(29) Lost Path
Updated: Apr 10
Sometimes I make lists in my head while I run. Sometimes I think of new tunes. The lists are far more likely to be remembered than the tunes. It is somewhat sad that they can be so fleeting. I began a piece for my dad yesterday on the Lost Path, but by the time I had come back through the Arboretum, it was gone - it is a lot easier to remember a string of words than a string of notes. With words there are always other words you can hang them onto to help with recall. Maybe some people can do that with notes too, but I can't. Nor can Christine McVie and nor can Andrew Lloyd Webber. I heard the latter talk about losing a very good tune (of course!) and being surprised when he could not recall it at all. He learned the lesson early on that you have to write it down immediately if you do not want to lose it. In a Desert Island Discs episode, Christine McVie recalled having to sit up from 3 in the morning until 7, or something like that, in a caravan, repeating the song 'Say You Love Me' over and over, until she could get to a piano and notebook to put it to paper.
The Lost Path is a 10 minute walk away from our door. The circular route from Garden Cottage, through the Arboretum and up to just about Keppoch, then back along past the Keeper's House, is a short 1.73 miles and has 71.32 metres ascent. Some people prefer to call it the Forgotten Path. Lost or forgotten, it is quite something to have a path and then not to have it for decades. It passes through a wood of native species, hazel, birch, rowan, oak, and gives good views of the Bay and of Beinn a' Clachan. It is a good path to walk or to run - it is nice to do so, knowing that Isabelle is the caretaker of these paths.
I have started running again after a few years of not doing so. I used to really like it (never going particularly far) but had to stop, when, eventually, every time I took it up again, my Achilles tendon started hurting after the second or third run. Severe calf cramps had me finishing runs with one foot splayed out, hobbling for a mile, and then not managing to walk on it for a few days. I have found a new style, though, that seems to suit me better. I was once complimented on my dancer's running technique, up on the balls of my feet and light landing. It turns out that it is not running that hurts my calves, it is Highland Dance running. Flat feet while trying not to be clumsy about it, is working well. It makes me laugh to myself and wonder what Mrs Haggarty would have thought. She was my Highland Dance teacher for many years, prodding at knees with sticks to turn them out further, and sharply correcting Vale Of Leven girls' accents (one two three four five SUCKS seven).... I do feel the need to do this flatfoot run before anyone else is awake, so no one can see me, and am very much enjoying being up with the early birds.
My flat foot running is part of a 4 week plan, along with cycling and swimming, to complete the Celtman (an extreme triathlon) in distance at least..... 26 miles of running, just over 2 miles of swimming and 125 miles of cycling, whilst ascending 4000m (that is over 4 Munros!). I got the idea because I was so impressed recently by two locals, who, although they did not finish it due to not making a crucial cut-off in the run, are indeed CELTMEN in the eyes of most people in Applecross. Absolutely bonkers, of course, but nonetheless utterly impressive. AND (!) Celtmen have to fit it all in to 24 hours or thereabouts. I thought I would give myself 4 weeks in which to do it, and complete it the day before my 48th birthday with a mini triathlon on the last day of everything still left to do.
I am raising money, as I run/swim/cycle, for the building of an emergency helipad in Applecross. With traffic on our single track roads increasing to silly levels with the NC500, and with more people than ever before doing even sillier things on the roads, hold ups are on the increase. We have been reminded in the last couple of years that anybody, at any time, old or young, local or tourist, may have need of the emergency services. Raigmore Hospital, in Inverness, is our nearest for any serious emergencies. And we know, in an emergency, that every minute could make a difference. In winter time the helicopter has landed in the past at the Applecross Inn. This is only possible during the quieter winter months, though. And when silliness is holding up driving on the single track roads, a helipad more locally than Sand, round the coast, would be a very welcome addition.
I have managed, so far, nearly all the swim mileage, in two goes. I want a little to be left for the final triathlon.... Katrina, her friend and Is were in the 'safety boat' the first time, canoeing in front of me.
