Mossbourne Community Academy 2017

Niamh Fairbrother-Browne, Milo Brennan

The Macbeth Witch Project

Our​ ​plan​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​epic​ ​proportion,​ ​hike​ ​for​ ​10​ ​days​ ​through​ ​Scotland​ ​along​ ​the​ ​west​ ​highland​ ​way and​ ​then​ ​scale​ ​Ben​ ​Nevis,​ ​the​ ​tallest​ ​mountain​ ​in​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​United​ ​Kingdom,​ ​while​ ​shooting​ ​a​ ​short film​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​Macbeth.​ ​The​ ​trip​ ​was​ ​not​ ​what​ ​we​ ​were​ ​expecting,​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​evil​ ​midges​ ​and strange​ ​men​ ​with​ ​knife​ ​collections.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​night​ ​we​ ​found​ ​ourselves​ ​camping​ ​in​ ​the​ ​garden​ ​of​ ​a stranger​ ​by​ ​the​ ​name​ ​of​ ​Jane,​ ​she​ ​gave​ ​us​ ​croissants​ ​and​ ​tea​ ​which​ ​filled​ ​us​ ​with​ ​hope​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of the​ ​trip.​ ​The​ ​next​ ​day​ ​we​ ​set​ ​off​ ​from​ ​Milngavie​ ​leaving​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​last​ ​remnants​ ​of​ ​society.  The​ ​first​ ​part​ ​of​ ​our​ ​trip​ ​spanned​ ​Loch​ ​Lomond,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​spent​ ​camping​ ​in​ ​back​ ​gardens​ ​and​ ​any​ ​patch of​ ​grass​ ​which​ ​wasn’t​ ​a​ ​bog.​ ​We​ ​met​ ​a​ ​host​ ​of​ ​strange​ ​characters​ ​who​ ​became​ ​friends​ ​on​ ​the​ ​way including​ ​a​ ​man​ ​who​ ​drew​ ​us​ ​into​ ​his​ ​campsite​ ​and​ ​offered​ ​us​ ​whiskey​ ​and​ ​directions,​ ​suggesting​ ​we go​ ​with​ ​him​ ​on​ ​some​ ​trains.​ ​When​ ​he​ ​opened​ ​his​ ​tent​ ​we​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​knife​ ​inside​ ​and​ ​then​ ​we​ ​knew it​ ​was​ ​time​ ​to​ ​go.​ ​Notably,​ ​we​ ​met​ ​a​ ​competitive​ ​Swiss​ ​couple​ ​by​ ​the​ ​names​ ​of​ ​Loris​ ​and​ ​Jasmine. The​ ​midges​ ​were​ ​horrible​ ​at​ ​this​ ​stage,​ ​the​ ​damp​ ​and​ ​tepid​ ​air​ ​spawned​ ​swarms​ ​of​ ​them,​ ​which meant​ ​we​ ​were​ ​covered​ ​head​ ​to​ ​toe​ ​with​ ​bites​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​everyone​ ​we​ ​met​ ​gave​ ​us​ ​a different​ ​form​ ​of​ ​repellent​ ​be​ ​that​ ​nets,​ ​sprays​ ​or​ ​advice.​ ​We​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​drink​ ​out​ ​of​ ​streams​ ​and​ ​eat plain​ ​couscous​ ​every​ ​night.​ ​This​ ​diet​ ​definitely​ ​wasn’t​ ​the​ ​most​ ​beneficial​ ​to​ ​our​ ​bodies​ ​as​ ​Milo​ ​grew ill​ ​over​ ​a​ ​few​ ​nights.​ ​The​ ​darkest​ ​night​ ​was​ ​spent​ ​in​ ​the​ ​camping​ ​area​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Inversnaid​ ​Bunkhouse. The​ ​midges​ ​were​ ​at​ ​peak​ ​activity​ ​which​ ​made​ ​setting​ ​up​ ​the​ ​tent​ ​difficult.​ ​Our​ ​grievances​ ​were heightened​ ​by​ ​the​ ​breakage​ ​of​ ​a​ ​tent​ ​pole​ ​leaving​ ​us​ ​homeless.