Stags and Ghosts

So, I am back from Glencoe.  Whilst most people I know were off to Anstruther for the annual Fence Homegame Festival, I spent my weekend on the banks of the River Coe celebrating Alex “Wee Red Bar” Fenton’s last few weeks on this planet as an unmarried man.  I left Edinburgh on Friday night at about 6pm and arrived in Glencoe at about 9pm.  Just in time for some Chilli and some good ale.  The drive up in the pitch dark is always a bit scary but I had some great music to keep me going and I found the cottage we were staying in with only some minor navigational issues!  And what a great weekend I had, though I am discovering that I am less and less into the idea of getting plastered than I used to be.  The highlight of the weekend for me was the walk we went on on the Saturday.  This was no leisurely Saturday stroll though.  This was full on hill climbing.  And it was magic!  My mum and dad use to take me hill walking when I was wee.  Something that I hated then but I regret hating now.  I do find it funny how as a youngster you fail to embrace the things your parents make you do, yet as you get older it’s those very things that seem to seep back into your life and become important to you again. 

There’s something really liberating about climbing a hill and being out in the wild.  I always felt that when I played golf.  Being out doors.  In the middle of nowhere gives you so much time to collect your thoughts and escape from the every day shit that you deal with on a daily basis.  I could happily wake up every single day and look out my window onto the hills and rivers of Glencoe or indeed numerous other remote parts of Scotland.  I don’t think I was built for city life if I’m totally honest.  I’d give anything to make some money and just disappear into the hills.  Maybe even buy a house next door to Jimmy Saville!

There’s something magical about Glencoe.  It’s always been very creepy to me.  It’s always had this air of dark history.  The Glencoe massacre being the focal point of this darkness.  One of the guys on the stag had been a ranger in Glencoe for some months and was full of stories about the massacre and Coreg the ghost witch who haunts the forest.  I love all that stuff.  It makes the place even more creepy.  The mountains even more dominant and haunting and dangerous.  And they are dangerous.  3 people died in the last few weeks taking on the hills.  The place feels alive with history and tragedy.  It really is a stunning part of our wonderful little country.

Anyways, whilst the other guys destroyed themselves and their livers I took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep.  I was home Sunday lunchtime and the early start and 3 hour drive home really took it out of me so I spent most of the day reading my new Willy Vlautin novel ‘Lean On Pete’.  I really do adore Vlautin’s writing style.  His books are so simple in structure.  Short sentences.  Short chapters.  Yet somehow he creates such deeply moving stories and characters who you care about from the beginning.  Who you want to survive.  Who you want to help.  Who you want to win.  He is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I look forward to the release of his novels more and more each time.  I’d highly recommend you check out his work if you haven’t already.

So yes, I’m getting old I think.  And I’m really losing my desire to get drunk and stay up late.  And whilst all my friends were in Anstruther watching and listening to music all weekend, I’d take the weekend I had any day of the week.  Every day if I could.


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