The (half) naked rambler…


Over the last few years there has been more and more emphasis on going lightweight. Whether it’s lighter materials for rucksacks or sawing the handle off your toothbrush every little helps. But there comes a point where you have to say WHOA! STOP RIGHT THERE! YOU’VE TAKEN THAT TOO FAR! On Saturday on Ben Nevis I saw lightweight being taken to new heights, when I was passed by a guy running up the Ben. He was fully equipped with an i-pod, and, well, that’s it. On the top of the mountain there was snow, which combined with the wind made for a pretty inhospitable environment, even with the right equipment. We stood open mouthed as he passed, skin red with the cold, oblivious to the looks he created. No water, no warm clothing, no gloves. At the top of Carn Mor Dearg our fingers were numb, and circulation didn’t return until around 15 minutes after we had pulled on our gloves. I dreaded to think what would happen to this guy if he were to receive an injury that would prevent him from running. Slowing down to a hobble would see his body temperature drop rapidly, and the approaching darkness wouldn’t help either as he appeared not to have a headtorch. If he was lucky the RAF rescue helicopter would lift him off. If he wasn’t he would be a statistic, a few column inches in the papers about a nutter on the hills, and a makeshift tribute at the side of the path.

This time his luck was in though. After about twenty five minutes he passed us on the way down, t-shirt on this time, making his way through the people still streaming upwards as darkness approached. Whenever I think my bag has too much gear in it I’ll think of this guy, this half naked jogger, and be glad for the extra fleece and gloves tucked away there. You only have to be unlucky once…

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