Sunday, September 23, 2007

ms. mouse heads for the hills

 You know, I could get used to this solitude stuff. I rolled out of bed extra early this morning even though it was Sunday, trying to squeeze in a hillwalk before heading back into Lerwick to see two concerts, one of which kicked off at two thirty. Therefore,  I had to lope up the hill at a rather accelerated pace and down again in order to get back in time to do a quick change from woman of the mountains into woman who listens to jazz in her lunchtime. Actually, not too much change there, except I never wear lippy on a hill...

So. Victorious, I am being. I climbed Ronas Hill ( Shetland's highest) in the teeth of a small hurricane. God, it was windy. And not from the carpark halfway up Collafirth Hill, but from sea level. The honourable ascent. And yes, it's only half a Munro, but hey - I was completely on my own, and even half a hill can kill you if the weather turns foul and you trip and break something. So. Me, myself and I plus an unfeasably heavy rucksack ( in which were an A&E unit, three Sherpas, a portable generator, a twin oven Tranga, three pounds of egg tagliatelle and 250ml of Perigord truffle sauce, a Siberian goosedown bivvy bag, a month's supply of 70% cocoa solids Valrhona, a Blackberry, three i-pods, one pair of circular needles and four balls of kidsilk haze yarn and a Nice Young Man) climbed the hill. 

At the top I could see the skies rushing towards me were that shade of grey that promised  serious precipitation possibly accompanied by a blanket of thick cloud obscuring all obvious landmarks. But I have a lush's tradition of having a celebratory swig of whisky on finally wheezing my way to the trig point, so, nervously and very, very quickly, I necked my malt and headed off, back down to safety. And not a moment too soon. Literally, once I was safely on the road down from Collafirth Hill and turning to say thankyou to all four points of the compass ( Oh, do stop sniggering at the back. I know. Ancient hippies r' us.) the heavens opened. Rain, wind, in quantities to be seriously alarming higher up the hill, but from where I was, just noisy, wet and forcing me into a kind of jog-trot ( tricky in hillwalking boots) to deliver me soggy but very happy back at my car twenty minutes later.

And later...a concert to celebrate the life of 'Peerie' Willie Johnson ( Shetland's beloved guitar player, who was known and loved the world over) with, oh bliss, Martin Taylor playing guitar with his band. If this is the solitary life, bring it on...

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