Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ben Nevis Part 2.

At the foot of Ben Nevis mountain stands the Ben Nevis Inn. It's a simple stone-built structure with wooden floors and a high ceiling with wooden beams. Long trestle tables with benches and deer antlers on the walls make it look like a Viking long hall. On the far wall is a large picture window that gives a view right up the length of Glen Nevis and the mountains that surround it. A plaque underneath the window shows the names of the mountains in view and it was our intention to climb all the ones we could see from this window.

Every evening we stepped out of the croft we were staying in right next to the inn and would have a couple of pints while we spread out an Ordnance Survey map on the wooden table and mapped out the next days walk.

On one such evening I was waiting to get served at the bar amongst the crowd of climbers and hikers that came from all of the world to test themselves on the mountains when I heard someone with a London accent say my name "Fraser"! I turned around and found myself looking into the bearded face of Rory McGrath. This bloke has been on British television for years as a comedian, panel show guest and presenter and now here he was addressing me.

(Flashback time, the picture goes all wobbly).

The first time I met somebody famous I was 15 years old and hanging about near the stage door of St. Georges Hall in Bradford waiting to see Twisted Sister. Myself and some other metal heads were hoping to get the band's autographs. Just then a tiny Austin Metro that appeared to be full of hair pulled up and out stepped Dee Snyder and Jay Jay French.

Now as I had not met anybody famous before I adopted a Beatlemania attitude and ran screaming towards the two American rock dudes, who viewed my reaction with some alarm. As I reached them I realised that all the other autograph hunters were casually strolling over and politely asking for autograph instead of screaming and running about like a bloody idiot.
I consequently felt like a twat and ever since that day I have affected an air of studied nonchalance whenever I meet anyone famous.

(Flash forward to Scotland. Wibbly wobbly).

So there I am face to face with TV star Rory McGrath who for some reason knows who I am. I was just about to speak when a Scottish guy next to me at the bar said "What do you want Rory"? Then I remembered I was in the heart of Clan Cameron country in the Scottish highlands and about 30% of the male population around here are called Fraser.

I went back to our table and gave them the news. "What's he doing here"? asked my wife. "I don't know. I'm going to pretend to go to the toilet and see if I can eavesdrop as I go past", I said.
I sauntered past the group at the bar as casually as I could and reached the door of the gents. I was too busy looking at the crowd and not the toilet door when I reached out my hand and hadn't realised that someone inside the toilet had already opened it and I stumbled into this person.
"Whoa, sorry mate", I said and looked at who I had bumped into.

It was Paddy McGuiness, yet another comedian and popular TV presenter. What the fuck?
"Alright mate, no harm done", he said patting me on the shoulder.
"......." I said, once again blind sided by a celebrity and left speechless.

It turned out they were taking part in the Glen Nevis River Race the next day and were filming it for a documentary where they took part in bizarre and ancient sporting events in the UK. No-one made any great fuss about their presence, in fact the atmosphere and the banter in the pub was so good they filmed some stuff inside of them having a few pints and a laugh.
We were sitting close by but not in shot so I occasionally did a stupid laugh to see if this would end up in the show but they never aired the pub bit.

So the moral of the story is that in the last bit of civilization before the Scottish wilderness you can still find TV stars, and they were really decent blokes.


Deus Ex Machina said...

I hit George Bush, Jr. in the head with a balloon once at a mall in Texas. My mom says I was 2.

And I swear Flea winked at me at Lollapalooza '92, but I was probably high. Now that I think about it, I'm sure I was high.

YeamieWaffles said...

I'm such a huge fan of Paddy McGuiness so I find it very cool that you met him on Ben Nevis haha, it's a place I really would love to go and visit soon.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Deus: That's nothing. I hit John F. Kennedy in the head with a bullet in Texas. Oh shit, I'm not supposed to tell people that.

Matthew: Go for it, it's not too far from you.

Pat Hatt said...

haha never met a famous person that I can recall, Mr. Dressup I did though, does that count?..haha...nice when they turn out just to be normal people and not on an ego trip.

