My memory has never been that great. Although some odd facts seem to stick in mind with a weird permanence, I have never been one of those people who could recall phone numbers, car registration plates or other details and sequences. For some strange reason, ideas, concepts and abstract theories I find easier to grasp and recall, than facts, figures and specifics. I found understanding history a lot easier than remembering the precise events of which it is made - and always scored far higher in coursework than exams as a result.
Recently however, I have began to notice that my memory is, if anything, getting worse. It maybe of course, that I simply have a lot more to remember. Where once I just had myself to be concerned with, I now have all that- plus job, family, kids etc. Maybe it's age, maybe its the first signs of my mental decline, or maybe its me just catching up with what everyone else already knows. Whatever the cause, I have found myself on several occasions straining and fighting to recall things I should know - but just can't find.
Today's memory loss is a little unsettling. I have a 'Munro-Map' that lists all the Scottish mountains over the height of 3000ft. It's an old, battered, out-of-date and much loved map. It has the dates of many, many mountain expeditions across all parts of the country on it. Each summit is marked with a triangle - the white ones are yet to climb, the black ones I have stood on top of! In a column at the side is a space to write the date in, alongside each peak. This map, is a fantastic piece of personal memorabilia for me. As I cast my eye across its crumply paper, I immediately recall so many great days; The Forcan Ridge with Roymondo, Creag Meagaidh with Victor Meldrew, An Teallach with Stumpy Greenisland, the pouring rain on Bruach na Frithe, the little Buachaille with Mrs H., the blazing sun with the church group on Slioch, the adrenaline pumping on The Curved Ridge, the midgies in Glen Derry.... the memories go on and on. They are clear, vivid, and wonderful to bask in.
Looking at my Munro Map today I noticed that by Crianlarich, An Caisteal and Beinn a Chroin are marked off. There is a date and time - about six years ago. Strangely, although I can clearly recall climbing the adjacent mountains - I have no memory of this at all. Thinking that I might have filled in the wrong hills, I went to my mountain log-book. There is a detailed entry dated 28/04/04 which describes the route, the weather, the views, the walk-out and a series of dramatic rainbows above Glen Falloch that illuminated the descent! It all matches up - definitely no mistake about the hills in question. And yet.... I don't remember a single solitary thing about it. I mean nothing! I think I can recall details of almost every other hill - but it is as if this bit of data has been randomly erased from the hard-drive.
It's actually a bit freaky!