20 Summers and Winters in the Mountains: November 2019

Last year I was encouraged to read ” Twenty Good Summers” written by Martin Hawes regarding saving into retirement. Thank you Raymond. The picture on the front cover of a mountain lured me into reading the book but I changed the idea in my head that actually once well into our 50’s we may only have 20 Summers (and winters off course) left to do what we are fit enough to do.

Writing list after list of things I must do, such as attend to my web site posts, the garden etc etc I started to think more widely as I had not really hit the point. This year I have lost so many friends, colleagues and mountaineers who I love and respect; through illness, accidents or mental health.  Life is precious.

The penny dropped and it was time to focus on the aspects of my life that truly made me happy.  For some of you it will not  be a suprise that work was high on the list . The pure enjoyment and satisfaction of others achieving their goals ticked the box;  added with my aspirations and then what do you want to do Pennington started to gather momentum.

Quite simply it was about enjoying each day and as one of my clients often told me live for the moment!!! Umm! I thought as I considered my list of jobs to do. Well perhaps I did consider it especially after slashing my finger open !!  and Ive had one super summer working, playing and planning.

After the usual winter season that despite the conditions was as ever so enjoyable it was time for Skye, rock climbing in the Lakes, cycling and climbing with friends and a night out on the Royal Scotsman and it wasnt even the end of April.

On the 23rd April it was time to zip to Spain for Diana age 77 to complete the Bernia Ridge If anyone wishes to challenge themselves then put that in youre diary for your’e 77th Birtday . One amazing Lady

May arrived and whoops a slight accident and as I always say accidents happen for a reason and it was rushing and not thinking as I slipped in my pyjamas and slashed my finger. A lucky escape from a more serious injury and a big thank you to the Belford  Hospital Fort william and the manager at Cotswolds who was very understanding about my late arrival to work that day even if they did dock my hours Grrr .

It was then Back to Skye for ridge traverses, Munros and a return to home turf for Tower Ridge. Ok sometimes I have a winge about the weather but i always get home feeling inspired invigorated and have learnt so much more about life. Thank you to all who trust me and I share special moments

June was looming and it was my time to get nervous… yes i do you know. The challenge of guiding Alpamayo was there. Guiding Noelle and Michael up one of the most beautiful mountains in the world was going to test me! for the first time in my life I trained…. I am 53 you know. New axes and boots two hours in the Ice Factor was enough. Yes we did it and meeting special clients and new ones and being with Damian and the peruvian team was wonderful.

Acclimatised but shattered it was time for me and a best friend Julie to set off to the Alps with the Matterhorn on the agenda. Via Ferrata, sunny rock climbs, cold 4000m peaks we were ready but again the weather played toll with emotions and with just one day left we did it. Tears yes there were a few but oh my we worked hard.

A speeding fine as I rushed to meet the Elbrus team for a reunion but it was so mportant to see everyone especially for those of them who had topped out on Everest. Hugs a good breakfast and meeting friends is so important.

Blimey its now August and Johhny from the USA had booked 9 days rock climbing in Scotland… and 9 days we had; one beautful amazing 71 year old man… Thank you Johnny

Oh goodness its now time to go to Canada because Mr Trump wont let me into the the USA. Athabasca was on our agenda but it wasnt going to be. Hiking camping with the bears, a visit to Lake louise, a night in a hut, a walk onto a glacier, good chats 1000s of miles driving and cycling around Vancouver but more importantly time with a good friend.

Family time is so important too. At 79 my Mum visited varnished my floor , painted a bedroom, had nights out with friends and what a wicked week of giggles  yes I did some DIY as well.

Now for September , back to Rum and Skye and more Skye Munros and time with friends and finally the most peaceful wonderful nights bivi ever had. Magda and I will remember it for ever. Not to mention the dry rock and a day on the Etive slabs

October now and the storms have arrived.  Thank you 20 Summers thats number 1 and it continues… to say I may not have enough pennies for my retirement is an understatement but to enjoy each day even though I may get a little tired at times I intend to do. My thoughts are to all those whos nearest and dearest have lost their lives or are under treatment. We only have one chance at it.

Well with all my best intentions I didnt get this update posted and its now mid November and after a trip to Mexico Volcanoes working for Jagged Globe which I  thoroughly recommend to anyone who wishes to embrace a different country, culture and take in some mountains.

So its now Sunny Spain that isn’t so sunny but I have had an amazing week with Cormac who discovered the delights of Spanish rock in the dry and a very steep Via ferrata.

A day of admin has allowed me to finish this post and a twinge of jealousy struck me as the current Scottish conditions look really good but I made my decision to be here in Spain and looking forward to hooking up with family, friends and clients before it becomes 19 Summers and 20 Winters.