Celebrating New Year
For the past 10 years, New Year’s day has always involved having a hangover. We decided to break from that tradition to see in 2015…
A couple of days before the 31st I decided that I didn’t really want to waste at least two days getting drunk and then the subsequent hangover. Greg was in agreement and I eventually twisted his arm to agree with my alternative plan for the early hours of the brand new year…climb a mountain!
I know – I can’t believe it either!
The Bennachie hills are only 30 minutes away from where we live with the biggest peak, The Mither Tap, always in plain sight and I’ve always said one day we will go to the top. The 1st January 2015 was that day. I wanted to be there early enough to see the first sun rise of this brand new year.
Setting off at 6am, equipped with torches (including a head-torch, who knew that Christmas present from last year would ever come in useful) a multitude of hats, gloves, scarves and other “provisions” we were ready for our expedition.
The first lesson learned of 2015 hit me about 15 minutes after we started the climb – I am so unfit! I actually thought I was going to pass out on a rock and have to call the mountain rescue team to come and take me home. I also think the 4 layers of clothing, hat, scarf and gloves were a bit much as it was quite mild for this time of year. However, after numerous rests and offloading my rucksack to Greg I started to feel a little better.
I didn’t really expect to see anyone else up there at this time but when we got almost to the top there was a couple coming down. They were dressed in the full hill-walking gear while Greg and I had jeans and CAT boots. The man also had sticks. At first I thought “wow, this guy has made it all the way to the top with a broken leg and crutches” but I then figured out they were special hill-walking sticks…
We had a little chat with them and the lady said “it’s bracingly windy at the top” – she was ver posh! I didn’t really believe her because at our current location there was very little wind. The second lesson learned of 2015 is to trust real hill-walkers because when I got to the top it was as if God had just switched on his industrial sized wind machine!
Before I even got my camera out I had to have a shelter from the wind so I found a little cave thing and sat there for a few minutes. I did then try to take a few photos but it really was far too windy to concentrate on anything else except not falling over and trying to keep my eyeballs in their sockets. It was also too cloudy to get a good sunrise photo but I did get a couple of nice photos…
Of course we had to take the obligatory selfie…or 10…
We then went down slightly from the top as it was “provision” time. I didn’t really tell Greg what I had packed in the rucksack he so kindly carried for me but he was about to find out. A bottle of Bucks Fizz! Well, for me anyway – he was driving so he had coffee. Before he could say “is that why the bag was so heavy” I told him there were also Lion Bars so that seem to appease him.
As I sat there drinking from my Superman cup more and more people kept turning up and it’s like an unwritten rule of walkers – you have to speak to other walkers. We must have looked like some kind of “welcoming committee”, however, I wasn’t offering out a glass of my fizz as there wasn’t enough to go round!
The way down was a breeze compared to the way up until 5 minutes into the descent I said “is this the same way that we came up?” – it wasn’t, but we both agreed that all the routes must lead back to the same car park. When we got to the bottom, there was the car park.
A different car park!
Gutted! So, we had a “bonus walk” of 4 miles back to the car. At least it was on an actual footpath this time so it wasn’t too bad.
I have to say I am so glad we did this and it’s perhaps opened up my eyes to enjoying a new outdoor hobby.
I did record some of the journey so if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes or so and want to hear my delirious commentary – have a watch…
What do you think? Is this an awesome way to see in a new year? What’s been some ways you celebrate? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @SteveSays2014