Wandering the Campsies: It’s About the Journey

They say, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” But for me, this wasn’t always the case. Everything I did in life was fueled by the future; it’s what kept me going. When I had a rough day, I’d make a list of things I had to look forward to. I’d daydream about the places I’d go, the people I’d meet, and the things I’d see someday — if only I could just get through the present. I didn’t live in the now; I lived in the next. The way I saw it, if not for the destination, then why was I doing it? What was the point to the journey?

So yeah, that was my outlook on life. But little did I know I’d soon see things from a completely new perspective…

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There are two ways to get to the Campsie Fells: You can use your feet, or you can drive. I’m not an exercise person, so, naturally, I’d opt for the car. But as The Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want.

For those who don’t know, the Campsie Fells — better known as the Campsies — are a range of hills located in central Scotland. I’ve always admired them from afar, but my dad thought it was time I saw them up close. Hence, it was time to try my hand at hillwalking.

I can see the hills from my house, so you’d think we’d get there in a jiffy — but it took a whole hour.

My dad’s a fitness freak, so he insisted that we cycle there. The Campsies are just a few towns over, so I wasn’t expecting a long journey. I guess I should have realised when he started packing mammoth amounts of food, water, and a tire pump — just in case.

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“I need to stop,” I panted. We were only halfway there, and I was already sweating. Abandoning my bike, I planted my feet on the ground in protest.  My dad, on the other hand, looked like he was having the time of his life.

“Come on, Kayla,” he cheered. I remember thinking it was unnatural for someone to smile so much while doing exercise. He actually enjoys this? I wondered. It seemed unreal that a man in his mid-forties could out-cycle a teenager.

Although my dad tried to encourage me, the only thing that worked was the prospect that we’d soon reach our destination.

If only things were so easy.

Up close, the Campies looked bigger. They’re called hills, but really they should be called mini-mountains. This, I realized, was why people came to Scotland. The natural scenery. It was hard to believe that something so magnificent wasn’t constructed in any way — it was just there.

But their size also made for a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful that we were finally rid of the bikes — but now a new challenge arose. The thing we set out to do in the first place: hillwalking.

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It’s called hillwalking, but really it should be called hill-climbing. I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. Again, I lagged behind. I couldn’t believe that after an hour of cycling, we had to walk all this way.

The path was rocky, and if I tore my eyes away for even a second, I was done for. I was so worried about falling that I almost didn’t notice the view. But when I did…

I didn’t realise how high up we were until I turned around. The scene before me stretched out for miles. I could even see my own house!

After that, somehow I forgot to complain. I noticed things I otherwise wouldn’t have: the vibrant flowers, the overgrown grass, the sharp smell of fresh air. The place was magnificent.

I heard the waterfall before I saw it. It sounded as if a million raindrops were hitting a rooftop — in a good way, of course. The waterfall itself was concealed by a bubble of greenery. Once we made our way through the trees, we found a small clearing. It looked like something stolen from the pages of a fairy-tale book! A heavy current flowed through the water, and I could imagine drifting away with it. There was hundreds of rocks, so close together that you could bounce from one to another, pretending the water below was lava.

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On our way home, I realised something: The reason dad out-cycled and out-walked me wasn’t because he’s a superhuman who never gets tired. It’s because he was having a good time. He didn’t need the Campsies to motivate him to go on; the journey itself was enough. Life is like that, too, I realised. I spent so much time thinking about the future that I never realised what was right in front of me. The journey is never really over — there is always something more to be said and done. If you aren’t cycling, then you’re walking. That’s just the way life is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on your way.

I strongly encourage a trip to the Campsies. And you don’t have to do it our way. You can take the easy route by car — it will get you there so much faster. But if you don’t do it our way, you won’t get to see the bluebells and buttercups, the thistles and raspberries. You won’t smell the grass and hear the rush of liquid from the waterfalls. You won’t trip over pebbles and then laugh at yourself trying to get back up. You won’t feel that ping of satisfaction when you finally reach the top of the hill.

Now, the way I see it, life is full of sunshine and rain. You have to walk through both to see the rainbow at the end, so you might as well enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

10341946_634413836627086_8449204811259456594_nMikhaila Friel
19
Scotland

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