Katy Forrester | It’s Only A Niggle
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It’s Only A Niggle

It’s only a niggle…

 

Let’s hear it for the cold virus, the bringer of doom, weakness and illness which has destroyed my body for the past 4 months.

 

I am beginning to not remember a time where I haven’t been coughing.

 

Scotland is a really special place.  For a little while in the summer I thought that it would become disconnected from the rest of the UK.  It had all gone a bit Game of Thrones with a king beyond the wall.

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From last winter I had been planning my return to the Kingdom of Scotland.  I never have a plan of routes to climb, rather a desire to go back and climb.  We planned a short trip to the Cairngorm area so we could climb if conditions were good, and dry-tool if they weren’t.  A week before we went and just as my body had started to heal and fix I got sick again.

 

Day 1 saw us go to Coire an Lochain, we got a wee bit lost in the gloom and darkness but didn’t end up on the plateau like the other team!  We went up to do Savage Slit.  It was a day of contrasts, Wez lead the route in really brilliant style.  I found that I had forgotten how to winter climb and then got hypothermia.  Day 1 over before it really started and we beat a hasty retreat.  I can honestly say I have never been so cold or in so much pain.  Being ill for so long has just ruined my body’s ability to cope with extremes.  There were lots of tears and swear words.

Katy Forrester

Day 2 we decided to go to Coire an t’Sneachda, hoping the shorter walk-in would help me cope a bit better.  We went in and ended up doing a gully, maybe Red Gully, maybe Goat Track gully, just to keep walking and moving as I’d started to go blue and we thought we may see another hypothermic episode. We got back down and there was a lot of people on the crag.  They seemed to not be moving and not really wanting to climb underneath people we went home to drink hot chocolate.

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Day 3, we had to leave early to get back and rescue the terrier so we headed back into Coire an t’Sneachda really early to get on something first!  We ended up on Fingers Ridge which was great fun and really good climbing.  Wez lead the first slabby pitch which was pretty thin and a really strong lead.  We then switched leads to the top. It was a sociable event with 3 or 4 teams underneath us, quite often the second only being feet above the next leader.  It isn’t something I’d choose to do in the Lakes on a solid cliff in summer with no crampons or really heavy axes to drop, let alone in winter on a loose cliff with axes and  crampons inches away from me…each to their own I guess.  Saying that, the chap from Inverness and his partner who were right underneath us were really nice and professional.

Katy Forrester

All in all so good. Fingers isn’t going to set the world alight in terms of hard ascent for a British Woman but it was nice to get up something and was my first mixed lead so it’s now really special to me.  Day 3 was the best in terms of weather so we wandered back out along the ridge line home.  On day 1 I’d felt/heard a pop in my chest and suddenly walking out this niggle of pain was a bit more than a niggle and I started struggling to breathe.

 

Traveling back, the pain kept getting worse…a quick hit to Pitlochry A+E and I got told that I’ve probably damaged my intercostal muscles from all that coughing.  Can’t lift my right arm above my head at the moment, here’s hoping it heals up quick.

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I really want to big up Scarpa and the Mountain Boot Company who gave me a pair of Phantom Guides.  The boots are brilliant.  My feet were warm and dry, I didn’t get any hotspots of pain, even though I was wearing them for three days in a row, and my big toe nails haven’t turned black from front pointing.  The best thing is unlike my old boots these haven’t leaked dye turning my feet green.  Thank you Scarpa!