Stuc a’ Chroin

Here I am at an altitude of about 630m not far south of the summit of Stuc a’ Chroin – just at the point where the cloud begins to envelop everything with cold damp invisibility. Having got this far, it would not have been much of an effort to get to the summit, but I decided I didn’t want to go there just for the sake of ticking off another Munro. Suddenly I felt a a sense of relief that took me by surprise. I was not disappointed because I had failed to achieve what I set out to do, nor beaten back by the weather. I was happy that I had chosen not to go to the top of another mountain to witness nothing but the ground beneath my feet. I had in fact chosen not to miss the view from the top, but to come back another day to see it, because I knew that if I now went to the top I would have no reason to return. I climbed to the summits of 46 Munros in 2016, of which only 25 involved views of anything more than cloud. Although I am sure that the views from these summits are uniquely spectacular and would be worthy of experiencing, because they are now ticked off the list, my priorities direct me towards the 199 summits I have yet to climb.

In 2017, I hope to be able to choose my weather more carefully and to be less obsessive about ticking off the summits, while continuing to bag as many Munros I can. I intend also to continue to make sensible decisions, while pushing myself to the limits of what I can do.

I shall also be grappling with other paradoxes of my own making.

Author: Duncan Spence

Mountaineer, retired bicycle messenger, philosopher, wordsmith, Dutch translator.

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