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Not Our Usual Climb

Al & I have always thrived on adventures together, however, tackling cancer was not an adventure we had ever imagined or planned for…

2016 saw us adding a few more cool adventures to our epics list. We mountain biked on the Isle of Skye, road cycled in the Hebrides, mountain biked in the Morrocan Atlas mountains & embarked on a sea kayaking trip around St kilda.

These were the kind of trips we always try to fit into our busy lives. Biking, climbing, travel & being in the outdoors makes us tick. We have a running joke with mates & family ripping the piss out of us about “having a Gilmour epic”.

Sea kayaking around St Kilda 2016

Our Epics have taken us all over the world, climbing NZ alpine mountains, backpacking Australia, biking Nepalese valleys, Scottish mountain bivvy epics, camper-van travels, mountain biking in Spain with a paella pan on my back with Al shaking his head at me, are but a few of the epics we have embarked on in our 18 years together.

Mountain biking in the Pico's Spain - with a paella pan
Both capsizing from our kayaks 2015

In the Autumn of 2016 Al had a fairly decent biking crash so when his back started to hurt in October, that’s what we put it down to. He carried on working, with his back getting worse & worse but it was becoming crippling. He started getting physio & taking huge doses of pain killers but nothing seemed to help.

Eventually Al went to the doctors where they took routine blood tests. This was just before Christmas which meant there would be a delay in getting any results. But to be honest we didn’t think it was anything but a back injury. We set off for my birthday trip to Ullapool. Al was so knackered he slept most the trip & again we made excuses, putting it down to tiredness from working a hard summer mountain bike guiding.

Local riding 2015 - the night of Al's crash

I can still remember the moment I was standing in our local supermarket on the 4th January & the phone rang. It was Al from work to say the doctor phoned, it was not good news but he was coming straight home to tell me. I dropped the basket & raced home, pacing the house until he walked in the door. He didn’t say a word as he entered, he just walked to the computer me peering over his shoulder as I watched him type in “Multiple myeloma” into google.

What the fuck is Multiple myeloma I cried, oh shit you are not leaving me! And so it began…

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