The Angry Corrie 7: May-June 1992

Tribulation in the Trossachs
with Jimmy Glum

He's back! Scotland's most miserable man laces up his boots, and once again the hills are alive with the Sound of Moaning...

I put the foot pump back into the boot (the spare had been flat) and wondered what she would do if she got a puncture on her own. The bastard had said no way she was buggering up her nails helping me and if I didn't get on with it we could just get on with expensive aid and that was that. This was my wife. Mona. I married her quite deliberately and for the same reason I go hill walking. I utterly detest and despise myself.

I also hate the Trossachs and all that Rob Roy shitcrap. And the bus parties of wizened fear trying to fool the Reaper by constant motion. The place was thronging with them. If only the Romans had come in charabancs they could have colonised up to John O'Groats without opposition or mortality.

Ben Venue. Loch Katrine. It's very picturesque. It was dry and there was intermittent sunshine which felt quite carcinogenic to me, but shorts and shades were the order of the day. We followed a path through the trees towards the back of the hill. Suddenly I was up to my testicles in glaur. She shrieked and bellowed alternately but incessantly in a very childish display of merriment as I pulled myself free of the terrain's voluptuous intentions, aided by a small conifer (given the dearth of human assistance).

Despite my grovelling she would not surrender her comb for me to use as a mud scraper, so I did what I could manually and we set off again. During the time we had spent having all this fun an increasingly large number of buzzers, zoomers and hoverers had amalgamated into a penumbra of aerial irritation above our heads. No midges though, so really there was nothing to complain about. Well, not exactly, Not if you are Mrs Glum, then one is not only justified in complaining but also in entering a state one small notch down from hysteria. I suppose it is reasonable enough given the death-laden possibilities of perhaps breathing a buzzer in and suffocating or maybe being concussed into eternity as a particularly heavy hoverer runs out of puff and plummets onto one's pate. The drying mud was tight and smelly. It reminded me of my Dad.

Mrs Glum eventually responded to my fervent assurances that we would be leaving all the fauna behind as we gained height and therefore wind; the Topic bar helped too. Really, it was the only sure way to stem the tide of vituperation that was directed towards the sort of person who dragged innocents into danger without adequate knowledge, sensitivity, responsibility and insect repellent.

We broke clear of the trees and while it wasn't an especially hot day it remained dead calm. Mona didn't. Before long accusations of substantial treachery thickened the air to nearly the same density as her Flying Circus. Personally I think expensive perfume is probably contra-indicated up hills. I merely sported my usual B.O. and only had a minor swarm of things about me.

It's probably worth mentioning what else she was wearing. A Hair-Do. A gigantic, pink pair of baroque sunglasses. A considerable quantity of make-up. A wee pink fluffy top thing. A very large pair of shorts a la "It Ain't Half Hot Mum", only in pink. A pair of pink trainers. ("I don't like my boots!") Oh, and a rucksack which was blue and red (but she was mortified) containing a Woman's Own and a make-up bag. I had offered some tentative advice about clothing but had been informed that I didn't have a clue.

Like Murdo Munro I advocate green, although I mitigate the monotony of this with the occasional black or gray. Basically I don't want Mountain Rescue to find me.

The noxious and animate cloud persisted despite our continued ascent. (Up the increasingly perilous slopes of Mrs Glum's ire.) Indeed, the wee beasts stayed with us right to the top of the hill, although we had yet to reach the emotional zenith of the day's travails. Mind you, the last time we were out will be very hard to beat... total screaming hysterics... yards of blown snot fankled by high wind into a sheep-deadly death skein... flailing arms to thrash away the horror of the isolation... all within sight of the car! I thought I was lost, she sobbed. It was the first laugh I'd had in months.

Anyway, once we started down a bit of a breeze picked up and carried Mrs Glum's torturers away. As we neared the bottom of the hill I was allowed to trail blaze as the fairly steep final descent of the northern side of Venue is convex and consequently it's hard to check false paths. Also quite undesired in Mona's case, her stumpy wee legs having trekked the equivalent of about thirty miles by normal standards. Given how tired she was I experienced considerable surprise that she commenced highland dancing with much frenzied hooching, then with great originality modified this into some sort of hideous lederhausen-type self-chastisement. I couldn't really make out what she was saying but it sounded a bit like "King Star, King Star!" Nor did I find out, for when she caught up with me her face, arms and legs had suffered mighty midgey attack and she had ceased communication with the author of all her misfortunes.


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