Friday, 3 October 2008

Near miss

Something strange happened today.

I was walking up the old Austro-Hungarian track above Muo to Vramac ridge with the dogs. It is a typical zig-zag, heavily built stone track similar to the Ladder of Cattaro, behind Kotor. After an hour or so of gentle uphill, I stopped to take in the view and have some water when, out of the quiet, there was a truly strange, heart-stopping sound of crashing through the undergrowth below me. For a moment, I thought a herd of beasts was stampeding down the mountain but the crashing was followed seconds later by the clattering and banging of rocks, cascading below and the realisation struck my shocked brain that there was some kind of landslide going on. Not for the first time in my life, I was unable to act or take in what was happening and just stood there, as though waiting to see what would happen next.

Then it went silent, save a few stray boulders continuing to tumble.

I decided to turn back, feeling quite shaky, jumping at the crunch of every twig (no hero I). Half way down, the dogs then I, found the reason for all this madness. A large tree had decided to choose its moment to give up living and throw itself down the mountainside, taking with it everything in its path and smashing into several pieces. Huge, cuboid slabs that had been laid more than 150 years ago, had been easily uprooted from their comfortable positions and tumbled headlong down the slope. I continued walking, counting my lucky stars (even the dogs looked worried), and as I looked back up the zig-zags, a dark, troubled scar of fresh earth, combined with the rock fall and wooden detritus made for some sharp intakes of breath.

It is always easy to say.......however, if I had been 10 minutes later, I may not have this story to tell. And if it had been a day later, 30 Adventure Race runners would have been panting their way up that very path.

Doesn't bear thinking about.
Pic is sundown at our current position. Nice.

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