On a cracking day on Friday 22 April, my friend Pauline set out for the day to Callander, a small town on the edge of the Highlands, to walk north into the hills. One in particular was her goal, a mountain called Stuc a'Chroin (you can read about it here: The Outdoor Diaries), and the blog is subtitled "the Long Approach", because of the fact that she had to walk along a track for mile after mile just to get to the bottom of the hill.
As she reached the end of the track there was a small, locked building, most probably used by the estate during the stalking season. There in the undergrowth was an old rusty bicycle pedal. She picked it up and propped it up on a stone to photograph it with the mountain in the background.
On her return she shared the photos and the story of her day, and we speculated on the age of the pedal. I commented that it may well be 50 or 60 years old, at which point Pauline wished she had brought it home, as she quite liked the look of it.
Well, it's her birthday this week, and up until this point I had no idea what to get her for her birthday. So, the following Friday I loaded my bike into the back of my car and set off for Callander. My quest was to retrieve the pedal as a fun and unexpected present.
She was right about the long track in. I was so grateful to be on my bike. And it was steep. The weather was quite different from the Friday before. It had snowed on the Thursday evening, and there was a light dusting everywhere, plus there was a chill northerly head wind all the way in.
It was quite exciting, not knowing if I would find the pedal or not. I knew I would have to go all the way to the building to find out. As it came into view I was faced with a small challenge . . . there were three buildings! I passed one on the road as I headed for a brand new wooden bridge across the river, which you used to have to ford, and the building didn't look like the one from the photo. Neither did the second one, so I knew if I were to find it then it was going to be at the last building. Getting to it with the bike was tricky, and I had to go a little further and cross the head of a no longer used reservoir, then push through the snow as it was a little deeper here.
There, right on the corner, in exactly the same place that Pauline had propped it up, was the pedal. I was quite pleased with myself. Not only had I found it, but I'd had a great afternoon out on my bike in the hills.
And so for the past month it's sat in a bag in my house, waiting to be boxed and handed over.