Lost Souls

High Emotions on Lockdown Mission No. 9

A fine day for a hike up the mountain. Snow wouldn’t be available until top of Mugs Alley, so it was a dusty walk up the path with short sleeves and my board on my back. Even then it was extremely sun affected. Pools of meltwater were forming in the footprints of this ahead of me.

Slushy steps leading up from Mugs Alley

I could see a few folks up on the mountain. One of those would be a skier called Eric. We got chatting as we made our way up from the rescue hut.

If you are not aware (as I haven’t written a lot about it) I lost my dad the previous November. Many of these hikes through lockdown were the solace I’d been looking for through the strict lockdown days. These “Lockdown Hikes” as I’m calling them were what I needed. During dad’s last months I’d been isolated up in Glasgow on my own. I was able to visit by the summer, cycling down for his birthday in June, but by autumn, dad was in and out of hospital where we couldn’t visit. When we lost him, I’d missed 6 months of his company due to various restrictions.

These days hiking and sliding on the almost empty ski hill became my therapy, my councel, a large geological shoulder to cry on.

My chat with Eric, revealed that he had recently lost his father. Despite the grief chat, discussing recent events, health and well-being, it was hugely uplifting for me. I hope it was for him.

We got to the summit and made our way to Spring Run. Eric shot ahead and I turned down a rather nice slushy Spring Run, keeping to the left to make a return to the rescue hut and another trip to the top.

Before the end of of Spring Run through, I found myself side slipping to a stop just short of the mini bergschrund that often form on the convex slopes lower down. I slipped and my board dropped down into the little chasm, to about knee height. There is no way out other than to unclip my bindings and step out of crevasse like confinement. Once free, I strapped in for the short slide down before walking back to the rescue hut to explain to Eric where I’d been and why it had taken me so long.

Shortly into our walk back up, Eric explained he would depart to take a run with his dad who had also enjoyed Glencoe. We parted ways and I continued up to take in Spring Run once again. Although my own dad wasn’t a skier, he was very much with me every day I hiked for turns in this season that wasn’t a season.

Looking towards the new lift

The sun was strong, and I was sweating on the walk back down, I felt myself reddening. I’d developed a fairly strong lobster look by that evening back in Cardross, my other refuge, where I would stay with mum.