Leading on their first Munro

Ben Chonzie – pronounced Ben A Hone

Saturday 18/09/2021 was a day that 4 people from Linlithgow in particular are going to remember for the rest of their lives.

Waking up on Saturday morning I felt like a child waking up on Christmas day. I love a good hill day. Notice I said a hill day and not a munro day. Hills of any shapes and sizes can make for great days. Even better was that I was getting to lead people up their first munro! Anyway, a quick breakfast and a brew, kit in the van and off I drove to the car park at Invergeldie. Best not forget to say that my wee pal Alfie the dog, was in the van with me. He does love a good hill day 🙂

On arriving at the car part at 07:30 there were already 7 other vehicles there. It does fill up quickly there so best to think about that if planning a trip. Please dont park in the Passing Places!

A quick walk with the dog to encourage him to do things that I dont then have to carry in my rucksack up the hill and then wait for my clients to arrive.

Then, there they were, 4 very excited and slightly nervous ladies. Even better, Karen brought cake!!!! Any hill day that involves cake is always a good day.

The forecast for the day had involved rain, and with an occluded front passing over the UK surely we were going to get dumped on at some point. From the offset we kept a nice slow steady pace. The idea was to keep it slow enough to be able to keep chatting and moving as much as we can.

When I lead a hill day I think it is important to let people know about their surroundings, their right to be outdoors and so many other subjects. It is also really important to provide a fun experience.

So, as well as walking up a hill, the day also involved:

  • The outdoor access code
  • Flora and fauna
  • Geology
  • Advice on how to walk
  • How to use walking poles
  • Ninja numbers
  • Alphabet game
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Superpowers
  • Yodeling
  • And so much more

All 4 did so well and there was a mix of smiles, laughter and tears when they reached the summit! Such an amazing achievement by a lovely group of people. The walk down the hill was a mix of fun, and sometimes silly, chat and also quiet reflection. It is so important to ensure people are aware of their achievement but it is also equally important to let them reflect in their own way and absorb the world of emotions that a person goes through when they achieve something they never thought possible.

A massive well done to each of the 4 of you! This is only the start of your journey and there are hills of all shapes and sizes for you to explore 🙂

Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey!

The Cairnwell Trio

Tarmachan Ridge

CPD with Glenn Gordon Mountaineering