We’re at the wall at the top of a steep incline that rises out of the earth in the shape of a sinking galleon, a mess of chipped rock and porridge like mud. At the top around fifty miles or so of uninterrupted horizons break out in every direction and the grainy consistency of the air makes reminds me of resorted World War Two footage.
He’s shouting at the top, dancing on the stone, screaming at the imaginary Caledonians to come pierce his chest with their spears. He beats on his white t-shirt with his fist and holds a loft a can of Dutch bitter as if it were a grail and screams again at the vast expanse before him. A walker around half a mile away near a small lake looks up quickly, startled and then carries on in a hurried fashion.
I walk up slowly, boots heavy in the think mud, carrying a plastic bag with three more cans in it and two packets of crisps. He sets off running towards an old guard tower where only the foundations remain. I languish behind, walking with my feet parallel to each other the way that my father had always taught me to walk on steep and uncertain ground.
The wind was raucous like a giant crowd taunting from every direction, as if we were just slaves in its amphitheater and it was baying for our blood. He’s gone over a slight ridge now and virtually out of sight, his head reappearing momentarily as he stops to assess the surrounding country then he’s gone again, drunk, screaming, engulfed by the mist.
I try to run but the mud is thick on my boots, clawing me down into the earth. Why we were up here I wasn’t sure, we’d followed signs and ancient roads in a daze and just turned into the car park. Now the light was fading quickly to a liquidly blue and I couldn’t see where he’d gone.