Bowery Mural

5th and 6th munros .... Are we human or are we dancer?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hiya all
Hope this find you all fit and well and raring to go for countdown to Christmas! Sorry someone had to say it – it’s only about 6 weeks away after all...
It’s been a busy few weeks of late. I’ve hardly had enough time to do anything but it’s all good. I’ve now officially climbed 6 Munros – yay me! Done my 5th and 6th this past weekend. They were Gael Charn and A'Mharconaich up at Drumochter Pass. It started off with an 8am leaving time and rather pleasant drive up the A9 and getting to Balsporran Cottages at around 9.20am. We set off up the track and managed to get lost just a few hundred metres into it. We ended up on the wrong side of the river so backed up and found the proper one. It wasn’t the main track on the map we took but a one the veered off to the left and up the ridge of the hill. It was sooo boggy and I gave up trying to prevent my boots from being caked in mud halfway up. No point really.

It started off windy, then the light rain came along and just as we headed up to what I thought was the summit the heavier rain struck but worst of all was the really strong winds! Weren’t just strong winds but the sort of wind that you can push against and be almost horizontal it was so strong. Yes I did say what I thought was the summit as I’m finding that most hills have false summits – why? Who builds them? Stop it please, it’s quite annoying to find that you think you’ve reached your goal and then find it’s actually about another 15 minute walk further back. So we reached the first summit and sat in the cairn, wind howling round about us and then a figure appeared on the horizon like a mirage. He came all the way up circled the cairn and then headed back down to where he’d just come from. All a bit surreal really! So this was my 5th Munro – woohoo! (Gael Charn). I grabbed a quick bite of my sandwich and had to take off my big gloves – the guy in Tiso assured me I could do anything with these gloves!! That’s why I can’t even pull my jacket zip down with them on?.... I dunno, they say anything to sell you something eh. But other than that they are rare and warm. My fingers were frozen so the gloves went back on and we headed on to the next Munro.

It was down a few hundred metres and then to a track winding its way up the back of A'Mharconaich. All the while the wind I swear was getting stronger – the type that takes your breath away. Our faces were being battered by hail stones or strong rain, it was rather unpleasant and I was thinking why, why am I doing this?? We decided to head upwards and get onto the gentle ridge up to the summit as soon as possible. This was a hard slog and quite steep in places. Again another false top and then we got onto the gentle slope of the ridge. At this point I was pretty quiet as I was trying to get my mind on the job in hand and think good positive thoughts. Sounds weird but those of you out there who have this type of past time will know what I mean – I hope!! Time for a pit stop and another bite of a sandwich and a wee snack. Then the final push. It was pretty quick and we managed it in about 20 minutes. We couldn’t see a thing from here and decided it was best to take a few snapshots and head on down as the clouds were thick. Only about 10 minutes down and suddenly it was almost clear (still strong winds though) but the views were fantastic and that’s when you realise why indeed you do this type of thing on a weekend. Bliss...

My mood had gotten brighter and the banter flowed. If anyone could hear our conversations they’d think what??!!!! All great fun though. Finally we were nearly back at base camp (ha-ha) and this mound of mud was baffling us. We couldn’t figure out how to get around it as the ground was a total bog. Call Mountain Rescue I cried and we were only about 20 metres from the train track! Ha-ha – well it was funny at the time and we laughed. So that was 2 Munros on 5 hours – just like the book said. I must be better than I thought at this hill-walking malarkey. Ding ding – RESULT!

Ok you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Munro-Bagging. When I’m on the hill and people are saying ok do you want to go for the second one? I’m like ‘No I’m not bothered about ticks on some list’. But afterwards I proudly get my list out and tick it off. I say yeah go ahead and bag some Munro’s but I think some people take it too seriously and perhaps they just get the book out, rush on ahead to bag the Munro and then tick it off the list. I’ve been told on several occasions now by various experienced people that you should go at your own pace, if you can’t talk to your mate when walking then you’re going too fast etc but when you’re out on the hill and people seem to be rushing off ahead and then start talking about times when they had to wait for slow people then it doesn’t make you feel that great. I’ll just say one thing – team work people! There’s no I in TEAM – as they say.....

Anyway we head on down to Pitlochry for our evening of mountain talk with Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell. We met up with a few friends there and had a good laugh beforehand. The talk was a very interesting and eye-opening talk. I especially enjoyed the section in Kenton’s talk about the trek into Base Camp. It made me so proud, nervous, fantastic and eager all at the same time about the journey I have ahead of me. Amazing! He spoke with great admiration about the Sherpa’s and Sirdar’s who do a wonderful job on all Everest Summit Expeditions. Much respect to them. He also mentioned the Base Camp cook who makes apple pie – which I have been told about before. And I liked when he commented on the trek into Base Camp being as much of an achievement as a summit. We all have an Everest inside us and this trek will be mine. Go on people, find your own Everest and do it!!

After a long and very enjoyable fun day we headed back down the road as we were knackered and my face was stinging with the wind. Next stop its Fort William next weekend with the Ochils Mountaineering Club. I’m now really psyched for that as it will be my first trip out 2 days in a row and I’m keen to find out how I’ll get on.

I’ll leave you with a few pics of our day .....

and more pics can be found here:

Thanks for reading,
Song of the week: Human – The Killers ~ Are we human or are we dancer?
Take care everyone,
Ange xxx

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