An entertaining rant on the semi-rad blog reminded me of the time I took peanut butter with me on an overnight trip into the Cairngorms. The large glass jar of peanut butter sat in my rucksack beside several other heavy items I wouldn’t have been carrying if I had planned ahead and shopped in a town with a proper supermarket. Nevertheless, I was young and fit and a heavy rucksack wasn’t going to stop me.
Despite the bright sunshine, the day was quite cool but, thanks to a hot pace, by the time I had reached Luibeg Burn, I fancied a cuppa so I stopped and brewed. I can picture myself making a lavish peanut butter sandwich to reduce my pack’s weight. This might be a fantasy created by the attempt to dredge up twenty five year-old memories. After packing my picnic gear away, I charged up Carn a’Mhaim, which was a big mistake. My legs had cooled off during the stop and failure to re-start gently damaged my Achilles tendon. A check at the summit showed that it was twice its usual width.
Under the circumstances, I did what anyone else would have done – bagged three more Munros and pitched my tent near the Hutchison Memorial Hut. The hut was going through one of its disgusting phases, which is why I stayed outside. Next morning, my ankle was agonisingly painful. I hobbled to the confluence of the Coire Etchachan Burn and the Glas Allt Mor before deciding I couldn’t continue walking like that. Every step was a bit of a nightmare. The only solution to the problem appeared to be taking fewer steps so I stretched out my stride. Including a quick brew stop at Derry Lodge, I made it from the confluence to the Linn of Dee (where the caravans used to be) in one and a half hours.
That’s when the suffering really began. I had arrived on an MZ with a foot operated gear box. One gear down and the rest up. Quite a bit of force was needed to engage that first gear and it wasn’t easy with a wrecked ankle. These were the days when I disdained a medical kit so no painkillers eased my journey home.
I can’t recall taking peanut butter on any backpacking trips since then.