Good morning, good morning, and if you’re wondering about the lack of posts recently, it’s because I’m currently on holiday in Scotland! I was actually meant to write and set up a queue before I went, but as happens to the best of us before going on holiday, time slipped away. So here I am writing to you lot at 6am in the morning from the wondrously comfortable bed of my hotel room!
If I hadn’t mentioned this before (I have a brain like a sieve, do bear with me), I am from Scotland. I was born in Glasgow, raised on the West coast until I was 7, moved to England, then moved back to Glasgow at 18 and stayed there again until I was 25. Most of my family still live up here, and this week we’re up visiting my Mum, but she decided it would be nice to go to Edinburgh for a few days.
I’ve been to Edinburgh several times, but I would in no way claim to really “know” the City. My husband has only ever been to the zoo, so we thought it would be a nice trip. And so on the day when my Mum and stepdad offered to look after our daughter, I suggested to Ell, “let’s climb Arthur’s seat”.
Arthur’s seat, if you are not familiar, is the highest craggy point in a set of hills that form Holyrood Park, just outside of the centre. The cliffs are the remains of a volcano which shifted several millions of years ago, and the crags are formed of basalt lava flow (the same as the rocks Edinburgh castle is formed on). I’ve never actually gone there, and Elliot loves a good hill walk, so thought it would be the best way for him to see the city for the first time.
I did a bit of research and discovered there were different routes with two for an easy walk, but I also found a website of a guy who runs tours there saying it wasn’t the best way to go for scenery. So even though I’m not fit at all, this is the way we decided to go.
It’s a beautiful walk, it really is. But let me tell you, by half way up I did not think I was going to make it, in any which way. If you’ve ever done this walk, you might find me ridiculous. It’s described as “relatively easy”, but I’m guessing that that is, for the most part, not aimed at 230lb unfit people such as myself.
When I say I’m unfit, I really do mean unfit. I’m not talking “doesn’t go the gym” unfit, I’m talking “doesn’t do anything” unfit. I’m a SAHM, and the only exercise I get is walking my daughter to nursery or to the shops.
This meant that I stopped so many times, I cried, I swore, I said I couldn’t do it.
When we got to the last quarter, Elliot tried to reassure me that we didn’t need to go to the very top. We were at a point where there were already incredible views, we were so near the precipice, and I was having a lie-down because I was feeling sick.
But I was determined.
After I had sat for a bit, had some water, and taken in the views already available, I got up and began to climb again. The strangest thing was that I found the last part of the climb most enjoyable. Elliot and I once again decided not to follow the path, and were scrambling up the crags to the peak. And I’ll admit, once I got there, I had a little cry.
I was tired, I was red, I was sweaty, my hair was a mess. It was busy. The views were beautiful. It was windy as all hell. We spent a little time there, took photos, were thankful to be there, and then made our way down. I thought everything was fine.
I lost my sense of direction and which way the route I had looked up suggested I follow, and ended up going back down a way that was extremely steep with a very narrow path. This wasn’t so bad, but what was, was the fact that it was an extremely dry day, there was loose shingle and dusty earth. This made everything incredibly slippy.
I fell twice.
The first time, I was mucking about and I fell and hurt my knee and my butt, but it wasn’t too bad. Elliot shook off my embarrassment by sitting down next to me and taking selfies, pretending it was on purpose (like that scene from Scrubs).
The second time, it was on an extremely narrow bit with a sharp drop to the left, and honestly, if Ell hadn’t been there, I would have gone over. That shook me. And my knees went into a state of absolute jellification. You know that feeling like your legs are vibrating, like you’re bouncing them up and down when you’re actually not? Yeah, that.
The path we had taken down was really quiet (and now I can probably tell why), and then you reach a grassy bit that has a cliff on the left, looking down at the lower paths of Holyrood Park running down the middle. We were on a bit of short dry grass and lichen which was really soft, the wind wasn’t hitting us as hard now, it was sunny and quiet, and we were watching kestrels hunt right by us. We lay down and stayed there, in perfect happiness and rest, for about half an hour. I could have slept, honestly.
When I eventually managed to get back up, I felt a little better, but still was annoyed by how far we had to go to reach the bottom, but the path was easier now. And by the time we did, I was euphoric.
But then we had to walk ages into Edinburgh. We were meant to be meeting someone, and instead, I was getting the bus back to the hotel myself because I was so ill. I had pushed myself way too hard, and I was out for the rest of the night and most of the next day. I shouldn’t have been so stubborn.
My main point is this:
I do not buy in to the good fatty, bad fatty narrative. I’m no more of a person because I chose to climb a hill rather than go have lunch in McDonalds. I ate McDonalds for dinner that night, actually. And I didn’t earn it either, by the way. Fat people are allowed to exist in all forms, and funnily enough, we all have different likes and fitness levels and activities we enjoy.
There are fat people who could do that walk easily and enjoy it, there are fat people who can struggle the whole way, like me, and there are fat people who could never even dream of attempting it. All are valid and important, beautiful identities.
And do you know what? I’m never gonna do that again. I climbed it because I thought my husband would enjoy it. I climbed it because I wanted to do it once. I’ve done that now, and that’s it. And the next time I’m in Edinburgh, I’ll go and have a nice meal instead.
Am I proud of myself for doing it? Yes. But I’m proud because for me it was hard. I’m proud because I set myself a goal and I did it (something that may seem mundane for most, but is a huge achievement with my depression).
It took us ages. I cried. I threw up a little. Really, I couldn’t do it. I probably should have stopped. But I did anyway because I’m a stubborn cow. And do you know what? If you can’t, it’s okay. I won’t do it again. I’m not built for that kind of exercise. And that’s okay too 🙂