I can picture the scene vividly, even now, the first ever text message from my dad. He had just bought his first mobile phone. This was a while ago and my parents weren’t well travelled. I always assumed that my own itchy feet were born out of a childhood that rarely ventured further than the nearby Yorkshire coastal resorts. Those were idyllic family holidays and I wouldn’t change a thing; hunting for fossils on Filey Brig, wasting my bag of coppers in the bandits on the seafront, the patter of rain on the tin roof that was our shelter for the week.

But with their kids having fled the nest, my parents began to spread their own wings, purchasing a touring caravan and beginning a quest to explore this island, especially Scotland. So back to that first ever text message: “We are sitting in Fort William gazing at Ben Nevis.”

At this point I’m pretty ashamed to say that I had never been to Scotland. Within a few years I would have more than rectified this with regular visits, but that’s another story. I wasn’t in that place back then. And so my response? “I’m sitting in Zermatt gazing at the Matterhorn.”

Oh how smug must I have felt tapping those words into my little Nokia… I hadn’t told Dad I was going on a trip. And my mountain was definitely bigger than his. Ben Nevis indeed! I was on the balcony of my hotel room in a cosy family-run chalet hotel in the car-free resort of Zermatt.

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