Struthers,Struthers,& Semple…….not a Law Firm,perhaps unfortunately,but the intrepid trio of Ian,Sally, and allegedly Wooster.Yes these three are really coming onto their game. Which one is that?

Their Saturday’s Sublime Social Sojourn (2.5.09)

Well this sojourn was one of three that we talked about. One of three extended expeditions in remote areas.I say we,well of course Ian’s ideas for Sally’s 22 mile run.She is doing the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of the month,and the 22 miler had to be this week-end (2.5.09). One route (look out for another report) entailed a 6a.m. start and returning at midnight or after-could’nt fit it in. So anything that happened during the day was Sally’s fault, and anything that did’nt happen, for example,good weather,was Sally’s fault. That’s fair,is’nt it?

This was an A to B , Victoria Bridge Car Park,nr. Bridge of Orchy to Taynuilt thro’ Glen Kinglass, Glen Liver,and Glen Noe.From VB you have the Black Mount with Stob a Choire Odhair & Sotb Ghabhar. Then as you traverse Glen Kinglass the main peak to the north Ben Starav, while to the south you have Ben Cruachan. Two cars for this of course,unless you fancied 22 miles back as well. Oh,be serious, be lucky to do 15 miles if entirely candid. How long will it take us? What to take in body cover? Food? Drinks? Do you care? Well if you do, Ian& Sally opted for the rucsac, while your writer opted for the bum-bag. (Too ruddy heavy of course-took too much).

As you can well imagine for this trio before the off, the comments were: "This is another fine mess you got me into", or "Who’s idea was this anyway at this time on a Saturday morning?".Much packing of food into our bags and pulling and stretching and mutterings and each taking their own "illicit" potions-would have failed the Drugs Test(that’s confidential).So each suffering from pharmacomania OOOHHHH before the start of our epic run. Here’s your starter for ten as Paxo would say…"What is the most important item of kit when doing an A to B.

Correct if you said Car Keys. Yes, don’t leave the car keys in the other car. Allegedly, in the mists of Westies Time, there was such an incident, but I really could not comment-it may be too painful for all concerned.

Are we there yet? Bloody Hell we ain’t even started yet! After the track from VB it’s soon pretty boggy going, and what would be the running order? That is, would we run together, or would we be strung out over miles of track? Would we get lost? Impossible Actually,if the mist was right down, or you closed your eyes,you might go through the forrest at the start and go up Stob Ghabhar. No, it’s a major track,a lot of it, 4 wheel drive track, so ye canny go wrong. Or could you?

We were strung out, as expected, each running at their own pace, and coming together for short breaks. Yes, make them short-might not start again. Perhaps about a quarter way into the run we came to a much wider and deeper river crossing.There was a sign pointing us down river (west) saying "bridge". Only, thing was there was this dilapidated, rickety, elevated bridge right in front of us. Planks of wood missing from it’s base,etc. and only 50 feet high,oh well, maybe 15 feet high.So you had to use the thin side wire to stand on (would it take our weight?). Would it all crash into the river taking us for our early bath? Naturally, Westies were not to be deterred from a little problem-solving.

Ian seemed to brace himself ,going forward as our Captain. So it could have been: "Stand aside men, we’ll show what the Home Guard can do ". Or, "Pike, get up there and let’s see what you’re made of". "Never mind what Uncle Arthur says,get a move on- STUPID BOY ". Now there was no proper stile or leverage to get up to the elevated bridge so….our Captain had to contort his body in certain ways …..put you in mind of the ANIMAL GAME from a few week-ends ago. Was it a Silver-Backed Gorrila?An Orang’Outang?,a Chimp? A Meercat?-the neck was seen to crane -if rather awkwardly? Contrary to "the game" there were some utterances, or grunts and groans, ah no, but no expletives,perish the thought. In a trice we were all up and over-nae trouble at all. It was just the remaining 16 miles that might trouble us. And the weather? Well, we chose an excellent day really. The tops were in the cloud but we had it fine for much of the day. Yes it rained on us, then it poured on us, but no one was pulling on a jacket . We did have to battle against a strong wind for, well, all day actually.So that dried us off again.

As you approach Loch Etive and turn south to Glen Liver the views are simply stunning.On to Glen Noe and beyond and it’s surprisingly, worringly, up and down. We were mis-informed. As in Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) response when questioned by the Kommandant (Conrad Veight?) in Casablanca(1942)……

"Why did you come to Casablanca in the first place?"

"For the waters".

"But we’re in the desert!"

"I was mis-informed"(tug of the ear lobe).

We did meet some walkers during the day, which completely shot our guesses at "How many people we would pass today,game" Sometimes this is zero. Yes, we are remote at times. One party of intrepid youngsters; well impossibly young i.e. under forty, and a few other groups of walkers looking at us in mild amusement.

So, what is it now 15/16 miles and going, 18/19/20 miles hingin’ in there. 21/22 miles and "I’sa plum knackered". Sally was still going, going going for 26- had to shout stop, stop, Mercy, mercy. She will do just great in the Marathon.

Then we sat by a little pond in the sun with a cup of tea and, some of us , eating anything and everything, before going off for a meal at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.Never has a plain bag of crisps tasted sooooooo good.

Just a marvellous way to spend a Saturday,in great company,in stunning surroundings, in the fresh air.


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