​ ​Luckily,​ ​we​ ​were​ ​lent​ ​a​ ​tent​ ​for​ ​the night​ ​by​ ​the​ ​bunkhouse​ ​and​ ​after​ ​a​ ​series​ ​of​ ​poor​ ​signal​ ​phone​ ​calls​ ​we​ ​got​ ​in​ ​touch​ ​with​ ​Milo’s relatives​ ​who​ ​bought​ ​us​ ​a​ ​new​ ​tent​ ​and​ ​dropped​ ​it​ ​off​ ​to​ ​us. After​ ​we​ ​had​ ​passed​ ​Loch​ ​Lomond​ ​everything​ ​seemed​ ​to​ ​get​ ​easier,​ ​we​ ​had​ ​seemed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​got​ ​the swing​ ​of​ ​things​ ​and​ ​thought​ ​we​ ​were​ ​in​ ​for​ ​the​ ​home​ ​straight.​ ​The​ ​scenery​ ​here​ ​was​ ​sublime​ ​with mountainous​ ​landscapes​ ​and​ ​crystal​ ​clear​ ​lochs​ ​and​ ​waterfalls.​ ​We​ ​walked​ ​up​ ​the​ ​devil’s​ ​staircase near​ ​King’s​ ​House​ ​which​ ​wasn’t​ ​nearly​ ​as​ ​bad​ ​as​ ​it​ ​sounds​ ​and​ ​through​ ​the​ ​industrial​ ​town Kinlochleven.​ ​All​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way​ ​we​ ​were​ ​racing​ ​our​ ​Swiss​ ​frenemies​ ​which​ ​added​ ​a​ ​new​ ​level​ ​of pressure​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​Fort​ ​William​ ​before​ ​them.​ ​The​ ​climax​ ​of​ ​our​ ​trip​ ​was​ ​Ben​ ​Nevis,​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​mountain which​ ​was​ ​encompassed​ ​by​ ​a​ ​thick​ ​layer​ ​of​ ​mist.​ ​It​ ​looked​ ​ill-omened​ ​and​ ​seemed​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​us​ ​as​ ​we grew​ ​closer.​ ​The​ ​day​ ​we​ ​climbed​ ​it​ ​we​ ​were​ ​advised​ ​against​ ​it​ ​by​ ​a​ ​woman​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Glen​ ​Nevis​ ​visitor centre​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bad​ ​weather.​ ​Alas,​ ​we​ ​didn’t​ ​care.​ ​As​ ​we​ ​trekked​ ​up​ ​the​ ​wind​ ​grew​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more ferocious​ ​by​ ​every​ ​step​ ​and​ ​whipped​ ​the​ ​rain​ ​directly​ ​onto​ ​our​ ​faces.​ ​We​ ​were​ ​saturated​ ​and growing​ ​weary​ ​as​ ​people​ ​passed​ ​us​ ​going​ ​the​ ​opposite​ ​way,​ ​one​ ​man​ ​said​ ​“I’m​ ​not​ ​feeling​ ​up​ ​to​ ​it” which​ ​lowered​ ​our​ ​spirits.​ ​The​ ​upper​ ​layer​ ​of​ ​the​ ​mountain​ ​was​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​grey​ ​rocks​ ​disguising​ ​the path​ ​which​ ​was​ ​also​ ​grey​ ​rocks.​ ​The​ ​mist​ ​made​ ​it​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​navigate​ ​and​ ​almost​ ​impossible​ ​to​ ​see the​ ​cairns​ ​ahead​ ​and​ ​to​ ​our​ ​sides​ ​we​ ​could​ ​see​ ​how​ ​easily​ ​someone​ ​could​ ​fall​ ​off​ ​into​ ​the​ ​sheer gullies.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​-1​ ​degrees​ ​at​ ​the​ ​summit​ ​which​ ​meant​ ​we​ ​only​ ​stayed​ ​for​ ​a​ ​sandwich​ ​before clambering​ ​back​ ​down.​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​our​ ​camera​ ​being​ ​constantly​ ​exposed​ ​to​ ​the​ ​elements,​ ​it​ ​broke and​ ​we​ ​lost​ ​most​ ​of​ ​our​ ​footage​ ​which​ ​meant​ ​we​ ​were​ ​disappointingly​ ​unable​ ​to​ ​create​ ​our​ ​film. Apart​ ​from​ ​the​ ​midges​ ​and​ ​the​ ​exhaustion,​ ​however,​ ​the​ ​trip​ ​was​ ​definitely​ ​worth​ ​it​ ​for​ ​the​ ​beautiful scenery,​ ​interesting​ ​characters​ ​and​ ​time​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​urban​ ​experience.