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“There’s some big showers coming, I’m headin’ down. Now comes the hard bit”

The forecast had said that there would be a split across the country, with rain in the east and much sunnier conditions in the west. I didn’t expect that split to be right above the very hill I was on. The view towards Loch Tay was obscured by a massive band of rain which was moving at some pace in my direction. To the west, the hills were speckled with sunbeams and fairies and unicorns.

I’d met the bloke just at the lip before the wee plateau and the layer of cloud.

“It’s the knees” he explained.

Say no more. I had an involuntary twinge from my right leg as he said it. We blethered a bit about how our hobby tended to result in the older punter becoming less concerned about the ups and more worried about the downs. There was further chat and then he set off down very gingerly, both poles deployed in a defensive action against the sloping grass, like he was probing for mines.

“I’m just going to take my time”

Not a bad plan. The summit was clagged in. A cuppa,  a seat and a bite to eat. Tripod up on the off-chance.

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A stream of punters came and went and I persisted. Eventually the wind presented me with the reward for my patience. I returned along the wee ridge, with a spring in my step and a smile on my mind. I’d been up there ages. I stopped for a good wee while on the south top too and took it all in again. No rush. I’d never noticed that wee flat section on the ridge over there before, that would be grand for an overnighter.

I met him again at about 300 metres. Still taking his time.

“Turned out to be a lovely day” he said.

Aye, indeed it had.

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November 1, 2016
LOL... it's true. Around 1982 I had to walk backwards for most of a 2000m of Alpine descent (in the Vanois), and terminate my trek, because of an injured right knee. I suppose you might call it the "gypsy's warning". Since then I've focused regularly on managing my musculature for safe descent. And two or three times a week at the local gym I go through a routine developed over the years with the assistance of various training coaches, that helps me maintain control in my descents. And yes I use just one stick, and flick it from hand to hand as needed, but use it only sparsely - one can become too dependent on them too quickly.... better to exercise the muscle groups needed for control. Some one recently told me "you have young-man's knees"... I suppose the exercise has paid off... Regards D
November 2, 2016
Aye, ever since the Coigach incident, I've had to work hard on protecting my knees. Spending a chunk of the week sat at a desk is the problem, and conditioning is the answer. The gym program definitely helps!

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