"A lot of things aren't worth doing, but almost anything is worth telling."
Ursula K. LeGuin, "Shroedinger's Cat"

Monday, January 7, 2013

How Not to Climb a Scottish Rock

One weekend during Marty's and my summer in London, we took a coach up to Edinburgh in Scotland.  Britain is smaller that most states, but it still took us almost all day Saturday to get there, and it was pretty much dark by the time we arrived.  As usual we had no plan, such as where we might possibly stay the night.  We did go into a local pub, but frankly the locals were far from friendly.  We seemed get a lot of dark looks until I thought we were re-enacting a scene from An American Werewolf in London, so we didn't stay long.  Although we weren't out in the moors about to be savaged by a beast, we were in the middle of a capital city with absolutely no idea of what the hell to do with ourselves.

Finally after dithering around for awhile, Marty points to a large hill on the outskirts of the city and says, "We could spend the night up there."  (I don't know what it was with Marty and climbing foreign peaks that summer.)  Being bereft of good judgment, I said, "Sure."  I don't know what we climbed.  We never actually learned its name, although it might have been Arthur's Seat.  What I do know is the face we ascended was steep!  And it was by far from easy going.  We scrambled and scaled the narrow footholds and ledges, and a good deal of the time we had to go up backwards to keep our footing.  Halfway up I cried out at the magnificent view of Edinburgh below us, bright lights abruptly cutting off into the utter dark of the surrounding countryside.  Marty thought I was having some kind of LSD flashback and was about to plummet to my death.

Anyway, after struggling for hours, we finally made it to the top.  And what did we discover when we got up there?  The set of stairs set into another side of the hill that everyone with sense could use to climb up to the peak with ease.


  1. Hilarious! I can imagine your faces.

  2. What a hoot! Your story reminds me of a neat little movie I saw a few weeks ago at our local indie/art theater, "The Angel's Share." It includes a hike to Edinburgh in which kilts feature prominently, and sleeping overnight in said kilts on a hill overlooking a distillery. Trailer here: http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/474722