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On his last trek, he’d bagged a couple of Munros up in Scotland. And before that, he’d been up Snowdon carrying a large backpack. And then there was the trip to Ireland and a barefoot walk up Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. And now, here he was, struggling to make headway on a suburban street. Why was it so arduous? Every crack in the pavement was an obstacle. And the road was flat. Or so he’d thought. “It’s easy going,” she’d said. “There aren’t any hills.” No hills! It was uphill all the way. The journey – a simple shopping expedition – was turning into one of those nightmares, walking somewhere but not getting anywhere; feet stuck in quicksand. “It’s no good,” he said. “I’ll have to stop. I need a rest.” She turned to glance at him. “Dear oh dear,” she said. “With all that walking you’ve done, and you can’t even push a wheelchair.” “I know,” he said. And he stared at his feet, and the cleft he’d so carefully avoided. He stared at the road, which stretched yard after yard in a seeming horizontal. And he stared at the shops at the end of the road. But he didn’t see the shops; he saw a mountain. He was in Ireland again, walking barefoot up Croagh Patrick. He gripped the handles and began to push.