Happy Hill

A long weekend feels as though it must be jam-packed with Things To Do and/or Places To Go.

For me, this weekend was about catching myself up coming the other way.

A week after the concert, I was still absolutely shattered. I managed a slow shuffle along a new-to-me stretch of the West Highland Way on Friday morning, and a rideout to St Andrews on Saturday.

But after that I felt all I could manage was some loafing about and a whole lot of guilt-induced tidying up. 

My house tends to look messy, lived in, some would say cluttered and/or disorganised. It’s true that I’m not the tidiest of people, but I can generally put my finger on whatever I need whenever I need it. I don’t have masses of spare time, but the (lack of) tidiness issue is more one of failure to prioritise rather than anything else.

I’ve been in Scotland for 2 ½ years now. I packed up and moved in a relatively short space of time, given how long I’d lived in my old house. Much as I hate the word downsize, this is exactly what I did, from a big old detached house initially bought to raise a family in, into a tiny modern little shoebox on a hillside with just enough space for one person, two large but lazy dogs and three harps.

And so it was time for a clear out. It felt slightly criminal using rare Scottish sunny days to do so, but I’d been putting it off long enough and this weekend I didn’t have the energy to do much else. It felt good, as if I’m lightening the load for the next move, and honing down what’s important and what is just superficial.

After a trip to the tip, I gave my poor motorbike a long overdue clean and fitted the new clutch lever that has remained snug in its box since last year.

By yesterday evening, the messy-related guilt had eased, and the glorious weather/not enough running guilt had kicked in instead so I set off for a run around the forest.

Unfortunately, my local forest is undergoing a pretty dire programme of felling at the moment and as a result is gradually turning from beautiful shady soft trails of pine needles, acorn shells and small rubbly rocks into muddy widened paths made only for lorries and diggers. The No Entry signs I came across last night had to be obeyed – I wasn’t going to pick a fight with a digger, so I retraced my steps and took another route instead.

What this did mean, however, was that I ran up a hill I would normally only run down. I might as well have been in a different place altogether – I just couldn’t believe the change in scenery just from turning around. I was now heading west towards the setting sun and it was glorious.

I extended my normal forest run a little out to visit a new favourite spot. This is a trig point that is marked on the map but marking a hill with no discernible name. It’s a minor diversion from the forest path, across a short stretch of very tussocky bog. It felt good to be ankle deep in muddy slushy greeny brown icy cold water again. The view from the trig point was tremendous, looking north-west towards Loch Lomond and the start of the mountains. Perhaps rather predictably, I’ve named it Happy Hill.

My weekend finished with very muddy feet and still-slightly-oily fingers, so I call that a bit of a result.




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