The Highest Superlambanana

By Stuart Ian Burns – (feeling listless blog)

moel-famau-banana.jpg

I don’t walk. Well, clearly I walk, I just don’t do it much for pleasure, and particularly up and down hills. I don’t have special shoes or much of a sense of scale. I’m too much of a city dweller I think, so though I’m ok on the flat, put a gradient in front of me and I’m a pathetic sight. Today, I walked. I walked up Moel Famau in North Wales, something I certainly wouldn’t have done unless, as you can see, there was a Superlambanana at the top. And I found out why I don’t walk. It nearly killed me. Photos at flickr.

That’s an exaggeration, hopefully for comic effect, but though I was relatively relaxed when I began, by the time I was half the way up the hill I was reduced to baby steps, desperately looking for the stones buried into the pathway rather than the shale lying on top just so that I wouldn’t slip. I’m unfit, I know, but this was serious, I was gasping. We’d taken the difficult route for speed and I decided that this had been a mistake. Then, surprisingly, my feet stopped hurting, I found out what passing through the pain barrier actually meant.

All very dramatic. But of course, every so often you turn around and see the view, the trees crashing through the landscape, the heather shimmering in the wind and you realise why you’re walking and you keep one foot moving in front of the other. People are constantly walking towards you and you greet each other and you decide that you’d really like to see what they’ve seen and it gives you a lift (even though its an actual mechanical lift you’d probably want more, Stannah or Schindler).

Sure enough, at the top of the hill, with the rest of Denbighshire unfolding around me I knew it had been worth the pain, I’d done the right thing. And there was the banana, just on the edge of the summit, its technicolor designs contrasting against the green of the ground and the greys and blues of the sky. My Uncle and I sat on the edge of the Jubilee Tower nibbling a Snickers and taking in the view, at which point it really dawned on me why we’d taken the difficult, direct route to the top, the satisfaction of really having achieved something.

We took the same route downwards and saw other city dwellers making their way up a hill for the first time. Families with push chairs, teenagers in tracksuits, all of them, like I’d been still unaware of the danger ahead. One girl was lighting a cigarette, surely something she’d be regretting within minutes. We greeted them all in a way which you simply wouldn’t or couldn’t in the city and I decided that’s why people like to walk do it. The views are great and everyone is just so much friendlier than in town.

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