“Is it steep?”
“Will it be dangerous?”
These seemed to be the criteria against which potential participation in a three-generation outing would be measured.
“Some bits, yes.”
“It all depends.”
Apparently my answers satisfied our family’s adrenalin junkie, as did learning that the next time he skied the Glencoe Centre’s slopes he’d be able to point up and say, “I’ve been up there.”
Reassuringly, he emerged uncomplaining from his bed for a pre-7.00am departure and the day was set.
His father and I trailed in his wake as we climbed up into Coire na Tulaich, with only the occasional whistle-back to correct direction, keep to the path, and avoid anything that obviously looked more interesting.
Sheepdog trials – bring ‘em on.
As the headwall steepened, the party closed-up and we met the view together, each grateful in differing ways that toughest part of the day was over.
High-level ups and downs were all that remained – a trip that is all too familiar to most.
Returning from Stob na Broige we passed a lady sat by the path with her dog straining at its leash.
“I don’t know what’s harder,” I observed, “chasing a dog or a teenager.”
“The teenager,” she replied, holding up the lead to illustrate her reasoning.
He may have accepted that he had half a century over me, but I doubt suggesting a re-introduction of toddler reins would have gone down well.
The steep descent into Coire Altruim added a final spice to the day, especially the bum-slithers down the waterfall slabs that I’d kept to myself. It’s always useful to remind folks that concentration doesn’t stop when you leave the top.
Back at the car, headphones went on, a screen was opened up and, by the time we passed Kingshouse, eyes were closed. I’d like to think we’d shown him there was life in the old dogs yet and we’d tired him to sleep, but I suspect that might not have been the case.
Now, will his mum let me take him along Aonach Eagach?
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