Chapter 1

Euphoria…and Failure!

Those early walks on the hills were days of total euphoria, inadequate knowledge of just about anything to do with hillwalking and what at best could be called variable weather.  I don’t think we had a view from any summit for the first 2 months of our travels.  We were rank amateurs, The Fatdog and I.  I’m surprised we kept going after all those weeks of trudging through the murk with nary a worthwhile view.

It wasn’t just the weather which caused us untold grief: jumping fences proved not to be part of The Fatdog’s repertoire.  Lifting 35+kg of labrador was not part of my repertoire either but it was me who had to fill that particular knowledge gap and find us a way of negotiating those obstacles.  While we learned various techniques for getting past the standard 1m high sheep fence it is a matter of record that I never did find us a way of negotiating those big muckle deer fences.  Fortunately luck came into play on the few times we came across those bloody monstrosities.  The sometimes failures of these early trips were a lesson in the absolute necessity of rigorous route planning.  Attention to detail formed a part of every trip we made thereafter.

The first few “Tails” are a bit sketchy as I had no idea I would be writing any form of story at that point in time although I did keep a few notes as a rough diary.  This chapter ends with the formation of the first Team Fatdog with my dog walking buddy Graeme and his retriever, Starr.  We tackle our first Munro – Ben Lomond.