A couple of months ago I got an email from a gentleman, who had discovered me on google, requesting my services, to play the pipes for him as he completed his final Munro, Aonach Mor. It came as a great surprise to me, although, there can’t be many who would do such a thing I guess. It was a chance, also, to climb 2 Munros still on my to do list, in the company of some experienced, and as it turned out, very nice and friendly, walkers.
The 9.30 am start up glen Nevis was a struggle, coming from Glasgow after work the previous night, although, I was thrilled to find, that despite being about 15 minutes late, I was infact the first there! I had visions of running up the hill after everyone!
We all eventually got together, and several people were introduced to each other, it was all very casual and friendly. About 5 minutes into the walk, I was already called into action. David wanted me to run on ahead, to pipe for them as they got towards the water fall…so off I ran. I managed to get set up, and play a couple tunes, to the shock of several other walkers! Even managed to get a couple of pound thrown in my bag!
It was after catching up with the group, that I realised I had played too early, so, I had to run on ahead again!!!! This was going to be a tough day.
Glen Nevis is spectacular, and well worth the 10/15 minute walk. Aonach Beag, rose up beside us, and we were soon heading off up the faint path. Not long in, one of the guys boots fell apart, still no idea how, just wear I guess. One cable tie later, and we were off again.
Upon one of our first stops, I was again asked to play. The group were quite sympathetic, as at this point, breathing was becoming a bit more of a struggle, but as it was the reason for me being there, I felt I couldn’t refuse. It turned out to be a blessing I did play at various points, as we got some great views, before the clouds took over.
The views from the ridge were stunning. Very rugged, and could see for miles. It is such a shame the cloud dominated.
The summit came as a surprise to me, as I thought we still had lots to do, but it was a welcome sight. I felt the Misty Covered Mountains was an apt tune, as the group sat having their lunch.
Onward to Aonach Mor, David’s final Munro. Maybe it was because we couldn’t see, but this felt really quick and easy. Again we got the feel for the fantastic ridge, but, we really couldnt get the full experience.
I planned to run to the summit to pipe David to the top, but a combination of my legs failing (my previous sprints taking their toll) and the summit popping up sooner than expected, meant David got there first, probably more apt.
As we all gathered, David had his moment on the cairn, as I piped, and we were all in great spirits. A bottle of bubble, and a few drams were shared, and the cloud didn’t dampen the good mood.
Things got a little emotional, as David request a moment, with me playing, to scatter the ashes of his dog. Coolan, climbed over 100 Munros with David before passing on, and his ashes were taken to the other summits to complete the round. There were several tears in eyes, and it really was a special moment. A moment that really shows the impact pets, and especially dogs, can have, particularly when sharing such experiences.
So, down we went, back to the cars. A bit harder than expected due to the boulder fields, but I had the motivation of getting back to Glenelg to watch the Scotland Germany game.
Well, that would have been the plan, but today also marked the 2nd anniversary of my Nana’s passing. Nana is the reason I play the pipes, and she is the reason I am challenging myself to pipe on all the Munros. It was an emotional night for my mother and myself, and it was nice that we got to spend it together. (I did break the rules once I heard Scotland scored, but soon switched it back off)
Congratulations again to David, and I hope to reach my goal soon. 45, still a lot to go!!!!!