A tale of two mountains (part 3 of 3)
The Girl's Mountain
The first group was Laura B, Laura D, Carrie and Sharon. They stormed on ahead, down the tortuous steps and were the first ones to reach the fork in the trail. Laura B decided on the direction but the rest of us weren't so sure. In such an emotional state, with the finish line in sight, the group had a minor disagreement. Thankfully, Laura B picked the right way and the friends made up by singing a bit of Beyonce's Halo to end the walk (though Laura B wasn't impressed with the singing).
Vickie and Nicola were the second group and not so lucky with directions. Slightly behind the others, they took the wrong path at the fork and ended up going down a very steep hill. They continually said, 'I don't remember this from the way up, I just do not remember this'. As they got to the bottom and arrived at the youth hostel instead of the tourist info car park, the usually positive, optimistic, chirpy, problem-solving Vickie got a wee bit crabby about the fact the walk was not yet over. They eventually reached the finish line, crawling into the car park and feeling a little emotional. The final girl group, Kirsty, Emma and Beth took it a bit slower as Kirsty struggled with the steep descent. Emma sounded Kirsty out about contacting emergency services for help, but Kirsty refused on the grounds she would be absolutely mortified.
Our group didn't have too much luck either. Unfortunately, as the Londoners, Rose, Olivia and I scurried down the mountain, I managed to hyper-extend my knee. I was in serious pain so our pace slowed dramatically. At this point, we were still under the clouds and, with every painful step down, we could see the campsite basking in the sunshine.
As our journey came to an end, I suggested we walk to the car park to be there when the girls returned. On our approach we must have been blinded as our feet did the thinking and took us directly to the pub.
While enjoying my pint, I made many failed attempts to make contact with the group via text and calls. I was happy to be greeted by Rose, Olivia and Laurent but still wondered how the girls were doing. Again, I tried to make contact but got no response. When we finally made contact with the girls, inviting them up to the pub, I was greeted with profanities and stories of wrong turns.
The Girls' Mountain:
As we sat in the car park, we briefly discussed how it was possible for the girls to take a wrong turn and end up at the hostel. We decided the only possible explanation was that they must have been following someone else down the hill - since there is a clear signpost for the car park and the hostel at the fork in the path.
We all ended the walk enjoying the sun, lying in the car park and drinking our miniatures of Cava. It certainly felt very different from the horrific conditions we had just experienced on the mountain. All us girls were in agreement that drinking the night before climbing the UKs largest mountain wasn't the best idea; however, if we hadn't drank, we definitely would have aced it. Our final conclusion: we're glad we did it but we will never do it again!
The fun doesn't end there, though. The girls headed back to Faulty Towers and Brent to his tent for a disco nap before getting ready to hit the Fort William high street. Dinner was in no4 restaurant and then we headed to the Ben Nevis bar (our haunt from the night before). We got the tunes on the juke box, downed a few Jaeger bombs to perk us up and forgot about the horrendous day we just had. After that we headed on to the next instalment of the night, which was equally as horrendous as the Ben Nevis walk - Ossian's disco.
The function room of our B&B, Faulty Towers, has been transformed into the most happening place in Fort William. The sweaty function room was packed with 300 people, a DJ, disco lights, reception-come-bar, sticky floors and a smoke machine. People were literally fighting to get in! We managed to get around the police and were allowed in since we were staying there. Although, we did get the door slammed in our faces as a very polite Kirsty tried to explain that there were still more of us to come.
For the rest of the night it's a case of 'What happened in Fort William stays in Fort William,' but there was lots of dancing, glow sticks, more Jaeger bombs, chatting with locals, and Homer Simpson…. Though, surprisingly, I'm not sure if there was even any Beyonce on!
Our journey started some months ago as we trekked in ankle high snow with -5 degree weather.
Since we decided to sponsor the charity, Neil's Wheels, we have forge bonds and made new friends from our local and global communities. Walkers from Scotland, England, France, South Africa, Austria and the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago all came together to support Neal's Wheels.
I would like the thank everyone who took part in this challenge and who supported our cause. If you'd like more information about Neil's Wheels, contact me at Brent.Romany@eqtr.com or visit Neil's Wheels' FaceBook page.