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Another Spring Cobbler Climb

It was almost a whim which made us decide to make The Cobbler our first climb of the year. We'd left it late for sure. We're normally out there bashing about the hills throughout the winter but this year was different because of the work we had been doing in the house and my own multiple commitments elsewhere.

I'd spent the previous two weeks feeling pretty poor with a mixture of back pain and virus but the weather gods were smiling today. There was nothing stopping us. Had they not been, weaker motivation may have crumbled but even today with the weakest motivation and the briefest preparation, there was only one outcome.

So off we went. When we arrived we jumped out the car and were so eager to get on with it we even forgot the fruit wed bought specifically for the climb. If you know the path up The Cobbler, you'll know that the first section is a pretty tough, winding slog up through the forests which cover the steep lower slopes of the hill and border Loch Long. It was during this section that I discovered that, despite my porridge breakfast and my sirloin steak/fish finger dinner the night before, I had little to no energy in my body. It was all I could do to place one leg in front of the other for a while but I took frequent rests and somehow managed to slog on. I was gutted. It was a lovely day and Brian (and I) had never seen the view from the top of this mountain without it being obscured by clouds. Today was to be that day, but how. I was exhausted and didn't feel like I had anything in reserve. I promised Id make it to the reservoir by hook or by crook and despite plenty of puffing and wheezing we got there and let the dogs play in the water.

At this point, after a bit of a break, I felt a little better and said I'd like to carry on to the shelter stones and decide there whether or not I could carry on. Once there we made up some energy drink from a sachet and I gulped it down. Again the break made me feel like I could go on just a little bit more so I committed to make it up to the point where the path splits 3 ways to head off for Beinn Narnain, Ben Ime and The Cobbler. As I walked the sugars in my stomach seemed to energise me with every step. I was still hurting but it was becoming less of a problem.

When we got to the 3 way split we stopped again and had a good break. The final and steepest part of the climb loomed above me like a skyscraper but I'd decided if I could make it this far I could make it to the top. After popping 3 dextrose tablets we set off. The final part of the climb is like a long hellish staircase with stones of all sizes making up the crazy paving stairs. It was a tough stretch but, with the help of plenty of breaks and the knowledge we were nearly there, we made it. As you can see from the picture at the top, the views were well worth the slog. Spectacular! 

After a linger at the windy top to take in the majesty, it was time to head back down the path to the delights of the chip shop and the chance to undo some of the healthy goodness we'd subjected ourselves to. Well, life is all about striking a happy balance. What a great day!

 

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The Inchcape Rock



NO stir in the air, no stir in the sea,

The ship was still as she could be;

Her sails from heaven received no motion;

Her keel was steady in the ocean.

 

Without either sign or sound of their shock,

The waves flowed over the Inchcape Rock;

So little they rose, so little they fell,

They did not move the Inchcape Bell.

 

The Abbot of Aberbrothok

Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;

On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,

And over the waves its warning rung.

 

When the rock was hid by the surge’s swell,

The mariners heard the warning bell;

And then they knew the perilous rock,

And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

 

The sun in heaven was shining gay;

All things were joyful on that day;

The sea-birds screamed as they wheeled round,

And there was joyance in their sound.

 

The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen,

A darker speck on the ocean green:

Sir Ralph the Rover walked his deck,

And he fixed his eye on the darker speck.

 

He felt the cheering power of spring;

It made him whistle, it made him sing:

His heart was mirthful to excess,

But the Rover’s mirth was wickedness.

 

His eye was on the Inchcape float;

Quoth he, “My men, put out the boat,

And row me to the Inchcape Rock,

And I ’ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”

 

The boat is lowered, the boatmen row,

And to the Inchcape Rock they go;

Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,

And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.

 

Down sunk the bell with a gurgling sound;

The bubbles rose and burst around:

Quoth Sir Ralph, “The next who comes to the rock

Won’t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”

 

Sir Ralph the Rover sailed away;

He scoured the seas for many a day;

And now, grown rich with plundered store,

He steers his course for Scotland’s shore.

 

So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky,

They cannot see the sun on high:

The wind hath blown a gale all day;

At evening it hath died away.

 

On the deck the Rover takes his stand;

So dark it is, they see no land.

Quoth Sir Ralph, “It will be lighter soon,

For there is the dawn of the rising moon.”

 

“Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar?

For methinks we should be near the shore.”

“Now where we are I cannot tell,

But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell.”

 

They hear no sound; the swell is strong;

Though the wind hath fallen, they drift along,

Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock:

“O Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock!”

 

Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,

He curst himself in his despair:

The waves rush in on every side;

The ship is sinking beneath the tide.

 

But even in his dying fear

One dreadful sound could the Rover hear,—

A sound as if, with the Inchcape Bell,

The Devil below was ringing his knell.

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