“Get the girls some tea” the mountain rescue team stammer, as we walk into the CIC hut half way up Ben Nevis. After a week in Scotland on my own, Lorna North, Founder and writer at Queen of the Mile, boarded the Caledonian Sleeper Train from Euston to Fort William to join me for three days of unadulterated adventure in Scotland.
This was day two and we’d decided to go for a run up Ben Nevis. At 1344m The Ben, as it’s known by locals and climbers, is the highest mountain in the UK. In March, much of it is still covered in snow, beckoning climbers and skiers to adventure in its shadows and and dance in its light. We were here to run and feel the freedom of nature all around us.
To say the mountain rescue team were surprised to see Lorna and I walk into the CIC hut, is a gross understatement. I don't think it was quite what they were expecting. They were at the end of their day’s search for a young couple who disappeared whilst climbing a few weeks prior.*
Hours later, Lorna and I are nestled into a grassy bank on a cliff top on the West Coast of Scotland. With a packet of crisps, a pot of humous and local ales, we sit bathed in the beauty of silence.
Listening to Silence
When was the last time you listened to silence? In a busy life, it’s something we have to actively hunt down, create, and fiercely protect as our time to think, reflect or just be. Scotland offers the opposite. In Scotland, silence, beauty and space are all wrapped up in the rugged wilderness that calls me to come back again and again.
Perched on our cliff top, there’s an unspoken feeling that these moments we’re sharing will stay with us forever. Lorna breaks the silence with “I can't believe we were running so near to where those poor people went missing.” Her words jolt me into a realisation that sometimes I can forget the things I do feel natural to me, are perhaps not all that normal.
I remember standing on top of Kinder Scout as an 18 year old when a man came running over the top and disappeared into the horizon. I’d never seen anyone run in the mountains before, nor knew it was a thing that people did. “Fell runners, fittest people on the planet,” my friend Eddie had said to me at the time. I remember being totally amazed, I may even have stopped breathing as I watched this figure fade away. I never imagined one day that could be me.
Lorna and I are not the fittest people on the planet, nor do we label ourselves fell or mountain runners. But this weekend, we took our shoes, our sense of adventure and courageous spirit and we ran mountains. There were no time pressures or splits to hit, just the mountains and us.
Why I run
When I run, I free myself from everything that’s holding me back. Any frustrations or limitations become a thing of the past. I connect with who I am at my core and that becomes all that matters. Nothing can touch me in this place, it’s my source of strength. The simplest part of my life, filled with richness.
Anyone can do it
Anyone can run in the mountains, forests, hills or trails. You don’t need specific training, expensive kit or a big plan. You just need to go do it. Find what inspires you and let your feet lead the way. Grab a friend or go alone. I love both.
It’s as simple as finding a walking path and running it.
After our run on The Ben, Lorna and I headed off in search of a wild camping spot on the West Coast. Stay tuned for the next blog on our wild camping adventure!