This morning I took the bus to Glasgow to accompany Craig part of the way on his journey to the airport. He has flown over to Belgium for a couple of days to eat chocolate, an activity that should take up more time on holidays, I think.
I returned to Edinburgh and it was still early - not yet noon, but more than that, it was clear, crisp and cold. Days like today are so rare in Scotland, where the sky is wide open with blue, like someone has tossed back the shutters. Normally there is always some element of grey, but today it was blue and yellow and the world reminded me of a country kitchen.
So rather than feel like I had let the day go to waste, I caught the bus out to the Pentland Hills, just on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I had been there once before and remembered climbing uphill for what seemed like forever. But I had convinced myself that it couldn't be that bad. I was wrong.
It was such a gorgeous day, but most of today's memories of the Pentlands are awash with the image of me trying to catch my breath while adjusting the hood of my fleece over my right ear to keep the wind from tunneling inside it and freezing the crust of my brain.
Lesson learned: I am not, nor will I ever be, someone who enjoys walking uphill. When I say uphill, I can stand a small incline. But serious ascents are not for me. I'm more of a river valley wanderer. However despite all my coughing and sputtering, I did find one path that may be worth my future exploration. The Capital View Walk is not so fervent in its application of agony, although it also contains long sections that require one to lumber slowly upwards. Note how it even looks less threatening on the signpost:
I also managed to witness some strange human behavior, as the Pentlands are home to a "sport" park that specializes in allowing people to pretend they are skiing. Clad in complete downhill skiing outfits, including poles, these nordic wanabes are hauled up the hill by the ski lift, after which they ski down giant, white, bristled carpets, somehow stopping at the bottom before slamming into a set of precariously stacked bulky mats. Next door to the park is a large golf course, which, while nothing new in Scotland, seems odd just because of its placement between the wild hills and the people pretending it is winter.
I wandered past one sign that warned of "wayward" golf balls, except the golf part seemed an afterthought. "WARNING! POSSIBLE WAYWARD golf shots," as if you could just replace "golf shots" with whatever else might be looming frighteningly nearby. WARNING! POSSIBLE WAYWARD Caesar salads.
And that is my story. I'm going to go and call Moe for her birthday. If she isn't in, I shall leave some kind of happy birthday message. As one does.
Twilight Scrawls by Kirstin Maguire
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