Sunday, 3 June 2012
The 2012 Challenge, Day 11: Braemar to Shielin of Mark (7)
"Low", of course, is a relative term ... and the Clais Rathadan track does in fact climb to 700 metres. We were walking at a fair pace (slightly faster than my normal pace, in fact, as Jim appears to have a somewhat faster gait than me) and I began to get into difficulty.
I have only had one full-blown asthma attack in my life, and that was on my ML assessment in September 2001 - 3,000 foot above sea level and a good 5 miles from the nearest road! When I got home I saw my doctor and was tested for asthma, and the results were negative. However, all my life I have suffered occasionally from symptoms which I am now convinced are asthmatic in nature. The only way I can describe them is that it sometimes feels as though I had a load of stale air at the bottom of my lungs, and I cannot get rid of it and replace it with fresh air - all I manage to do when I breathe in is add fresh air on top of it, and when I breathe out again I am only expelling the fresh air, not the stale air at the bottom of my lungs. When I get like this, I have to take several deep breaths, and eventually one of them will feel as though it has displaced the stale air, and I can breathe normally again. Well, that's how I began to feel as we trudged up the side of the Coire na Ciche. I stopped. I breathed deeply. But I could not displace the stale air. Eventually I did ... but it took me a lot longer than it normally does; and by the time I succeeded, I was feeling very unwell. We continued to the junction with the Lochnagar path and then I sat and rested for a while. When I felt well enough to continue, I told Jim that I didn't know whether I'd be up to climbing from Spittal of Glenmuick to Shielin of Mark tonight. I'd make my mind up when we got to Spittal of Glenmuick - but if I wasn't up to it, I'd take the level path along the shore of Loch Muick to Glas-allt-Shiel.