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Addicted to Recover (89) Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The Law

Addicted to Recover (89) Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The Law


Postby UrbanExplorer » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:20 am

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Cleuch

Donalds included on this walk: Ben Cleuch

Date walked: 14/01/2018

Time taken: 2.35 hours

Distance: 8.2 km

Ascent: 721m

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So... I think firstly I should give a little bit of history.

I'm a 49 year old fella from Carronshore, on October 19th 2016 I was sat on the wall at Craignure Ferry terminal after a 21 day bender... thinking to myself "**** this ****, I cant live my life like this anymore". I googled addiction services in Falkirk and I found ASC & Forth Valley Recovery Community. I self reffered on returning that day and my recovery journey began.

I had lived the world of substance abuse & misuse for over 20 years.... it was time for me to take the most frightening step I'd ever taken... trying to live life free from mind altering substances.

In the 15 months since, I've managed to get to 99 days clean ( twice ), before falling by the wayside, on the 17th October 2017.... I'd had enough. I was going to make it stick this time, even if I had to run down the street wearing a pink fluffy tutu.

I'd always been an outdoors man, I had obtained my Duke of Edinburgh Award many years back via the Boys Brigade, so I thought this might just be the road I need to take to sustain my recovery.

Long Term Aim: Mountain Leader Qualification ( 5-10 years )
Mid Term Aim: Hill & Moorland Leader ( 2-5 years )
Short Term Aim: 50 Munro's in 2018

I had managed a few walks last year, to be honest, I was wasted, so **** knows how I didn't end up dead. This year I will do them all sober, straight & clean.

I was desperate to walk something.... my need to be not clean & sober was overwhelming, so Ben Cleuch was the closest boundary pushing option available.

Now I do have quite an extensive range of camera & lens options, but I thought for the first one I should just play it safe and use my good old Samsung J5. Please enjoy my first attempt at a true walk report. I do hope I will get better.

The Ben Cleuch start point for many folks on the day was the North end of Upper Mill Street, Tillicoultry, parking was tight but I managed to secure a place to left, over the bridge near the housing scheme.

Gear on ready to go... no crampons or axe. Weather report was for above freezing on summit, winds 15mph Southwest. I had recently bought a pair of Scarpa (b1) Evolution Pro boots, so it was to be a good test of their abilities.

Start Time: 11:04
End Time: 13:38
Total Moving Time: 2:04

The initial section of Ben Cleuch up towards The Law is via a nice hill path with fences and quite a few burn crossing bridges, easy going if a bit steep.
Image20180114_111300 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

Image20180114_111707 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

Image20180114_111711 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

Image20180114_111718 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

After you have negotiated the various bridges, paths and easily followed steps you come upon your first look at the task ahead !

Image20180114_112120 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

This was the calm before the storm, in no way did i know what was to come, the last easily available shot was looking down into the village below.

Image20180114_112740 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

For those of you that haven't yet attempted the highest of the Ochils, the initial climb is quite formidable, it is nearly an hours worth of pure slog till your reach the summit of The Law.

But.... by this time I had already encountered some shallow snow. The wind had picked up to a breeze and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. On summiting The Law I looked upward and saw nothing but a snow field in front of me. This was going to be a little more strenuous than I had first thought.

You take a little dip once over The Law, the wind took a climb... it was now probably about 15mph, the snow field was 15-30cm deep and the summit of Ben Cleuch was completely clouded out. The camera went away... and nearly another hours worth of shin deep slog ensued. By the time I got within 100m of the Ben Cleuch summit (721m) the wind was up to about 25mph, the snow was still only 15-30cm deep, good job I've no crampons or the axe anyway.

On reaching the summit cairn it was a different matter, I got there to find the winds at 30mph+ gusting to 40mph+ and a happy crowd of walkers enjoying refreshments out of the wind behind the cairn.

It was time to stop for some quick refreshment ( 2 bananas ) a wee blether and then the obligatory summit photo.

Image20180114_124111 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

No time spared... it was time to head back, the summit was busy with folks all caught out by the unexpected winds, I plodded downwards, only taking a minute or 2 to photograph the near whiteout conditions near the handrail fence.

Image20180114_125125 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr
Image20180114_125129 by IainHamiltonPhotography, on Flickr

The descent was mostly event free... though I did manage to lose the metal buckle from my Trek-Mates Gore Tex gaiters.... they've only been used 4 or 5 times, so a strongly worded letter has been sent.

Back to the car safe and sound :)

The new Scarpa (b1) Evolution Pro boots, absolutely astounding, yup they are a little heavy, though they are b1, totally breathable, totally dry, enough flex for walking, enough support to protect an old mans ankles... well worth the £180 I paid at GoOutdoors.

This now puts me at 89 days clean & sober.... I am a happy camper.

Please spread the word about Forth Valley Recovery Community.

More to come this year : ))
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Last edited by UrbanExplorer on Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
UrbanExplorer
 
Posts: 37
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby iangpark » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:40 am

The very best of luck with the recovery - hillwalking is an astoundingly life-refreshing activity. Keeping myself busy is one of the best ways of keeping my own vices at bay and nothing keeps you busy like climbing a hill! Congratulations with climbing Ben Cleuch - I have the Ochils planned as my next Donalds so will keep your report in mind.

