January 10, 2019 2 min read

Ben Vrackie is a popular hike in Scotland.  So it's never really a lonely mountain.  We stayed at a place in Pitlochry, and could walk right out of the cottage and start the hike.  We had to climb up some gentle hills before we got to the base of Ben Vrackie.  This is a heck of a climb.  It's up a steep hill with stone steps.  It was windy, so anytime I wanted to look around, I had to make sure my feet were planted before I dared to lift my head and take in the scenery, and a few photographs.  Going up was easier than coming down. 

At the top, there are a couple of stone monuments you can get photos in front of to prove to skeptical friends that  you accomplished the impossible!  One of my friends requested said photographic evidence.  But I conquered the mountain!  Once we got to the top, we found a spot that was blocking the wind and had lunch.  We probably spent thirty minutes at the top, eating, enjoying the view, and taking photographs before we climbed back down. 

It was on the decent that I learned I have Itiliobal Syndrom, or IT Band Syndrom, or ITB Syndrom.  It's sometimes called runners knee.  I'm not a runner, so I didn't think I'd have to worry about having their knees.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  In case you experience the same situation, I'm here to tell you it sucks, but there are solutions.  So, for me, going up doesn't cause much trouble.  But going down is a problem.  Apparently it's a problem with the tendon that runs down the outside of your knee getting inflamed, because of how I'm putting pressure on my leg.  I guess I overextend my left leg on declines, which strains it too much.  As we descended further and further, the pain at my left knee (but not in my left knee--it's to the left of my left knee, which was hard to explain) got worse and worse.  There are bands you can buy off of Amazon that are thin bands you can put above your knee that helps stabilize the tendon, and avoid the pain.  When I forget that brace, I'll put on a regular knee brace before I do any strenuous hikes up and down hills or mountains to help minimize the chances of getting hurt.  A normal knee brace worked for the most part when hiking in Alaska, because I foolishly forgot my special knee ITB Syndrom knee brace at home, which is nowhere near Alaska.  The pain I was in from this hike didn't stop us from taking the long way back to the cottage.  Although, by the end of the hike, I could barely walk.  

The long way back takes you by the lake I've talked about earlier.  It's so pretty there.  I just want to keep going further and further into the landscape.  It's a hike I would definitely recommend if you are in that area.  The views were incredible.  And Ben Vrackie is just a friendly little mountain waiting to show you it's secrets.

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