The Mud Man looks like Ben Nevis —
as high as ten St Paul’s but without the convenience of a staircase.
The popular tourist path requires modest scrambling ability
and a head for heights. I choose the hard way
to learn the meanings of words: saddle, col, arrête, spike.
Barn-dooring on a ‘schrund, I understand skyhook
and also the need for a guide. Two humans in a land of stone
chasing the same star, singing the same tune.
This being ‘the Ben’ I get Kenny, wearing a kilt
and carrying a half-size piano strapped to his back with a seat belt.
Three days it takes us to reach the summit.
Every six hours Kenny puts down the piano and we rest against it
snacking on Kenny’s emergency raisins
and examining my growing collection of bruises and grazes.
At the top I shake out my Elvis-legs and enjoy an angel’s view of Devon
while Kenny sings ‘Scotland The Brave’, O land of my high endeavour…