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Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend


Postby Hillbeback » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:20 am

Route description: An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin, near Crianlarich

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin

Date walked: 26/07/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1045m

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A few weeks ago, the 6th of July to be precise l attended a funeral of a friend. She was 56 (same age as myself). Without going into too much detail she had health problems from a young age. She was never diagnosed with MS but the symptoms she suffered were much the same. Last year when l met her along with other friends for coffee she broke the news that she had terminal brain cancer and was told she only had months to live. At that point until June this year when she died she showed her determination to get on with life and make the most of things while she was still able. At her funeral there were no hymns or readings from the Bible. She had picked her own poems/verses and the songs that obviously meant alot to her. As l listened to one of her songs l felt a sense of inspiration and the need to get out into the peace and tranquil surroundings of the hills. This is the song that was played.



I rose early at 6.15 (well early for me!!) and was ready to leave the house at 7.10. The forecast was for a warm sunny day with a moderate breeze. The drive up was quite enjoyable with no real hold ups and l arrived in the layby at 8.45. Within ten minutes l was ready to go.

Over the style and across the gravel path to the underpass then onto the track and l was on my way. Unfortunately l didn't walk far enough up to the second gate to get onto the start of the path and veered off to the right too soon.

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The way ahead


Obviously that meant l just had to make my way up the lower slopes with no path to follow. Already the temperature was starting to rise under the heat of the sun. I stopped a few times (well maybe many times) for a breather and to take in the views that were unfolding behind me.

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View back to the layby.


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Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig (I think)


As l gained height more hills appeared.

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Bridge of Orchy hills in the background


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Black Mount hills to the left perhaps


I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with emotion as l thought about the friend who had died and how l grateful l was that l had made a good recovery from ME and this condition l had been living with was not as severe over the past few years meaning l could get walking up these beautiful mountains once again.

The views all around me were now starting to open up.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein towering ahead.


I could now see the summit of An Caisteal :D

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Still a bit to go


I was on my final push up then it was onto the ridge. I was glad l had brought plenty water with me as l was all hot and sweaty :wink:

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Zoomed view of An Caisteal


Finally l was on the ridge. Suddenly there was this gusty coolish wind which was there for almost the rest of the walk up to and on the summit. It probably wasn't that cool but l felt l needed another layer on.

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The ridge and view ahead


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And looking back


As l looked around Ben Lui was now visible.

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Peek a boo


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And zoomed (a bit hazy)


There was a bit of scrambling as l got further up but nothing that caused an issue for me. Just a bit of an awkward step for my short legs to negotiate :roll:

The views continued to impress as l got nearer to the summit.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein with Cruach Ardrain in the foreground


I knew now l was minutes away from the summit and was looking forward to having a seat, a bite to eat and a cuppa.

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One last pull up


It was very windy at the top and after looking around at the views l found a bit of shelter from the wind to sit and admire the surroundings. At this point l was debating whether to continue to Beinn a'Chroin or just be content and happy that l had climbed the one Munro. A fellow walker arrived on the summit. We started talking and it ended up she stayed quite close to Falkirk. She was continuing on to do Beinn a' Chroin and said she would be happy with the company. My decision was made and i'm glad we did meet up as l thoroughly enjoyed walking with her as she did with me too. That's one of the many things l like about hillwalking, meeting lovely individuals who you have never met before yet you feel comfortable to talk about things in your life.

We started our descent and at this point l put my camera away just incase as it's a DSLR so quite bulky. I took a quick photo of our next target.

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Beinn a'Chroin


It took us a wee while to get down to the bealach. There was no major difficulties but just had to be careful as we found it quite steep. We started our ascent up Beinn a'Chroin. There was slight awkward bit for me which required my walking companion to give me a push from behind. Being just five feet and one and a half inches does sometimes have it's problems. We passed the first top and made our way to the summit passing some ponds on the way.

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Looking back to An Caisteal and the first top


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The summit ahead and a hazy Ben Ledi to the far right


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My walking companion taking some photos on the summit


We decided not to do the "other top" at the east side so started our descent. We found a place to sit and have another bite to eat and drink. We could see the path that skirted round the hill before it started to drop more steeply.

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The path and Cruach Ardrain with Stob Binnein in the background.


We were in no rush so took our time and eventually got down to the lower levels and made our way down the path that in places was really quite boggy even following such a dry spell of weather!!

