Thursday 6th August 2020
Excited to be setting off on a new adventure and relieved that the previous few months, weeks, days and even hours of stress and the not knowing have finally come to an end.
This particular journey has transpired mainly as a result of a very persuasive family member (yes you know who you are) ‘encouraging’ us to visit Lauterbrunen for years now!
Sharing with us that it was her “most favourite place in the world” (albeit several times….and btw these guys have travelled the world so this place must be something extra special) and also because my mum and dad vacated here with them many years ago so it just had to be done…I probably should also now mention another aunt who visited here (just come to think about this now – was she too ‘persuaded’ by the ‘encouraging’ one??) otherwise I”d get into trouble for leaving her out…if I’ve missed anybody else who’s vacated here then I’m sorry!
My aunt had also told me that my dad said he favoured the scenery of this particular place more so than his home country of Scotaland (could he have said that, surely not, especially our wonderful and rugged Highlands and Islands..it cannot be true!!!) I had to pay this place a visit to see it with my very own eyes in order to believe it!!
In addition, we also thought by visiting Lauterbrunen it was also a perfect reason to undertake another long distance hike…that long distance hike being the Tour Du Mont Blanc. Hiking the TMB is a common bucket-list item among trekkers worldwide.
All of the above then came into fruition by chance whilst completing Mount Elbrus last year when we met an Irish climber in Minerlyne Vody who told us we should undertake this very scenic route and that we would love it…that route was TMB!!
There were so many coincidences regarding this destination we were utterly convinced. Do you get the feeling it does not take much convincing for us to undertake another outdoor adventure.
We had also decided that by hiking the TMB it would potentially be a way to see more of Europe, enjoy the outdoors with each other and friends, and delight in an amazing experience.
We had also initially thought back then that the hike itself and the training for the hike would give us that extra insentive over the winter months and then in hindsight over the lockdown period….we had organised this way back in December 2019!
I just simply love spending time in the outdoors and generally just having something to look forward to.
They say the best way to prepare for mountain climbs is to practice those ups and downs so the body is ready for the challenge. Unfortunately for us we have not quite had that opportunity being forced into lockdown and driving in Scotland being limited to a maximum of 5 miles from our local area until very recently, which has meant for us not being able to spend as much time in the Highlands and on those mountains as we would have liked.
So anyway roll back 1 year to Mineralyne Vody that spa town on the northern edge of the Caucasus Mountains, Russia.
We had just climbed Mount Elbrus one of the 7 Summits. It was celebration night. We were sitting on those streets in Russia celebrating our achievements and reflecting on our accomplishments whilst tucking in to an amazing BBQ feast might I add with far too much red wine (or vodka)…we were possibly all still recovering from altitude sickness, but it was here in this Russian Town that we made a pact.
The pact this time was to tackle Western Europe’s highest Mountain, or should I say a journey around it – one of the most iconic Mountains in the world…no lesson had been learned from Mount Elbrus I guess!
Call it insanity (it was definitely the wine/vodka) but walking 170 km (105miles) across a mountain range seemed like the perfect beginning to a perfect end!
A journey around one of the worlds most iconic mountains through an area that is full to bursting with the most amazing scenery with our most amazing ‘hiking friends’ seemed just perfect.
These are the important deals that one makes in life. A simple deal of friendship and adventure. It is a deal that brings a glint to my eye, a temporary escape from relentless pressures of work and responsibility.
Anyway, somehow the idea of walking around the imposing Mont Blanc massif continued to worm its way into our brains and we have found ourselves heading there!
We are always looking of ways in which to maintain some kind of healthy balance and outlook upon life. Hiking, especially long distance hiking does that for me and gives me a sense of value and perspective. I relish these opportunities to lay down my tools, breathe in some mountain air and reconnect with the world around me.
And so, a year later, with only 4 of the crew undertaking the TMB, due to wedding commitments (however these have now been cancelled due to COVID-19), work commitments, life commitments…the others sadly couldn’t come but are following us as we journey ahead…I’ll bet with envy.
And right now I’m just buzzing with anticipation for this new found FREEDOM…and so our story begins.