Someone I had not heard from since school contacted me recently via Facebook. He also sent me this photograph, taken in the Lake District in 1975 when we were 16. (To avoid confusion, I am second from the left.)
The previous year the same group had spent a week camping in Pitlochry in Perthshire. One of the few things I remember about that experience was waking up one morning, extremely hungover, unable to move, and enveloped by the smell of stale Newcastle Brown wafting from an old enamel camping mug sitting on the ground inches from my nose.
The following year we were driven from Fife, where we all lived, to Cumbria so that we could walk from Windermere to Keswick, camping overnight in various boggy fields.
It wasn't a happy experience. It certainly put me off hill walking (and camping) for many years. In fact I vowed that never again would I carry a heavy rucksack any distance if I could find someone or something (ie a car) to do it for me.
Once again the single abiding memory of that holiday is associated with alcohol. You probably have to be Scottish (or to have lived in Scotland) to appreciate it, but this is what happened when I walked into a pub near Ambleside and asked for a beer that the locals had never heard of:
Me: Pint of Special, please.
Barman: What's special about it?
At least I got served. No need for proof of age ID cards in those days.
Above: Mike Tough, me, Bill Roberts, Guzzle Gray