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Looking back to the bealach


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And the walk ahead


I was feeling fine however because we were sheltered now from any breeze it was like a oven. The river in Glen Falloch didn't have much water flowing in it. I love to be walking along beside water as l find it quite soothing.

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No fast flowing waterfalls


We passed the big boulders with their own wee garden on top.

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One of the boulders


I could start to feel my legs a bit weary however we soon reached the track and from there it was an easy walk but due to the heat it was quite a slog. We reached the layby and wished each other well and said our goodbyes.

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The view back up.


All in all l had a great day out and l shared lots of good chat and laughs with my fellow walker. (If you read my report Iona, thanks for the great entertaining company and all the best for your future walks)

Till the next report......hopefully sooner than later :thumbup:


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Last edited by Hillbeback on Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hillbeback
 
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:41 pm

I am very sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like she faced the end of her life with courage and determination. I am glad you managed to get out and hopefully found the time and space for some quiet reflection. I certainly know that I feel closer to lost loved ones in the hills than anywhere else. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:25 pm

A lovely tribute to an old friend and to the new one you met on your walk. Beautiful inspiration.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby spiderwebb » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:32 pm

Terribly saddened on the news of your friend, and more so when such things strike at an earlier age. It makes one reflect on those lost, and in some cases on those who are no longer with us, at least within our own lives.

I have lost two good friends, walking companions in similar circumstances, and think of them often, we had some of the best times.

I’m sure you will have the fondest of memories too, sometimes memories are all we have, sometimes of friends or family that have passed, sometimes of family or friends that we no longer see or hear from, as our respective lives move apart, they all leave scars, scars that may never heal.

Your report is a fitting tribute, thoughts with you and thank you for posting, take care.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Hillbeback » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:36 pm

Graeme D wrote:I am very sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like she faced the end of her life with courage and determination. I am glad you managed to get out and hopefully found the time and space for some quiet reflection. I certainly know that I feel closer to lost loved ones in the hills than anywhere else. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks Graeme. Yes she did so much so that she was doing different activities to try and raise money for charity until unfortunately the symptoms worsened and she too ill. I did feel l got some quality time to reflect.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Hillbeback » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:37 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:A lovely tribute to an old friend and to the new one you met on your walk. Beautiful inspiration.


Thanks Huff_n_puff for your kind comments.
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Hillbeback
 
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Hillbeback » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:44 pm

spiderwebb wrote:Terribly saddened on the news of your friend, and more so when such things strike at an earlier age. It makes one reflect on those lost, and in some cases on those who are no longer with us, at least within our own lives.

I have lost two good friends, walking companions in similar circumstances, and think of them often, we had some of the best times.

I’m sure you will have the fondest of memories too, sometimes memories are all we have, sometimes of friends or family that have passed, sometimes of family or friends that we no longer see or hear from, as our respective lives move apart, they all leave scars, scars that may never heal.

Your report is a fitting tribute, thoughts with you and thank you for posting, take care.


Spiderwebb, thanks for your lovely comments. I think we are all affected by these things in life and when they do hit us it's good to know we can find peace and time to reflect on the hills in some truly beautiful surroundings.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:09 pm

A really fine tribute to your friend.

We all have our allotted span, longer or shorter; and time is hard to pin down: a second can be akin to a day, and vice versa; but nonetheless it seems horribly and painfully "wrong" when a life is foreshortened. The loss of my sister to cancer at an early age was for me immeasurably more difficult to cope with than that of my parents in their old age.

Whereas my own brush with the grim reaper was, to my great surprise, not so scary as I would have supposed beforehand.

But in the end it's all a big mystery.
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Re: Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Postby Hillbeback » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:32 pm

Alteknacker wrote:A really fine tribute to your friend.

We all have our allotted span, longer or shorter; and time is hard to pin down: a second can be akin to a day, and vice versa; but nonetheless it seems horribly and painfully "wrong" when a life is foreshortened. The loss of my sister to cancer at an early age was for me immeasurably more difficult to cope with than that of my parents in their old age.

Whereas my own brush with the grim reaper was, to my great surprise, not so scary as I would have supposed beforehand.

But in the end it's all a big mystery.


Very true Alteknacker. As the saying goes "live for the moment" as we all know things can change in the blink of an eye.
I'm sorry to hear you lost your sister to cancer at an early age. That must have been very hard for you. I'm glad to hear that your own personal experience was not quite as scary as you imagined it was going to be.

Keep enjoying the hillwalking that you do and who knows we might stumble across each other on one.

Thanks for the kind words.
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