Aches and UPFs

Aches and UPFs

Words have been elusive for weeks, I’ve been on a bit of hiatus. Trying to learn more about process, Obsidian and templates. More a huge snake pit of discovery rather than a bunch of rabbit holes.

So I find myself back, Monday morning, 6:20am typing with the aches and pains of a weekend well used. Two Munros on Saturday, a rough 18 miles (Beinn a Chaorainn and & Beinn Bhreac) followed by a cheeky one on the Sunday just under 10 miles (An Socach). On my own I’m afforded the chance of digging into an audible book and some tunes. Which may feel like defeating the purpose of being one with nature.

Believe me when I tell you soaked through to the skin with bubbles forming in my water proof trousers. Boots that had formed their own water ecosystem. I saw enough nature and the point was more my own company, sense of achievement and a chance to dig into something.

The walking guide….from (Beinn a’ Chaorainn & Beinn Bhreac (Walkhighlands)) gives a nod to stage 5 as the vast tablelands of the Moine Bhealaidh which stretch ahead for several kilometres, with Beinn a’Chaorainn visible in the distance.

At no point does this suggest…a scene out of the gloomiest parts of Lord of the rings or the nothing in Neverending Story. A place that goes on forever, with drudgery! I found a river that couldn’t quite decide which direction it was going in. Just bog and wet for miles with nothing to keep me company but my hand and my poles. I could just about see them in front of me. The book to it’s credit does suggest that it might be difficult to navigate in poor visibility. An understatement! Armed with two garmins and an OS map, I ploughed through it!

It didn’t help having the thought of the only guy I passed telling me the weather was going to get really bad and he was going to head to the pub, watch the football with the option of coming back Monday. One there is no pub for miles, two I’ll be back at the grindstone on Monday, so this is it this is my day to conquer these hills.

There is a sense of deep achievement though as I head down the home straight, along the track and back through pine trees of old. Breathing in deep and soaking up the air filtered by the trees. Despite the damp, greens and purples fill the sights with a feeling of things being alive.

It takes me a good half hour back at the van to peel away the waterproofs, ring out my socks, and get some normality back into my fingers and toes. The sun comes out just as I leave the car park! A rainbow and some warmth. A blessing for drying out, that cold beer with fish and chips back at the campsite as I stare into space.

The next day, it’s a different story, almost t-shirt and shorts worthy in comparison! I hear the call of the deer and more importantly I get my egg sandwich in the dry and with a view!

Back to what I was listening to, a little music, some beats interspersed with chapters from:

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert a repeat listen, and for any writer or creative person there are so many pearls of wisdom.

Ultra Processed People: Why do we all eat stuff that isn’t food. Five chapters in I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. An exploration of food and the industrialisation and processing of what we eat and what it means. Really accessible and thought provoking.

A couple of take away points:

  • Whole foods are so important to health, the extraction of the good things combined with all manner of science and industrialisation of meals isn’t progress.
  • Modern foods are designed to make us want and eat more. I give you Pringles, once I start I can’t stop!

A small slice of the topic covered here, with a 6 minute take on UPFs:

I feel like I need to double down on my efforts around cooking and sharing those recipes that are easy to make!

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

15 thoughts on “Aches and UPFs”

  1. I have slogged through some wet miserable hikes before and while I kind of hated them at the time I do look back fondly on them! Day 2 sounds like more like my kind of hiking (though I fully admit I am a day hiker and do not overnight it anywhere without a proper bed, bathroom, and warm cooked meals). That ultra processed food book sounds great and while we know that so many of our processed foods are made to be addictive it still doesn’t make them easy to leave behind; though I have been turning more and more to whole foods and trying to get my boys to do the same.

    1. The whole foods piece is hard thing to crack, especially with the cost of living constantly on the increase and process foods just that much more affordable, easy to put in the microwave and prepare etc. I’m hoping we’ve given our boys enough of tools to make the right choices as they go out into the world and make their own way.

  2. I know the feeling when you are soaked and there’s still miles left before you are back at camp..and then when you are back how wonderful it is! The last photo from the hike is beautiful! Great job !

  3. Your photos are gorgeous, but I can practically feel those soggy boots. Yuck. I’m mostly a fair-weather hiker, though I’ve occasionally ventured out in less-than-optimal conditions. It’s always a great feeling when you finish and can get warm and dry.

    1. Definitely the best shower, best beer, best fish and chips afterwards. Trouble with camping in Scotland is that it is hard to get dry afterwards so I was very grateful when the sun came out.

  4. As a life-long high desert dweller who has a deep understanding of how the waters connect nourish and connect us, your landscapes are simply breathtaking while the soggy feet sound miserable 😉

    Processed foods are such a thing! Yes, built on convenience and capitalism in addition to their affordability and addictive qualities, we’ve put (found?) ourselves in quite the pickle. We’ve tried our best to grow as much of our own food as possible and get from other local producers what we can’t grow/produce on our own and yet I still sit here eating a Gluten Free fig bar with a pantry full of miscellaneous chaos that is most definitely not good for us but that fills a pocket in our bellies and minds when craved for. It’s wild how far our foods and habits have shifted in the last ~100 years.

    1. I think on the whole we do ok in our house on the cooking front…..but confectionary bars. We definitely get through our fair share as a convenient snack. Ice Cream, and mayonnaise come to mind as well. It is just pervasive with so much choice. I’m sure more and more it will get discussed as the consequences become more and more apparent.

      My feet are nice and dry now! I really do appreciate the green and know it wouldn’t be there without the wet stuff. I definitely shouldn’t take it for granted. Thank you for saying hello.

  5. THat was quite an adventure. The photo with the narrow path and the fog and hills in the distance was really neat. That ultra-processed book sounds interesting. It is sad all the stuff we eat. IT is more sad how many ingredients the USA allows that European countries have banned. I wish we’d get on the bandwagon and get rid of some of them. We try to avoid processed food as much as possible. Yes, I use canned things, etc…but we avoid processed convenience foods as often as possible. I’m going to look into that book.

    1. Narrow path into the valley felt like such a relief, the home straight and that feeling of a path to hope, civilisation and food 😊. I’m definitely a canned beans kind of guy, our way of spreading out meals.

  6. “Big Magic” has been on my TBR list for years. I first heard about it on the podcast, “By the Book.” I enjoy hiking in the rain, but then again living in Los Angeles, rain is a novelty. I remembered driving out to the mountains with my husband and dogs and all of the sudden it rained really hard. The humans enjoyed it, the dogs…well…not so much.

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