Wednesday, May 14, 2014

131.77 kms: Glencoe Mountain Resort-Kings House-Devil's Staircase-Kinlochleven

There is something psychologically damaging about walking for miles and miles and miles and still being able to see the place you left from. It makes you think you are getting nowhere.

There is something psychologically damaging in names. Call something the Devil's Staircase and it becomes an insurmountable obstacle filled with fear and dread. Where, really, one foot in front of the other eventually gets you there, devil or not.

Top: Look at how small the house in the right hand corner is
Bottom: A beautifully sculpted valley

There is something psychologically damaging about having no name. When you get up and over a thing called the Devil's Staircase and then have to make a rocky, winding descent on the other side with no justifiable reason or name or recognition, it does something silly to your brain. It should be the Devil's Ramp, or the Devil's Torture, or the Devil's Downhill.

There is something psychologically damaging about going downhill. In theory, it should be a pleasant, enjoyable thing. I find myself holding on to the front of my boots with my toenails, hunching my shoulders like Uriah Heep, and clenching my poles like they are the only thing between me and the precipice of death. A sweet lady passed me on the way up the Staicase, and then came back the other way: she said 'When I was on the top, I thought "I must tell the lady in the bright yellow jacket that the other side is all downhill."' She thought that was a good thing.

Left: Up one side. Devil's Staircase
Right: And down the other. No name.

There is something psychologically damaging about being able to see your destination from a great height and then walking a circuitous route, seemingly in every other direction but straight-toward, to get there. I eventually gave this portion of the road a name—The Road of Disappointments. Around every corner, before you reached it, was hope; around every corner, when you reached it, was more road. V—— had a name for it too, but it doesn't do to say that particular word outside of a forest where the saying of it doesn't exist if no-one is there to hear it.

There is nothing that cures all psychological damage incurred in a day like a warm room, a warm shower, a pub next door, a large fluffy doona and a hot chocolate.

Balance? Even.

A very good night to Kinlochleven, and a very good night to you.

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