Thursday, 8 August 2002

A productive (and exhausting) week (Aug 2002)

In August, we had a German teenager friend, Dominik, staying with us. He was keen to do some climbing, so we headed up to Morvich campsite for a week or so.

The weather was excellent, so we were climbing almost every day ...

1st August:
Marjory and Roger joined us to climb Beinn Sgritheall from Arnisdale. Watched a sea eagle on thermals above the summit ridge.

2nd August:
Again, all 5 of us climber The Saddle (by the Forcan ridge), then to Sgurr na Sgine, descending by Faochag. Superb views.

3rd August:
Damp and drizzly morning, but sky cleared at 3pm when we were at Kyleakin, so Dominik and I set off up the tourist path to Blaven. We missed the path out of Coire Uaigneich, and found ourselves scrambling up the central gully, which turned out to be a great alternative. Suddenly, we popped out in the gap between the Munro and the South Top, and scrambled on to both. Superb views again. Home by the normal path. Attacked by midges on the lower slopes, so didn't linger!

4th August:
Poor weather!

5th August:
All 5 of us set off together from the Cluanie Inn, and made our way to Ciste Dubh ("the black chest"). M & R returned over Am Bathach, which Anne, Dominik and I traversed "the 4 brothers" - Sgurr Fhuarail, Aonach Meadhoin, Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg and Saileag - then descended a steep and narrow path back to where we had left the car in the morning.

6th August:
Dominik and I climbed A' Ghlas Bheinn from Morvich via Bealach na Sgairne. My fith day out of 6, so I was toiling kepping up with Dominik, over the several false summits on the way to the top!

7th August:
Weather poor - thank goodness - I needed a rest!

(written 16/08/09)

Saturday, 29 June 2002

Half way! (June 2002)

3 Munros and 5 Tops

One advantage of being self-employed is the possibility to take advantage of the fickle Scottish weather. Just such a chance occurred the day after I was doing some work up in Aberdeen. After visiting friends in Banchory, I headed up to the car park at Loch Muick. With all the rear seats out, its possible to sleep in the Espace and carry a bike (or two). So, I was ready to go at 7.15am next morning (28th June). Weather good - cloud high - no wind.

By 8am, I was stashing the bike in the trees at Glas-allt Shiel, and heading off up the path - good underfoot initially, up past waterfalls to the Dubh Loch.

passing the Dubh Loch en route for Cairn an t'Sagairt Mor

A bit muddy for the next mile or so, then continued up gentle grassy slopes to Carn an t-Sagairt Beag (10.30am) well populated with a herd of deer. Not quite sure why I hadn't planned to include the White Mouth Munro - that had to wait for a second trip in 2004.

Across on Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, I could see something white or metallic just below the summit. Intrigued, I headed in that direction, and found the remains of a crashed plane. A few minutes later (11am) i was on top of the first Munro of the day, with its curiously split cairn.

40 minutes later, across a shallow depression, I was on Fafernie - surely the "top" with the least drop between it and its Munro!

Another drop of 10m, then a slight rise, and within 10 minutes I had reached Cairn Bannock. Munro number 142 - the half way mark. A quick calculation showed, that if I took the same time to do the next 142, I would "compleat" in 2028 at the age of 71. Perhaps I needed to show a little more urgency!

Anyway, Cairn Bannock was a good half way point for an inhabitant of Selkirk:

Tops come easy in this corner of the world:
- Cairn of Gowal (12.20)
- Creag of Gowal (12.35)
- then a little back-tracking to Craig an Dubh Loch (13.05)

The last of these gave a good view down on to the crags which I had seen from below 3 hours earlier. A few minutes later, up a wee rocky rise, and I was on Munro 143, Broad Cairn.

From Broad Cairn, a good path led down to the bealach, and then more steeply down through Coire Chash to the head of Loch Muick, and my bike.

Now for the next 141 ...

(written 15/08/09)

Saturday, 1 June 2002

Gathering Speed

1998 had been a good year, even before climbing The Saddle with John Reed, and deciding to "go for it".

1998's tally of 11 new Munros included Ben More and Stob Binnein, Ben Achallader and Beinn a'Chreachain, Meall Corranaich and Meall a' Choire Leith, Geal Charn (Drumochter), Meall na Teanga, The Saddle, Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Tarsuinn).
An several "furths": Brandon Mountain, Caher, Carrauntoohil and Beenkeragh in Ireland.

Not so many new Munros in 1999 - only 5 (Beinn a'Bheithir and the 5 Sisters of Kintail), but a great holiday in the French Alps, with the highlight being La Tournette above Lac d'Annecy.

The next 3 years were much more productive:
16 in 2000
20 in 2001
22 in 2002
and pushed my total well past half way ...

(written 16/08/09)