There was always going to come a point where folk tired of the unduly heavy breathing hot on their (literarily only) heels, or the remarkably frequent proffering of ‘Did you see that? Was it a mink or a corncrake?’ by way of stalling them a half hour or so, so one could play catch up. Its not that folk don’t have nice heels, or that one would tire of encouraging an interest in the wild either, but there had to be a knack or two to this hill walking that enabled one to be able to trot freely alongside the posse, if not unbelievable ahead, with or without tripod, camcorder, 50 liter capacity (stuffed) backpack, perhaps a half dozen or so walking poles and a tent or two, as one or two of Mountainviewers have done. Whatever it was, it had to be difficult. It had to take years of training and due to the complicities involved a decent degree of study at no small cost to the pocket or the limbs.
On a dark, dark morning, dark because we had forgotten, forgotten and overlooked, that anyone living within an ass's roar of Greenwich Mean Times annual habits, were still in their beds with the lights out, his good self and I on All Hallows Day, took it into our heads to torment the poor Black Cra to distraction with not just one but two novitiates, to see could those dark arts of his really be imparted, and engaged to the truly, truly novice hill walker, (albeit the life long ‘bump’ stroller). Like innocent children with a stick poking at something in the shadows, its just as well we were not at it long given we didn’t know what we were at. Paradox it would seem is the key to black magic AND good hill walking technique. Where there seem the difficult apparent, only reached upon by huge expenditure of energies, wrapped up in a broad girth of ‘things to remember’ lies the ridiculously simple in a nutshell.
The devil is in the detail, the detail it turns out, is devilishly simple to understand, ergonomic to an inch of itself, and as economic as the very dime life turns itself on. The magic is in the way this knowhow was imparted, generously, sincerely, professionally, good humouredly, and then the Scottish element, with follow through.
Cra, the very better half says he was doing everything right on the day because the muscles you told him he had but which he never acknowledged before are exquisitely present and correct today, due to yesterdays efforts and accomplishments. As for me I know I’ve sold my soul, and will now have to practice, practice, practice. To anyone of any hill walking ability, interested in black magic, paradox, and the art of getting there quicker by walking slower, treat yourself and I emphasis ‘treat’, to a training gig with his darkness. We left in conditions of ever brightening outlook as we were coming off the hills, enlightened by the experience. No doubt he felt it too, given I thought I spotted one grey feather not apparent before. ‘Magic’. Go raibh mile maith agat, Cra.