Thursday 20th June 2013
Weather/Conditions: Pretty wild, rough, and steel grey. I had the highest winds of the summer on the way to Stob Poite Coire Ardair, in one of the cross-ridge meltwater channels (Uinneag Min Choire?), I was bent to the side getting pounded by it. Asides that though, appreciably little rain through the day, with conditons easing to milky skies at the end.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 26.4km / 1810m / 7h 05m
I've had it pretty easy for the last few weeks. I could count the amount of times I've had a soaking in the last three weeks on one hand and the good weather has lead to a relaxed attitude which I worry I might lose if things turn bad in general.
This morning, the rain had moved back in, and the skies were grey. The idea of going out onto the mountains didn't appeal, but the five Munros of Creag Meagaidh were awaiting, and they were going to be climbed no matter how hard I tried to talk myself out of it.
Dad and I had breakfast in Aviemore, (Coffee Corner: awesome rolls) then headed west to Loch Laggan. This was my last time in the Eastern Highlands. From today it's all west, north-west with a small amount of central Highlands in the next few days.
Having dropped my car at Roughburn, the walk's end, dad left me at the Coire Ardair car park before heading home himself. James and Ailsa, heading back to the Fort, stopped by to drop off a present for me. Thanks guys. :-)
Carn Liath was first, an easy bash up from the car park. In reality, the conditions weren't bad. Once I was out of the humid, still air of the glen, the windy tops gave good walking conditions. I got to Carn Liath in good time, (1h 20m) and began the race along the ridge toward the next two Munros; Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Creag Meagaidh.
On Stob Poite, I got hammered by the wind has hard as I have yet on this trip, but the intensity came and went, so it was bearable. The rain was always light and never a problem, the cloud was almost always above the summits. Yet I had a permanent knot in my stomach, fearing the rains would arrive and wash me off the hills. It sets up a cycle of negativity that can't be broken until that day's hills are complete. The thinking was along the lines of: If I get washed off, I'd have to come back for the last Munros. I'd be a day down on schedule. The skies were grey all day, and the hills were absent of colour. I couldn't see beyond a few mountain ranges due to the murk, and I never knew if a weather front was about to arrive.
But I needn't have worried, the feared drenching didn't transpire. It didn't stop me being on my toes all the time. If any good came from my worrying, it propelled me at speed across the hills and I was on top of Beinn a' Chaorainn in just over four hours.
I've never been a fan of Beinn Teallach since I first climbed it last year. It was the fifth and last Munro of my day, but it still needed climbed. The strength of feeling probably comes across in my text to James from today "4 Munros in 4 hours. Just the sh*** one to go"! I'm no fan of this hill, but it's on the magical list of course (and at 915m, only just!) and I made it to the summit in good time. The best part about this hill is its views: you can see right down Loch Treig, each side flanked by Munros. The hills range off to the south until there are just vague shapes I climbed a month ago: Ben Lui, Ben Starav. The Nevis Range just looks incredible from here and I got a real sense of being in the west.
The walk south back to the car didn't seem to take nearly as long as it did last summer, and I was back in the car before long. Having spent the last week in a real bed I couldn't bring myself to put the tent back up just yet! I headed to Tulloch Bunkhouse where I am now, putting on dinner and looking over plans for the coming days.
The weather for the immediate future looks set to fall flat on it's face - just as I've got some big hills planned! Tomorrow I'll do the hills around Loch Treig, maybe 2, 3 or possibly all 5. I'll just see how I feel tomorrow. Then it looks like I'll get a drenching for the next few days, which will just have to be beared. After the immediate future, I'm hopeful the weather will pick up once more. For now the pressure is back on, but I'm hopeful it won't be too big a deal.
All part of the fun, though, isn't it?
Stob Poite Coire Ardair
(0.00) 12.35pm Aberarder
(1.15) 1.50pm Carn Liath
(2.20) 2.55pm Stob Poite Coire Ardair
(2.50) 3.25pm Creag Meagaidh
(4.05) 4.40pm Beinn a' Chaorainn
(5.25) 6.00pm Beinn Teallach
(7.05) 7.40pm Roughburn