Any sort of walking with a three month baby is bound to be challenging. Bearing that in mind we (I) thought the Neil MacKenzie bothy challenge would be the perfect test of (a) my recovery from giving birth; (b) whether my old orange waterproof still fit; (c) how much the baby liked her finally useable sling; and (d) how well the baby’s new pink flamingo waterproof sling cover worked. With those subsidiary goals in mind, we set off to ultimately prove that having a baby wasn’t going to stop us from doing whatever we wanted to do.
Aengus, my husband, got to know Neil when we first moved back to Canada. They set off with two others to climb an unclimbed peak in Northern British Columbia and shared a tent in the pouring rain for almost three weeks. While I can’t speak for Neil, Aengus returned as something close to a bear- constantly hungry, very unshaven and a bit grizzley. I felt sorry for whoever was forced to shack up with him for so long- very lucky Neil.
Anyway, we wanted to share this adventurous spirit with Orla, our daughter. She is already a bit on the grizzley side so we thought a wild walk in Elgol would be just the ticket. Now to tick off one of my initial test questions, before we left, yes, my jacket still fit. Hurray! What a bonus to starting off our walk on rainy Skye!
Since this was also a test of how the baby would cope with the rain (she hadn’t actually seen or been introduced to this particular weather pattern yet), we opted to take the land rover track around to a smaller single track leading to the bothy before returning back via the coast to Elgor. It turns out the baby didn’t care about the rain in any way. She slept from the main road to the bothy without waking. And again, two more of our test were passed- the baby did indeed like her sling and her pink flamingo cover was actually waterproof.
While it wasn’t a super long walk to the bothy, it was an excellent first challenge in Scottish weather conditions for us as a family. It involved slipping in the mud, near constant rain, some navigation, tea and some random encounters with two Americans and Glaswegian who were ‘waiting the weather out’ at the bothy. We didn’t have the heart to tell them that the weather we had was near perfect for a mid-October day!