‘Type two fun – bike, bothy, hill’.
I was excited to have quality time in nature with Kate and Lindsay, whom I’d missed very much. But my excitement was tinged with fear about the cold and stormy weather forecast.
As we cycled along the dirt path I realised I’d lost my mountain biking confidence. My heart expanded at the open hill and loch views I was cycling into – but contracted in frustration and embarrassment at my need to push through difficult sections of the wet and gravelly track.
It was a relief to arrive at Lochivraon bothy – a simple stone walled, tin roofed, one room affair. It was chilly so we soon got a fire going – a fire that we stoked into the wee hours.
Kate heated up Thai green curry while we sipped wine and shared stories. Then birthday cake and hot chocolate laced with Balliey’s before a cold night of broken sleep.
We ate porridge and coffee to the sound of rain lashing on the tin roof before we set out to summit Creag Rainich.
As we walked I felt resistance. I was grumpy, questioning why I walking again so soon? And why in such cold conditions? Why was I risking walking with a sore ankle? I needed the toilet but it was too stormy to stop. The ground was tussocky and slow going. Then came snow and 40 MPH wind. Kate navigated us off the summit with map and compass. I was too cold to get involved.
I wasn’t having fun.
And then I was.
The sun burnt through the fog revealing An Tealloch’s beautiful ridge. My hardy friends were running and laughing in the snow, their joy infectious.
Somehow I’d expected to be hardier and fitter after the PCT. I was judging myself because I wasn’t. I still hate being cold. I’m still not as gnarly and bike and hill able as these friends. Scottish hills still kick my ass.
‘Type one fun’ is enjoying something in the moment. ‘Type two fun’ is not found during, but rather is found after the event. I had a lot of type one fun on this bothy trip but an equal amount of type two.
And as I write this from the warmth of my bed, I wouldn’t change a thing!
(Our ‘Kate’s annual birthday bothy trip’ plan involved: cycling from the Braemore Junction by Loch Brahoin to Lochivraon bothy where we spent the night. We then summit a small Corbett, Creag Rainich, before driving home. )