I didn't realise they were bashing jelly fish out the way or I would have got into the boat without a second thought for any fundraising. I panic a bit with jelly fish, even the non stinging ones, in case they have managed to evolve just for me. The cycling has only just taken off. For the first two weeks I only did a few miles here or there. Not nearly enough. I think the cycling seemed, at the start, the easiest to get under my belt, and so procrastination kicked in.....
My running/cycling/swimming thoughts and lists include: 1) Who would be so shit as to leave their dog poo on that path????? I actually am pretty sure who. I have seen the dogs poo on that path before and the excuse is that they have diarrhea. Nice. Do they ALWAYS have diarrhea???? What are you feeding them?
2) What makes a person come to such a place and then leave their litter here/ not close the gates/ drive through without stopping?? I did pick up an unused and only half put-up cheap tent earlier this week. Minette likes it and so too does the little boy I am looking after. We will test it ourselves this weekend....
3) SHIT Is that a jelly fish? Please not be. SHIT is that seaweed? I don't like seaweed. Too much like jelly fish. I actually think I might have been stung by one during a wetsuitless dip last weekend. Sore, red, hot, stinging shin. I like them even less now.
4) How fit am I going to be when I get to the end of these 4 weeks?? Hmm, less than I thought... I seem to be eating more and drinking more to make up for it..... and we do keep having visitors.....
5) Trees in alphabetical order. Ash Birch Cedar Don't know Elder Fir Gigantic
6) Trump. Boris. Bolsorano. Plastic. Air miles. Endangered species. What the fuck are we doing?
7) I am still going over the Passing Place song of three posts ago, especially when cycling, but am not spending enough time on it to actually get it finished. It has more words now and a middle eight. I have to say that I have added in the chorus theme (but different words) from my Suck It Up Buttercup chorus (of the last post.....). It is good that that is not to be entirely wasted.
8) FUCKING SLOW DOWN YOU ARSEHOLE!!! Unbelievably, there have been, in the last two bike rides, five dangerous road users. Three of them were in a convoy. You don't fly past a cyclist as if you haven't seen them on a single track road. Fifty miles per hour makes the cyclist wobble. Especially if there are three in a fucking row. I got loudly angry with them.....
9) Building elaborate lego houses; Driving to Aberdeen at a slightly different time to the others once, overnight and stopping for fish and chips; My first medal in Highland Dancing; Learning how to complete the Logic Problem grids with clues; The answer to Where's the bin? always being Ah's bin to Gibralta, Tenerife, France.....; Growing a beard at Sea and none of us noticing; MUSIC. LOUD. Good quality speakers and music systems. Eclectic musical tastes. The Laughing Policeman. Puff The Magic Dragon for us children. Abba. Queen. Mike Oldfield. TUBULAR BELLS many times. Bach and bits of classics; Real liquorice sticks, like wood. Sports Mixtures and Texan bars on a Sunday morning to keep us quiet when Mum had done a night shift; Funny films that were too old for us and too rude, but funny anyway. Crying at Bambi and Watership down. Watching The Parent Trap over and over; Making me sign my name at 2 in the morning for night time medicine, because I wouldn't believe that I was getting it, having no memory of it. I signed it Snanums or Enazus, that's how your brain functions when you are asleep and you are eight; The promise that if I wanted red hair I had to eat ginger biscuits. I so wanted redder hair; Pork crackling. Yorkshire pudding; One black one one white one and one with a little shite on; Out to dinner at the Chinese restaurant for my 13th birthday, just me.
10) These are all Dad memories. Dad has unfriended me on Facebook. He did not like me trying to persuade him to get in touch with Nick (my new-found brother of the last couple of posts). I thought we had come to an agreement that we disagreed strongly about it. I do not know if it is just Facebook or if he does not want any contact with me in any other form now either. I am sad again. I think I am a little depressed - I think I have started grieving the relationship. It is hard to explain that it is in between much happiness. I hope I am wrong to grieve.
I have four days to go of my challenge. I am pleased to have raised over £400 for the helipad. When I finish, I am hoping to continue to cycle and run (I know I will swim, I am the mother of a narwhal). I hope to finish my passing place song before my birthday and I do hope to bring the fund raised up to £500. Optimistically, I also hope to find my latest missing tune somewhere.
Dad. I love you. (This snippet is one I wrote for him on his birthday.)