February 2, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rock in the road. It can be physical, adding to a plot twist, or it can be metaphorical for a barrier or hardship. Go where you find the rock.
Rocks can be very interesting or frightening or dull or frustrating. I have enjoyed holidaying in Scotland for many years, and always try include some walking in the amazing countryside. On a few occasions we either stayed on or visited the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides. It is stunning and the mountains, the Cullins are amongst the most awe inspiring in the true nature of awe meaning taking the breath away.
Once I plotted a walk with a friend that looped round about 15 miles after a pleasant stroll along Glen Sligachan. We climbed up and over the ridge to Loch Coruisk and circled back by Camasunary on the shores of Loch Scavaig. It was a beautiful day and we were in good time. On the map I had, there was a feature marked.
The ‘Bad Step’. Back then, it was the 1980s there was nothing like this available…
Rather there was this line that said, ‘When you reach the Bad Step, use the convenient hand holds; this is tricky but it os over in a trice…’
Trice? That’s clearly a Scottish dialect word for ‘you will have shit-scary nightmares for months after this’ rather than the colloquial English meaning ‘ smartish’. If you think you can climb above this rock, you can’t. You go across it. And the hand holds? Maybe these days but back then it was like pressing your hands against pumice and hoping the grip held. Spider-man would have been challenged by this, believe me.
Pete and I made it across. We were emotionally exhausted but the climb was behind us and the contours pretty flat (though we still had some 9 miles to go). We hadn’t factored in the stepping stone-cum-wading across the River Scavaig that awaited us but, frankly, it was a mere bagatelle compared to what we’d been through.
These days you can still challenge yourself with the rock, though you can take a ferry from Elgol to get there. It is a super walk. Just don’t believe the over optimistic Scottish descriptions.
There is a post script about which I do carry some guilt. A work colleague, knowing Id been to Scotland, asked about walks on Skye. I told him about this. I lent him the guidebook. I’m sure I mentioned the Bad Step but, even so, he was an experienced guy so he’d have coped. I’m sure he never mentioned he would be going with his 9 year old daughter. Who fell on it and badly hurt her jaw. I’m sure… I think. I still feel guilty though.
And so to the flash. Penny is learning more about the opposite sex…
‘These Rocks Don’t Lose Their Shape..’
‘Why are boys so stupid?’
Mary studied her daughter. ‘Stupid?’
‘Jack. I thought he was different. But all he’s interested in is Pokémon cards.’
‘Does that make him stupid?’
Penny frowned. ‘No, but… all boys do is collect stuff. They’re not interested in people.’
‘Maybe that’s generalising…’
‘But they do!’
‘So do I. Tea pots.’
‘They pretty. And useful.’
‘True. At least cards are easy to store. Not like when I first knew your dad. He collected rocks.’
‘Rocks? What for?’
‘Their colour, their rarity…’
‘Exactly. They’re never useful.’
‘Rocks or boys?’
Penny laughed. ‘Both!’
If you want more of Mary, Penny and their family, click here