Climbing mountains: A short thread

Mid-way up Croagh Patrick, I stopped to remove a stone from my boot.

“Are you going bare-foot?” asked a woman resting on a rock, her smile was wry.

Offending stone removed, I put my boot back on, “No way, do people really do that?”


She nodded, “Some still do.”

We had a socially distanced chat before I set off again, “See you up there,” I said.

“You will, If my bad knee holds up,” she shouted after me.


Almost at the top, I hit the wall – a literal wall of rubble.

Losing my footing I fell, grazing my arm and shaking my confidence.

I wobbled with vertigo and doubt, ‘Go back down,’ I told myself.


But I thought of the woman, ‘If she can make it half way with a bad knee, I can make the top with two fully functioning joints.’

I carried on.


When I made the summit there was scant reward; such was the cloud cover all I saw were shapes in the mist.

So, I sat down, slugged a Lucozade and basked in the achievement.


Rested and replenished, I stood up – and saw the woman emerge through the cloud cover.

Delighted to see her, I exclaimed, “You made it!”


She finger tapped her smartphone, “I’m WhatsApping my son to tell him.”

Message sent, she looked at me and beamed – “I’m 68.”

I hadn’t noticed, nor considered her age.


I was struck by her POSITIVE energy, but more so something else – her PRIDE in her AGE.

She inspired me; and I was about to tell her so but stalled for fear I’d sound patronising.

Instead, I smiled and wished her a safe descent.


Age-negativity is endemic in our society; to meet someone so energised and age-positive was a TOTAL INSPIRATION.

If anyone knows the woman with a bad knee who climbed Croagh Patrick on Tues, September 15, please tell her she’s my absolute GOAT, (Greatest Of All Time).


As told on Twitter by Gerard Smith


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