour which we all need in spades......and also to get a result with the Academia at St.Andrews !!
Also some things will never change with a friendship cemented by the whisky and the cuban cigar smoked in the greenhouse...so correct!! Also well done GLW for arranging the drinks at Stirling and the clag for Ben A'an !! - Happy days ! :lol:
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Graeme D » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:50 pm

Good to see you back on a Scottish hill big guy, even if it was just a little one that the doc ordered! :clap:
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Bod » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:46 pm

Great stuff Stretch, a real pity we couldn't make it up that night to join you with Brian, Su and Nathan. So chuffed for you with the academic success and even more happy to see the pair of you up Ben A'an. A Stretch meet in June sounds a great idea :D :D :D
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:03 pm

One of the best walks in Scotland this in my opinion where you don't get a tick in the box :D
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby gammy leg walker » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:37 am

Johnny Corbett wrote:One of the best walks in Scotland this in my opinion where you don't get a tick in the box :D


Defo JC.


PS,here is what you missed stretch.
005.JPG
Alans dog Judy.
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Stretch » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:39 pm

Cheers for the comments, it was great to be back even for a short trip. Hoping to get myself back in June for a longer stay and more summit trips - clag or no clag.
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby madasa mongoose » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:08 am

Congratulations Dr. Stretch! :clap: Hope to catch up with you the next time you're over :D
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby kevsbald » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:19 pm

Stretch Phd,

congratulations that man. Another one slips through the net.... :clap:
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Re: Ben A'an - Dr.'s orders for Gammy Leg Walker

Postby Alan S » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:12 pm

Great report and pics mate, really sorry I missed this one but I really overdone the peanuts the previous night and was in bed all day because of it.
Good to see a scottish walk report from you again, hopefully there will be a few more next year :D

Great to see you again 8)
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