The Angry Corrie 12: Apr-May 1993

WALKING TYPES No. 3: The Mountain Man

You hear him coming long before you see him. Your tranquility by the cairn is disturbed by a distant clatter of scree. The words, "Oh ya bandit!" float up from below. A steady stream of invective then follows, until he heaves, panting, into sight and favours you with an unabashed grin through his beard. He then turns round and bellows to invisible companions below, "Come on, ya pooves, ah'm at the top! "He follows this with a laugh which makes Brian Blessed sound like an effeminate titterer.

He wears two checked lumberjack shirts with holes in the elbows, over a T-shirt which bears the words "There Ain't No Justice, Just Us". His breeches are patched in the seat, and one of his gaiters seems to have been repaired using a wire coat-hanger.

He walks a little distance away from you, turns his back, and pees for an improbable length of time over the stones, observing the scenery in a satisfied manner the while. He then sighs, stretches elaborately, and comes to sit next to you. He smells like a wet sheep, or rather, as a wet sheep would smell if it had armpits.

OK, pal? Beezer of day, eh? and he rummages in a rucksack full of fossilized orange peel and plastic bags containing old baked-bean tins. He comes up with an apple, a block of cheese, a mashed packet of Marlboros and a half-empty bottle of Laphroaig. He lights a cigarette, offers you the remaining one, and then sits back to stow his beer belly more comfortably, sniffs loudly and wetly, and contemplates the view.

He looks as if abrisk flight of stairs would kill him, but he has already walked fifteen miles that day, and has another ten or so to go before he and his pals reach their bothy for the night. They've been on the hills for three days so far, and plan to stay out for another four.

"Did you see yon wee dipper, by the way? On the burn on the way up? Oh, yon's a rare wee bird. Ah love a wee dipper. Bonny wee things, they are. D'ya fancy a wet o' malt?"

Grant Hutchison

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