All the best with the 50 Munro challenge - I've managed 1 in 21 years :) Those Scarpa boots will serve you well I'm sure.

Ian
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Magoo82 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:30 am

Well done that man :D

I know where you're coming from. I didn't realise it but for a lot of years I was a "functioning alcoholic". I held on to jobs by the skin of my teeth, even managed to get a few promotions but behind closed doors I was drinking a spectacular amount. A litany of failed relationships bore testament to the fact that drink was always my priority over anybody or anything else. In short, I was a pain in the arse. I'd tried NHS alcohol problem services who tried to talk to me about controlled drinking but as you'll know better than anybody there is absolutely no point talking to an alcoholic about controlled drinking because it can't be done. I had my final drink on the 13th of May last year, went cold turkey and endured the horrors for four days until I got to my first AA meeting not really knowing what to expect but I sat there for an hour and a half listening to people sharing their stories and they were basically describing my life. I just kept going back and I'm now 8 months sober and I get by on one or two meetings a week these days.

The hills are a great thing for an addict although I was hillwalking when I was still drinking and taking booze on multi-day camping treks so it does have its pitfalls aswell but by and large it helps get you away from the triggers and gives you a taste of how good life can be when you're sober.

Well done with the recovery and all the best :clap:
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby UrbanExplorer » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:15 am

Thank you both gents :)

Recovery for me is a bit like a good hill walk, I might not be able to see the summit because it's covered in cloud, but I know if I just keep taking little steps, one after another, I will get there.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Magoo82 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:41 am

UrbanExplorer wrote:Thank you both gents :)

Recovery for me is a bit like a good hill walk, I might not be able to see the summit because it's covered in cloud, but I know if I just keep taking little steps, one after another, I will get there.


You're absolutely right about the little steps.

I remember the first few weeks of my recovery I had quite a bit of difficulty accepting that I'd never be able to drink again. I still thought that I could just sort myself out for a few months then go back to having a drink socially which I now know is impossible and I've made my peace with that. But I remember at the time phoning my sponsor and saying "I don't know if I'm going to be able to go the rest of my life without a drink, it just feels like too big an ask".

He said to me, "Forget about the rest of your life, do you think you could go the rest of today without a drink?"

To which I replied, "Well yeah, I reckon I could do that".

And he told me, "Well do that, and call me again tomorrow".

I know it's a cliché but early recovery really is all about taking it one day at a time and you can start making sense of the bigger stuff once you've got that under your belt.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby BoyVertiginous » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:13 pm

Well done, a fine start, Cleuch via The Law in those conditions is tougher than some of the Munros you will encounter!

Maybe you're aware of them already but, while walking alone is great it's good to have some company now and again, check this group out in your area:

http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/outdoors/programme/high-tops.aspx

Best of luck in your quest for 50 this year.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:45 pm

Good luck with your quest for the 50 Munros.
Nature/outdoors therapy has become more widely recognised over the last few years as making a substantial contribution to mental health. Which should be blindingly obvious to everyone, but we tend to get cut off and detached from the real things in life. Personally, being out in the hills over the past 5 years has been immensely helpful for my mental state. I wish you well in your journey.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:53 pm

Great report - it has a definite wind chill factor - especially that summit shot :lol: :lol:

Good luck with your recovery, your determination to succeed and I look forward to reading about your 50 Munros this year. Inspirational, thank you - now if only I could find my boots ... :lol:
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Coop » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:18 pm

Told myself I might open a miniature of whisky if I get to 282. Reckon that may be in about 5 years time- maybe longer. I can wait.
Good on you pal. The 1st 5 years is the worst :D

I'll post a couple of hills I may want company (need help getting up them :D ) In the meet up section this year. If you fancy tagging along give me a shout.
Onwards and upwards
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby ancancha » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:11 pm

Getting out and up the hills for some long duration aerobic exercise :clap:
Great for flushing the toxins out of the body and soul :wink:
Good luck :clap:
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby LoveWalking » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:59 pm

Great report. Well done and good luck :)
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:11 pm

Nice one mate. Hard work to get up the hill, maybe even harder to come on here and post openly about it and write so well. :clap: I wish you many more successful summits and all the best facing your challenges. It'll be great to hear about more of your hills.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby UrbanExplorer » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:17 am

@ Magoo82 Im not a fellowship follower myself, I do pop into the odd meeting now and then, when I need to connect a little, mostly Ive been using SMART, I still live "Just for today" tho.

@ BoyVertiginous Yeah, Ive been down to see John and the guys at FCT Outdoors, they do have a pretty impressive program and at a reasonable cost, need to build up my fitness level first tho :lol:

@ weaselmaster I find walking in wild exceedingly mindful.

@ Coop I'll keep and eye on the meet up section.

Thank you all for your support.

Time for me to write the report from yesterday and then start preparing for my NNAS training & assessment at the weekend.
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby bargee » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:10 pm

excellent first report, and thanks for letting us into your life and difficulty,
I hope and pray you succeed with your recovery and have many moree excellent days on and off the hills

iain the bargee
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Re: Addicted to Recovery, The Beginnings: Ben Cleuch via The

Postby Sgurr » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:22 pm

Hill walking can be every bit as addictive as anything else. Let's hope you can swap the one addiction for the other....though not to the extent that you HAVE to get out whatever the weather because a hill won't bag itself. Best of luck with it anyway.
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