Weekend Wanderer: The Ocean’s Depth to the Mountain’s Peak
Now that I’m two-thirds of the way through the horror of scuba certification, it is time for me to tackle another challenge.
I promise I’m not making up words. Munro bagging is a real thing. Munros are what Scots call their mountains. Munro bagging is the endeavor to summit all 200-plus Munros in Scotland.
Yes. I’m going to Scotland.
A destination to be envied for sure. But it’s worth considering that I’m only going to Scotland because Indy went to Marion’s bar in Nepal.
In the weeks after Indy’s death — it’s still not easy saying that, but I’m getting there — my grief was a presence, like Carol Anne’s poltergeists or Erica Kane’s evil twin.
Ooh — or like Viki’s multiple personalities on One Life to Live! Remember when one of her personalities kidnapped Dorian Lord? I mean, it was for Viki’s own good, but …
Wait. How did we get from Scotland to Dorian Lord?
Oh. Right. Grief.
“There is literally nothing I can do for you,” my husband said to me one day. “So go to Scotland.”
I don’t think he meant for me to go alone.
But I couldn’t blame him if he desired either of those things.
Years ago, he bought me land in a nature preserve in Scotland. The fee for the land paid to rewild my two square feet of Scottish midlands.
It also made me a Lady in Scotland.
Behold, and genuflect before me. I am a Lady of Glencoe, Scotland.
Now fetch me a drink.
This gift is a little bit of a crossover, like when a crime started with Law & Order and ended with Homicide: Life on the Street. It is Scotland, which I love. And it is nature, which my husband loves.
So while any Scottish trip will stroke the city girl in me — I’m on my way, Edinburgh — it will also satisfy my outdoorsy husband.
Because there is no way I’m not visiting my land.
And I think that was sort of my husband’s plan all along. Because really. Who gifts wild terrain to a couch potato, even if it is in Scotland?
An outdoorsman. That’s who.
A leg of our Scottish tour will find us in Glencoe, Scotland, touring my land. I have designated this as the outdoors branch of our Scottish sojourn. The rest of our trip is devoted to Scottish cities.
And, of course, Loch Ness.
Not that I believe in the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t.
But would I scuba dive in Loch Ness?
Oh good Dorian Lord, no. No, I would not.
In Glencoe, we will be Daniel Boone. Davy Crockett. Bear Grylls. Check out Skyfall. James Bond winds up at his childhood home.
Beautiful, right? Rugged for sure.
And that’s just Daniel Craig!
Glencoe absolutely reflects his vigor. His brawn. Who wouldn’t want to climb a Munro in Glencoe? Or climb Daniel Craig in Glencoe?
The trick with Munros is that, at three thousand feet or higher, they can make for a strenuous climb. The weather can shift abruptly and be drastically different from the weather at sea level, where normal people tend to stay.
And just so we’re clear, each time I say, “Munro,” I’m saying it in a Ted Knight circa Too Close for Comfort voice while my mind conjures JM J Bullock.
Also, I’m climbing one Munro. Not all 200-plus.
To climb a Munro, or its cousins Grahams and Donalds, Mountaineering Scotland recommends completing its Sofa2Summit course.
I mean, really. Are you kidding me? First, I have to certify to dive 60 feet below sea level, and now I have to certify to climb thousands of feet above it? Does anyone realize the best week of my life was when I isolated with COVID, a bag of cookies, and five streaming services?
Let me tell you something. I tried with that Sofa2Summit. I really did.
Then I found out what happened to Graham and Donald.
Because you know that people like the Munros, Grahams, and Donalds of the world who are so outdoorsy they have geological landforms named for them probably meet with tragic endings. I mean, have you ever looked up the Born Free people?
Stay away from the Appalachian Trail. And the podcast National Parks After Dark. Skip Chasing Mavericks. There are not a lot of Tom Cruises in that film, but there are a couple of dead people.
And let’s just say Graham was murdered and Donald drowned while hiking one of his namesakes.
Why? Why. Why. Why did Sofa2Summit tell me these people are dead? Will that information make me a better Munro bagger? Do I need to watch out for murderers and aggressive mountain pools?
Sofa2Summit doesn’t even know I’m hiking Munros with two Donalds of my own. That definitely means something, right? That I’ll have Donalds in my party? Certainly, we’re more at risk for catastrophe.
I don’t understand why this information finds me — the drowned scuba diver, the caiman in FDR Park, the dead mountaineers. Why can’t I stumble across articles about people growing into their sofas or choking on their cookies?
I suppose I could take this as a sign to stay put, to leave the diving and climbing to my family.
But I’m halfway through Sofa2Summit. Two-thirds of the way through scuba.
And maybe, just maybe, on my way to living.
Like, apparently, everyone else who goes outside.
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