At the car park we slung on back-packs, donned hats, and disconnected from towers and satellites.
“Should take no more than 90 minutes…” said the lady at the information centre, as we set off along the easy 5 kilometre track to Gelder Shiel hut.
On the other side of an old suspension bridge, the sound of distant traffic morphed into our own rhythmical footfall, leading the two of us onto a place where pine forest merged with a wide heath valley and reached all the way to the jagged roof of Lochnagar mountain.
It was beautiful. A Scottish Highland landscape decorated with mountain heather unfolded elegantly in the late summer evening.
But one reason alone eclipsed all others as to why we were out there:
Now this may sound bizarre to anyone who knows us -because it seems like we’re always spending time together- and to a point that’s true.
However, it often feels like there’s other competing factors, disruptions, distractions, not-quite-in-the-right-headspace moments. Of course, these are all influences that make life what it is and I know I can be my own worst enemy sometimes; half-heartedly listening to the kids whilst looking at mundane garbage in the palm of my hand is something I have and will continue to be guilty of.
Yet it’s only when I look back at pictures of the boys, even from last year, and see how much they’ve grown, changed and matured, that I realise how crucial it is to spend time with them individually, getting down to their level, giving them my time, as a father, uninterrupted, free of distraction.
Getting away (on this trip) offered me a chance to really listen to my son, talk about life stuff, have a laugh, be a bit crazy, let him know that I (and his mum) are there for him and love him.
The wildlife, landscape, weather -they were all great reasons to hit the outdoors, but in truth, there was only one real reason why we were out there…