Adam said...

I never met anyone famous

Janie Junebug said...

At first glance I thought the person in the photo was a very hairy woman. When I want to see someone famous, I look in my magic mirror. It says I'm fabulous and famous.


Jax said...

When you wrote "Fraser" I automatically thought of the TV show!

That's awesome how you were able to run into celebrities like that! I live in NYC and never ran into a celebrity, yet you bump into 2 of them at the bottom of a mountain. Figures! ;)

Margaret said...

That is so funny. That must have been some day.

Sub Radar (Mike) said...

Before reading part one, I was convinced that you were describing a dream. That is crazy...

kaykuala said...

That's right, Tony! With divine help we often get our wishes answered. Pure luck to meet someone famous, not so. The good in us gets the recognition It made the path easier. Great narration!


The Angry Lurker said...

I like their show about British sports and pastimes....nice one!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Pat: They were really down to earth and friendly.

Adam: Maybe you have but just didn't know.

Janie: Rory McGrath a hairy woman, that's brilliant. You are fabulous.

Jax: How can you not meet celebs in NYC? I was there for two days and bumped into Billy Joel outside that big toy shop. He's tiny.

Margaret: Every day is some day.

Sub: It does read like a dream, now you mention it. Now I'm doubting that I've ever been to Scotland at all.

Hank: I never thought about divine intervention getting involved, but thank you.

Lurker: Did you see the Glen Nevis river race episode? Rory McGrath gave up half way through, it was too scary.

Padded Cell Princess said...

I saw that documentary that they filmed and it was fantastic! The two of them are hilarious and I love their banter when they are together. Too bad Rory didn't really know you in some odd twist of events and you got to join in the fun. But that's pretty amazing that you ran into them, literally!

Bart said...

not sure if real life or fiction

Anonymous said...

You wrote twat! lol This was a funny one for me.. I laughed so hard. So you are a mini celeb now. All those famous people. My question is did you ever get to talk to any of them besides running them over in the stall?

Tony Van Helsing said...

Princess: The Glen Nevis river race looks like a lot of things but none of them fun.

Bart: It's true my friend. If I write any fiction I will give you warning.

Melynda: I didn't speak to them. I wouldn't know what to say. Anyway, celebs never come up to me and say how great they think I am so why should I?

Katsidhe said...

I've spent a good bit of time in Scotland (where my dad's Irish family has settled) and have never stumbled in on any celebs using the loo. Maybe I need to start using the men's.

(See what I did there? =P)

altadenahiker said...

That's a moral?

Tony Van Helsing said...

Katsidhe: The men's room is where al the A-listers hang out.

Alta: You are right, it isn't.

G said...

Ben Nevis always brings back memories of being very cold and tired from hiking up it in very bad weather.

Nicki Elson said...

Very cool, especially that it was in such an unexpected and welcoming place. How many people are named Van Helsing in that area?

Jax said...

Did you really bump into Billy Joel? Why does everyone run into people, cept for me! Maybe I'm just oblivious.

Well, I did meet Dog the Bounty Hunter once. Does that count? No, didn't think so...

Workingdan said...

In all my 35 years, I have yet to meet anyone famous. As a kid, I played baseball and went to school with a guy who would go on to be a pitcher in the Majors. He played for the NY Mets, then for the Chicago Cubs.

That's about as close as it gets to meeting someone famous.

Tony Van Helsing said...

G: There are only 10 days of clear weather on the summit, it's usually foul up there.

Nicki: None when I'm not there.

Jax: I didn't bump into him but I walked past him, he was looking in the shop window. I walked past him about three times to make sure.
And you bet Dog the Bounty Hunter counts, I love that show.

Workingdan: You went to school with somebody famous so that counts.I used to work with a bloke who had been at college with Thom Yorke out of Radiohead.

Patti said...

I've never met anyone famous, at least not that I can remember, but I think I'd be like you. Calm and collective.

Baur said...

Wow that's pretty awesome. Famous people are usually really inspiring in person.

Amy said...

Your life seems full of adventure and I love the way you tell the stories!