This year Mountain Equipment has teamed up with Trail Magazine in association with John Muir Trust in order to discover writing talent inspired by the mountain environments we all love and enjoy so much. With one winner announced every month from Trail Magazine’s ‘The Day a Mountain Changed My Life’ competition, we’ll be showcasing the winning writing here on our blog for you all to enjoy.
The Day a Mountain Changed My Life June winner.
The writer wishes to remain anonymous.
There was a mountain, but I don’t know which one. A long time ago I fell, headlong, into addiction. Fortunately, I found myself on a rehab programme, part of which was a week at a centre somewhere in the wilds of Wales, away from the places and people that enabled our various addictions.
None of us, through our lifestyle choices, were at the peak of fitness, so the activities were a torment. It wasn’t just the exercise. We were all suffering from the long-term symptoms of physical withdrawal, which varied according to our drug of choice. More importantly we had been wrenched out of our cosy, if squalid, circle of acquaintances and dealers, and away from whatever it was we craved. The focus of my life had been wrenched away from me and it was all I could think about, every waking minute of every long, damp day. The culmination of this week of misery was, predictably, to climb a mountain.
I hated it. Everything about it. I have snapshot memories of blinding clarity – a rock shaped like a cow, the bright purple of a rucksack being carried through the trees in front of me, someone’s mud-covered arse at one of our rest stops. And I remember sounds – the incessant, maddening swish of our nylon jackets, the grunts and coughs of the people before and behind me, my own choking, gasping breath.
We came out of the trees and there was the top. We stopped, coughed, spat. It was nowhere. We could see for miles under the low cloud and there was nothing, just more tree-covered hills like this one slouching off into the distance.
We didn’t wait to be told to turn around. It wasn’t any easier going down.
The week shuddered to a damp close and we were driven back to the city. Back to the programme, to group therapy and the relentless itch of craving.
A blur of days passed. Sitting in a session on relationships, staring out at the traffic, I jerk into wakefulness. I wasn’t thinking of my loss, I was smelling grass, feeling the ache in my thighs and the sweaty deadweight of the rucksack on my back.
I completed the programme and shortly after I moved away. I walk now and live quietly and carefully. I have true friends who lead me into light and air over turf and rocks. I never look back.
Inspired by the story above? We want to hear from you!
Enter the competition for a chance to win £100 worth of Mountain Equipment kit, as well as a membership to John Muir Trust. You’ll even have your work published in Trail Magazine! If that’s not enough, at the end of the year one lucky winner will also win the opportunity to spend the day on a John Muir Trust managed mountain alongside a member from our Pro-Team, who’ll give you a tailored experience in an area of outstanding beauty.
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