I did it! Last weekend I conquered a fear and I went canyoning for the first time at the Falls of Bruar. This activity was one of the things on my ‘Big 30’ list that I have been feeling true anxiety about, even more so than the shark dive that I completed earlier in the year. I am not good with heights and have a real fear of falling and the subsequent impact, so I had been putting off making any sort of booking that would commit me to a date and time. So, how did I suddenly come to complete this challenge that I had made no effort to put in my diary… well, it was not exactly by choice but by more of a twist of fate.
I was spending the weekend near Aviemore to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of one of my dearest friends. Her Chief bridesmaid had arranged activities for us all to do, from whiskey tasting in suits to white water rafting. No mention of canyoning. But, as I wrote before, there was a twist of fate, and due to a lack of rainfall, we were told on our arrival at the outdoor centre that white water rafting was not an option.
Fast forward an hour and I found myself standing on the edge of a rocky overhang, suited in a very fetching and very sticky (we had walked from the car park at the foot of the falls up to our starting point fully kitted out in 23c heat) wetsuit, preparing to launch myself into the cool waters of the Falls. I was quite literally being thrown in at the deep end.
I think that that initial leap of faith into the water was the scariest of all of the slopes, slips and slides down the falls. I honestly thought that my heart was about to break free from my body as it was pounding so powerfully. My legs, at the same time, decided to no longer willingly support my weight and I felt like I could be part of the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ skit as I made my way to the edge.
But make it to the edge I did, and, after some gentle persuasion from the instructor and enthusiastic cheers from the other girls in my group, I took the plunge. It was scary but oh so exhilarating.
The cool water was definitely a welcome refresher from the sweaty heat of the sun and I got a real kick from completing a jump that moments before I had been tempted to step back from (in my head I kept telling myself how annoyed I would be for me and my charities if I didn’t do it). So now I was in, all I had to do was make my way down, down, down and down again. This descent came in the form of sliding down rocks, lateral traversing of the cliff faces and, finally, an abseil down a waterfall into a blue lagoon. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I chose to dive in rather than step away.