Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Last Munro

From Arnisdale Keith and five more boated out
as Knoydart beckoned, all in with a shout,
on this peninsula so strong and so quiet
where all the senses are put to re-set

First on a path of micaceous shine,
a pee at the bothy then off in a line,
over nardus then bracken, up through trees
to gain Mam Barisdale testing the knees

The arc of the summits seeming so near
but the best way up far from clear,
high col and arĂȘte easy enough to see
beyond sphagnum and schist defying degree

A property line of iron rods
pathetically bent beneath the Gods.
How on Earth to walk from one to the other,
not quite the same as a walk in the heather

Here in Scotland’s wildest place
what hope to tramp in surest grace?
Yet the spoor of deer suggests there is,
but they are only here for rich man’s biz

Now up and over with different strikes
half atop Luinne Bheinn, half on lesser hikes
meeting again for a saddled view
of Cuillin. Lochaber and Torridon hue

Onwards and upwards is all very well
yet tormentil and orchid draw the eye on the fell.
At the col further on a decision is made
not enough time for all I’m afraid –

so three carry on to ascend Meall Buidhe

Taking in this surround has a lightness of weight,
as human hand hardly touches Pre-Cambrian fate.
The mount invites bended knee with gentlest awe
and now you see all at once the draw

As a man’s Munrovian completion is done
with these lowland stalwarts under the sun
on this unique day in the Ross-shire wild,
three others descend, single filed

Bits and pieces the worse for wear,
thankful to deer whose ghost path we share.
The conquerors tread back higher up
but do come down before the lip

Our Gallic Alpinist goes on ahead
to tell the boat we are a wee bit spread.
Meall Buidhe seen, felt and rounded by some
it conducted three others on score facing Rhum.

Now that was a climb and a breath and a shake
of The kind from which to remind being awake.

Gordon Peters

September, 2015

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