The Angry Corrie 3: Sep-Oct 1991

Diary of an Armchair Hillwalker - part 1

words - John McIntosh

cartoon - Craig Smillie

Monday: Had planned to set off today for a few days' camping in Glen Coe, Then in Nico's last night someone pointed out that Texas were playing the Barrowlands on Wednesday. What a drag! Suppose I'll have to give the old Glen of Weeping a miss. I really love camping at this time of year as well. Spent the morning comparing cagoules in Tiso's. After weighing up the relevant factors - e.g. does it match my eyes, does it have a specially designed Q Magazine pocket, would I be seen dead in it at 3 a.m. on a Friday in Victoria's nightclub? - I plumped for a snazzy little black number with matching hat and gloves, guaranteed Grolsch-proof for ten years.

Tuesday: Got into a bit of an argument this evening. Was in the Halt Bar with a guy who claimed that climbing in winter without an iceaxe was stupid. Honestly, stick a beard and a woolly jumper on some people and they think they know it all. He tried blinding me with science, wittering on about crampons and Goretex; I think he thought he was dealing with someone who had hardly ever set foot on a hill in his life. Then went and gave myself a nasty bang on the head whilst negotiating the tricky descent from the front door of the Cotton Club.

Wednesday: Still disappointed about Glen Coe. Thought I could maybe fit in a wee hill today by way of compensation, but got interested in a Kilroy discussion on designer fashion and before I knew it half the day had gone. Just my luck. Tomorrow, definitely.

Thursday: God, what a night. What the hell must I have been drinking? Looks like I'll have to stay in bed all day recovering. Sometimes it feels as if the fates are conspiring to keep me off the hill. I'm sick of this city, all the grime and smell and pollution, all the winebars and restaurants and pretence, all the falseness and hypocrisy and Tequila Slammers. Give me the feel of the heather beneath my feet, the simple, clear taste of a mountain stream, cheese and pickle pieces on the windswept Aonach Eagach. Went to Cafe Gandolfi for lunch.

Friday: Fergus came round at seven this morning, says we had arranged an early start for some summits. The silly twit was obviously sleepwalking: it was still pitch black outside. Advised him that only a fool would venture out in such conditions, what with a touch of frost on the grass and all. My watchword is caution! God knows I love winter walking, but I had to persuade Fergus that today was really not a good idea. Of course Macho Man knew better, and he went off anyway. Swallowing my disappointment I undertook the day's only climb: back into my pit.

Saturday: Had planned to pop up Ben Lomond today. but halfway to Rowardennan suddenly remembered I'd forgotten to water the plants. Had to turn round and come straight back. What a sickener!

Sunday: Plan to enter mountain photography competition I came across in Observer colour supplement. I've got a magnificent shot somewhere of the North Peak of the Cobbler, taken in evening light from the lounge of the Arrochar Hotel. The young lady in the foreground adds a useful touch of human interest, too.

There really is nothing to beat a long hard day on the hills. Next week I'm really going to go for it. The Cuillin Ridge! I think I deserve the chance to test myself against the worst the hills can throw at me. As soon as I've checked the latest issue of The List I'll start getting organised...

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