Blogging and trogging - Thu 24th Dec 2009
Si's general blogs on what's been going on...
No room at the Inn, but plenty at the bunkhouse on the end of the road...
It's Christmas Eve, it's fifteen degrees (Celcius) below zero and we are at the end of the road. Quite literally we are at the end of the road, it’s the road out of Fort William, Scotland's mountaineering capital, and it ends at a bunkhouse, imaginatively titled the Ben Nevis Inn.
Let's build the picture here, we've driven for two solid days through blizzards, some of the most unspeakable and freakish weather the British Isles has ever thrown down onto the roads, we've slept in the back of the van because we are too exhausted to do anything else and we arrive at roads end having tried every hotel and bed and breakfast along the way - no room at the Inn was the story coming out loud and clear - so it seemed like it was going to be a full camping expedition as close to our target as possible the Big Bad Ben of Nevis - joy - Christmas joy was a little absent.
The picture can build a little more - we aren't very happy, we've waded through a recession with our small business, we are relieved we got through it intact, with a smile and without any infantile banks foreclosing on loans, but we are absolutely exhausted, we are struggling to find the energy to smile at petrol station attendants here at the best if times, but we are still managing to crack some Christmas jokes on the way.
At the back of the Inn - standing there in the starry light is a fellow traveller - all smiles and spontanaeity...
It turns out that my new found friend is also seeking to find peace, love and balance with the world in general after a similarly harrowing year and what better place to do this than the UK's highest and bleakest mountain.
Jan it turned out wasn't from the Orient, but from rather closer to home - Krakow, Poland and more entertaining than the simple oversight forgetting to bring Myhrr or Incence was the fact that he overlooked any Vodka. A Pole without Vodka on Christmas Eve in the middle of nowhere - everything looked set for a positively fun time.
I love bunkhouses. I really love bunkhouses where there is trust, where you are trusted to pay with an honesty box - it makes everything so much warmer inside. The owner on the phone in Manchester trusted us to leave cash for the next few nights and more than that trusted us into his office when like muppets we locked ourselves out with the Yale lock - what an Angel.
As it turned out, Christmas Eve without frills, without anything, as it turned out, but the company of one, was more entertaining that you could imagine - the true meaning of Christmas was all about us. Two individuals, a common sense of humour and not even a heating switch in the manger. Away.
The view across the lake on the road to Glencoe