I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in Scotland – and much of the UK, I gather – we are dealing with snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures. It’s not that we aren’t used to this in the Highlands, but it’s becoming rather tedious that it hasn’t changed since before Christmas.
We get the odd slightly warmer day, which melts the snow, and then it turns to ice. With a horse to care for even during lockdown, I’m out every morning, contending with ‘slid-sliding away’, as Paul Simon put it.
It’s a plus for exercise – all those tiny little steps – but not so good for keeping the joints supple. I commented to one of my friends I was going to invest in some crampons (yes I have, and yes, they’re marvellous), which brought me around to remembering the fantastic trip I took to New Zealand back in 2012 (ignore the date stamp on the photos, the camera setting was wrong),
These photos are from our ‘heli-hike’ up onto the Franz Joseph glacier. And yes, crampons were not a choice, but a necessity – you climbed out of the helicopter and hung onto its landing struts to lower yourself onto your backside, to put on your crampons. It wasn’t even possible to stand up without them!
Once the weather changed it became dangerous to stay up there, so the helicopters were scrambled to come collect us.
One last bit of climbing to get up to the flat where they could land – wiggling through a hole just big enough to fit through, with the crampons on full display!
An experience never to be forgotten.