Testosterone

“Muuuuuuuh!!”, a sound is saying in the distance. We just pitched our tent with a stunning view on Loch Muick here in Scotland. No people to be seen, secluded in nature. We walk around in a forest looking for wood for our campfire. “Muuuuuh!!”, it goes through the hills. It seems at first hearing to be some cows in the hills. “Hey Henk, according to me these animals are red deers, these animals can be aggressive during mating season.” I discuss with Erwin that it’ll be ok. We’re all safe here. I believe that animals are more afraid of us than we are of them. And the mating season isn’t that during the spring? Erwin knows better, “the mating season for red deers is also during the autumn, the males have an increased amount of testosterone in their blood, they fight over a female.” I look around me. It’ll be ok right? “Muuuuuuuh,” it sounds again in the distance.

After my exciteness from starting this journey in Edinburgh I soon found out that it turned out to be quite tricky to skateboard in Scotland. When I was going up the hills my lees sources quickly and I had to walk.

When I was finally up the descenting could begin, right? Well to be honest, not exactly. Because how can you brake on a skateboard when you’re going down at 10%? I had to learn to skate on my other leg. But for now it turned out to be nearly impossible to change feet with such a pack on my back. So I stumbled up and down the hills.

Wildcamping in Scotland

In the small town of Braemar we decided to sleep in a hostel for one night. It was also necessary to freshen up after four nights wild camping and to wash our clothes and not least, ourselves. Wetness combined with sweat can, as you probably know, cause quite remarkable scents. It was time for refreshment. That didn’t actually go entirely smoothly. When I finally stood under the hot shower the small bottle of shower gel that I had bought in the supermarket, turned out to be a roll-on deodorant. I stood there, with a roll-on deodorant in the shower.

The next morning we went back on, towards Loch Muick. It all went fine until Erwin noticed something. “I think we took the wrong turn.” I stared at that time at two yellow sheep. Yellow sheep don’t exist right? I thought to myself. “If we take a right turn we come back on the right road,” Erwin told me with his phone in his hand. And we took that road. Soon to be finding out that the road turned into a forest road, without asphalt or stones. It became a walk through the forest and what ultimately came out on a dirt road through the highlands. It couldn’t matter to me that I had to walk, this was pretty awesome.

A little later in the afternoon we arrive at Loch Muick. A supermarket or house was nowhere in sight. We almost have no water anymore. Fortunately there is a little river that we can use to fill our bottles. “Muuuuuuuh,” sounds it again in the distance. We eat what remains of our breakfast and not much later fall asleep. At least in sleep. “Muuuuuuh,” it sounds closer.

Skateboarding Scotland (photocredits Erwin Zantinga)

The next morning we wake up. Fortunately without combat with a red deer. We warm ourselves by the campfire and a little later we continue on to the town of Ballater where we separate outlet ways. In the evening I have a good feeling in the train back to Edinburgh. What a week. What an adventure.

And, skateboarding? I’m definitely going to do that more often!

Follow Erwin through his blog Raw Sleep Out. He continues to go to John O’Groats, the most northern place in Scotland.