30 before 30 Challenge - Bennachie Fail

Thursday, 10 March 2016

If you remember last month, I made a 30 before 30 list of things I want to achieve before I turn 30. You can read it here if you missed it. Although I want to document all the successes of the challenges on this blog, I also want to document the lows. And this is one the lows. Me and the boy had a day off work and with the best intentions of heading up to Inverness, we decided to stay in Aberdeen and do some hillwalking. Being pretty new to the hillwalking scene, we wanted to go back to Scolty Hill in Banchory which was one of the first summits we did together. Thinking about kick starting my list, we decided to tackle Bennachie instead.

Bennachie is a range of hills situated in Aberdeenshire and many people I know have climbed it but I have never had the motivation to do it hence why it is on the list. Waking up in the morning we were greeted by snow and ice in the city but decided to head to the hills to see what the weather would be like as it was starting to warm up. After assessing the conditions we decided to head up the hill.

Isn't it beautiful? I love living in Scotland with all its nature and the fresh air was amazing. Although I have done a lot of running and gymming; I struggled with the incline up to the top but was determined to breathe through it and try and get as far as I could.

It was nice and warm for the first half of the walk and the boy was beside me the entire time rambling away with me about the world and our thoughts - I swear; I will never get bored of him talking. Our footprints were the first in the snow and showed we were the first ones to head up the hill - the Mither Tap route anyhow! Sounding promising right?

As we cleared past the forest, the wind picked up and the terrain got more snowy and icy with the rocky steps being more challenging. I got as far as I could without being blown off the hill and even had to climb on my hands and knees to a safe area. I managed to turn round and snap a quick picture before having a chat with the boy about whether I could get to the top. We saw a couple come up close to where we were and decided to turn back. The boy decided it would be a good idea to head back down slightly and find a more safer route.

I stayed put in what can only be described as 'Everest conditions' (ok - slight exaggeration but it was really windy!) whilst the boy scouted the area. He managed to summit to the top and called down to me. I watched him as he slowly made his way down. He had said it wasn't a good idea for me to head up as the rocks were covered in ice. I trusted his decision not to put me in danger and with a heavy heart we went back down the hill - sliding down the rocks on our butts as we couldn't do it upright!

We talked about heading back in the summertime to do it when it was less treacherous. Later in the evening - and the next day chatting to my work colleagues about it; there is an alternative route round the back of the hill which is more like a path and takes only about 45 minutes to summit! Turns out we took the long way taking almost three hours to complete the round trip. Hearing this however hasn't made me want to take the easy way round and I'm even more determined than ever to get to the top of the hill.

So this is the reality of life challenges. Sometimes you finish them, sometimes you don't. It's made me more motivated than ever to do this and the other challenges with everything I have.

Bennachie. We will meet again.



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