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A Wolf On The Hills, Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean
by Joehill » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:48 pm
Route description: Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain
Date walked: 09/07/2017
Time taken: 4 hours
Distance: 20.1 km1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I woke up early and my tent, located just off the road about 300 meters up the Grey Height, was surrounded by a swarm of midges, finding me as a desirable target. I rushed to put on my running gear and hurried to pack my smaller bag with food and drinks while avoiding getting bitten. I took my valuables and left the tent standing, as I ran off.
The first bit of the track is not well defined, leading through an area of deforestation and wild meadows all surrounded by dark green larch forest. The glittering dew in the morning sun caught my attention, and so did the foxglove flowers as they are new to me, and I was coming to senses after my hasty escape. I came upon a deer’s track, and decided to follow it as it was leading somewhat in the direction I was going.
Instinctively, I followed the narrow path of bent grass, constantly searching the ground in front of me, looking for marks of the hooves in the mud. I recalled memories of when I was a child, and my dad showed me tracks of animals in the forest, telling in what direction they were going, of what size the animals might be, and how old the tracks were. He told me about the behaviour of hunted animals and how they move, and how to hunt them down.
I followed the tracks as they led me into the larch forest and disappeared, I know that deer come out to eat in the evenings and in the morning, but otherwise tend to hide in the deep forest during day time and night. I know that they are almost invisible if they chose to be, and I continued uphill instead. As the track of the deer vanished, so did the recollections of my childhood, and there is resembles of how the mind track memories, and to how a hunter follows tracks of pray.
The trail up the mountain become more apparent as one comes closer to the Grey Height, and once up on the summit you will find that it leads in a slightly curved line all the way up to Cruach Ardrain, and further all the way to Ben Tulaichain. My running shoes where soaking wet and muddy, but this was of little concern as I began to run towards the distance. Again I was following a track, but of a different kind, jumping between the stones, constantly reading the ground in front of me in order to know where to go next, slowing down and speeding up in accordance with the movement of the mountain.
The mind-set of the hunter – the wolf, was back again, and I thought to give this experience words as I believe them to shed some insight into why I spend so much of my free time in the highlands. In first instance the singularity of following a track and the absorption of one’s full attention becomes hypnotizing. It makes it impossible to divert the attention from the instant reality that one is confronted with.
By slowing down for brief moments of rest, and when one’s eyesight is raised towards the horizon and the surrounding landscape, one is overwhelmed by an information flow. The strengthening of the senses and the attentive mind, that until now was fully absorbed by the details of the path, will with equal capacity incorporate the whole world around as you raise your eyes. The river and forest in the valley, the rocks and the mountains, and the clouds and the blue sky, is now experienced in full clarity.
One follows not only the movements of the trail any longer, but that of the world.
And as the body works itself more tiered, and the mind denies it rest, there is a hunger that arises within the wolf. As a consequence of this hunger, a will is born that do not excuse itself, nor does it doubt its abilities to reach its goals. It is a will of iron, which accomplishes its aims no matter the cost. It is that of survival, which we in our daily life have little need of, but that kicks in during simulations of primitive actions such as of hillwalking. It is a hunger and will that makes us understand what it means to be alive, and being a part of more primitive and natural world.
I reached Ben Tulaichain only after an hour or two, and I decided to sit down and allow myself to rest and meditate. Loch Lomond was visible to the south and loch Voil to the east, and I tasted the beauty to still my hunger. It is true that when I’m finished with a walk I do nothing but fill my stomach with an abundant amount of food and beer, and that my desires are passionate, but I also realize that the hunger and the will of the wolf have caused us humans too much suffering already. In fact, there is “food” of greater quality in the world, beyond what is connected the direct need of our physical bodies, and that we should aim to hunt for.
So be the wolf, but do not limit your understanding of what you have the capability to catch and what you actually need
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