"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft agley"
So wrote Robert Burns in his poem To a Mouse; an apology for upturning its nest whilst ploughing a field.
I am in the Alps this week and I feel like the weather in the last few days is Burns' plough and we; the mice. Our plans have certainly gone awry, although no apology has yet been forthcoming. It is often true that time spent in the mountains feels as if it is snatched from the gods that govern the wilderness. We choose our moment ahead of time and then sit tight hoping above all hope that we shall be blessed with the conditions to enjoy nature in all its sunny glory.
But it is not always so. And we must make hay whilst the sun shines.
In such a vein we enjoyed the best of the weather on Monday, completing the traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées in splendid conditions and I am happy to say that despite feeling it was the preamble to four days of alpine glory, I had the smarts to take plenty of pictures and video.
Since then we have been forced to abandon the high mountains, cloaked in their fickle mists, and try to make the most of our vanishing time.
So what do you do when the weather is contrary? Fortunately it hasn't been so bad that we have had to stay indoors clutching our kindles, books or endlessly refreshing our social media feeds. Secondly we have been blessed with James, our imaginative guide; apologetic for the uncooperative meteorological conditions over which he has no control, and intent on ensuring my friend Dan and I have a productive time in the Alps.
Today was a first a for me. The forecast was for some sunshine over Chamonix in the morning followed by downpours and storms, so James led us up the Via Ferrata Curalla, above Plateau d'Assy. I have never been on a via ferrata and the experience was one worthy of making the list of the world's most scary hikes, providing you like your fear to be a manageable and titillating veneer. And which of us mere mortals doesn’t like it so?
Hopes of spending the afternoon doing some rock climbing were dashed as the forecast proved irritatingly accurate and the heavens opened as we descended from the Via Ferrata. Here's hoping tomorrow gives us the chance to make just a little more hay.