Sunday, 28 October 2012

Another great season coming to an end

You know when you were a child, that sense of time slowing to a snail's pace in the weeks and days approaching Christmas? The more excited you became and the closer it got, the further it seemed away?

That's how I seem to always feel during the last few weeks of the autumn, as I excitedly wait for the start of the Scottish winter climbing season. From experience I know just how quickly the hills can transform into the frozen playgrounds which occupy my thoughts, but in the last few days of the autumn it always seems so far away.

Some years I've been guilty of letting this anticipation almost spoil the autumns for me…seeing them as just a period of time to get through to reach the snowy season on the other side. But 2012 has (yet again) been the exception for me.

2012 seems to be the year that just keeps on delivering. After an exceptionally dry spring and summer I thought there was no way the autumn could continue the trend. But although we've had our share of rain and gloom, the sunny days have never been far away and I've enjoyed more days in the autumn sunshine this year than in the last three autumns combined.

Late summer and autumn is the time that I really knuckle down and get as much fitness as possible for the start of the winter climbing season. In 2011 my "winter training" was a wet and windy affair…involving almost daily soakings as I slowly and painfully taught myself to run uphill.

But I've been treated to so many beautiful runs this autumn. Crisp and glowing afternoons running in the Glencoe corries or up high on frosty ridges. Just how many days of sunshine is it possible to have in a year in the Highlands?!

Yesterday the first mixed winter routes were climbed in the Cairngorm's Northern Corries. And although Glencoe's dusting of snow yesterday has now gone, I know that it'll be back very soon and the most exciting time of the year for me is beginning.


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