,

Alarm at 6am; sandwiches already in fridge; cameras in rucksack.

Tea-to-go; drive to meet the workers at Glencanisp.

So this is what Real Men look like: Scott, Alec and Donald. They walk the 11k in two hours; half way up Suilven to where they left their tools. I think its half way up; we’ve walked into cold, wet cloud and can’t see much; we could be anywhere.

Flasks and snacks now.

And more layers; after overheating during the walk, its fleeces, coats, hats, gloves, leggings. The winds blowing; its cold and wet. It’s also difficult to stand up. Loose rock; loose mud; wet slope. We really could do with a path here! Oh yes, of course, that is the mission.

Moving boulders. Photo (c) Chris Puddephatt
Scott moving boulders into place. Photo © Chris Puddephatt

The Men start shifting enormous boulders; clearing the path, shoring up the path and laying the new surface. The only bits good to stand on are the ones they’ve already done. The pitching is good to walk on; I tell them so.

I’m staggering about the slope with a waterproof camera. Three shots and the freshly charged battery is dead. Good start. New battery goes in, along with part of the cloud and the lens mists up. Then the second battery dies. So much for preparation. Regular camera now; kitchen roll to wipe the lens every couple of seconds. And I’m filthy too.

Alec muddy (c) Chris Puddephatt
A muddy Alec. Photo © Chris Puddephatt

 

The Men are very obliging; not camera shy at all, that’s a relief.

Click, click, soggy click.

I rig up my Trail Camera onto a post I’ve bashed into the ground pointing at the three or four yards Donald is working on for the next two days. Fingers crossed this one works OK. I’ve put fresh grease on the “waterproof” joints.

Now I can go. The Men stay there, of course, hard labour today. Plenty more to follow.

Donald with pinch bar (c) Chris Puddephatt
Donald maneuvering rocks with a pinch bar. Photo © Chris Puddephatt

After negotiating my way down the slope, I hide behind a grassy mound to eat my sandwiches out of the biting wind. I’ve only got another 10k to walk back. After about 5k, I’ve had enough. It doesn’t help that I’m alone now; the walk in was much easier with the others to talk to. But I’m below the cloud now; I think of the Men and stop feeling sorry for myself.

Guest blog and photography by Chris Puddephatt from 20th April 2017. Find out more about the Suilven Path Project here

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Laura Traynor

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