What we’d thought would be three days walking turned to five then six.
The smaller children suffered worst, those too young to understand the cold, the heat and pain it brings. The small ones added to the sound of those days – the crunch of ice underfoot, the soughing wind, children’s sobs collapsing into whimpers.
The land was a series of low hills and promontories, leading to great expanses of shale, glacial cliffs.
Those that fell – infants, the elderly, the sick – were left unburied, wrapped only in the clothes they wore. The earth too hard to dig. No spare blankets to act as winding sheets.
I think of them sometimes, pared by the ice, weathered to the colour of rock, another low hill eroded by the wind.