Bowery Mural

First meet with the OMC! (munro number 7)...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Hi everyone

Well the week has only just got quiet for me between work, play and cake baking! so i thought it was time for the story of the first meet with the OMC and my 7th, yes, my 7th munro!! up at Roy Bridge - which is about halfway between Dalwhinnie and Fort William.

We set off from Stirling at about 5.45pm last Friday night and made good time up the A9 reaching Pitlochry at about 6.45pm. Just after Pitlochry the snow came on and so it was a long slow drive into Roy Bridge eventually reaching the Roy Bridge Hotel at about 8.30pm. Here we sampled the local 'cuisine' and Friday night highlight that was a game of pool. The cuisine came and was a brick hard cheeseburger, grey fish and a black hair in your peas!! Lovely.... Needless to say we'd arrived here at 8.30pm, had eaten some of the food and left by 9pm. What a laugh.

It was time to head to the bunkhouse - Aite Cruinnichidh - just outside Roybridge. We got there, settled in our bunk-bed room with the two Jean's and met a few new people then decided what we'd be doing the next day. It was decided we'd do Beinn Teallach with a few other group members. Job done. We had a wee chat with folk and headed off to bed.

Next morning i was woken by the rustling of Jean number 1 leaving at about 6.30am to go and climb 3 munros!! Cool. We got up, had breakfast and then all 9 of us headed off to the roadside parking place near Tulloch. It was all snowy and lovely and the bonus was that the sun was out and the sky was the bluest I've seen for a while! We headed off up a nice woodland track that was covered in snow. It was like a winter wonderland. Gorgeous. Crossed an icy cold river that snaked almost black along the field of whiteness (snow). After successfully crossing the river without getting my feet wet it was on up a gentle climb to the edge of a forest and then to start the steeper section. The views were amazing! and the higher we rose the more the landscape changed and to me it became almost lunar, i think..... All i could think was why hadn't i done this long before now. I also find that i tend to stop talking and like listening to the hill banter that gets randomer and randomer as the day goes on.

Sometimes I'm also thinking why am I doing this? If I'm honest I suppose I do tend to get a bit .....well, for want of a better word - miserable when walking. I couldn't understand it at first. For instance when I climbed Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe I totally hit a brick wall mentally twice and wanted to be just picked up and lifted back to the car. Which is funny thinking back now cos it was never gonna happen was it? ha ha. Then when I was up Ben Vorlich recently I found myself thinking the same. The strange thing is it never happened when I climbed Bynack More for Trail magazine article!! I'm not sure at which point of the climb that it starts to set in but I think I have the reason for my general miserableness on the hills all figured out now. It dawned on me that i hadn't realised that hill-walking was a competitive extreme non-team sport!!!! Silly me. It seems the rule is that the more experienced people race away ahead and leave the less experienced (e.g. ME) at the back and that's the point the general miserableness settles in....silly me....for not realising this munro-bagging wasn't an enjoyable outdoor activity but a very serious and dare i say it self-centred activity. Now I'm not saying every one's like that but that has been my experience of some of my SEVEN munros.

I'm not actually that bothered about ticking munros from a list or a map, yeah I'll tick them when I've done them but that is not my ultimate goal. I much prefer to be out and about walking up any hills really. None of this competitive edge to it. I have asked several very experienced people the question do they ever get like that sometimes? and the answer has been mostly that yes everyone feels like that when the climb gets steeper and when it's freezing and raining and you just feel generally down but the glow after you reach the summit seems to be worth it - doesn't it? I've also been told that if you can't talk and walk at the same time then you're going too fast. I wish someone would tell the folk at the front that. It's not teamwork at all. Then, as if you're not feeling bad enough, somehow they always seem to get the conversations going about a person that was going too slow etc etc and that makes you feel sooo bad. I think they forget that they started somewhere too and so do I have to. I mean I wasn't the slowest in the group by any means and actually i think I'm pretty hill-fit now but i don't want to rush on cos i know that on the way back down my knees will ache so much! I don't think people realise how sore the pain is..... Anyway that is my rant about 'competitive munro-bagging' over....

So yeah munro number seven was completed and a group set of for the second one of the day and me, Sharon and Jackie headed back down. We were the sensible ones as the day got colder and the sun was setting at around 4pm we were back at the car. 6 hours - not a bad time at all with the snowy conditions. I got some really great photos and they can be seen at the link below but here's a couple of my favourites from that day...

Back at the bunkhouse we made dinner of pasta, bacon and my mum's spcial recipe cheese sauce. The banter was good and i found it really interesting finding out about what different people had been up to that day. Soem went climbing, some did 3 munros, some had done 4!! and we had done 1 ha ha. It was good. Then to the talk of what to do the next day started and i decided that my knees were too sore to be doing another one so the plan was that Jackie would bring me home and Sharon would go on with some others to do some more munros.

All in all it was a good weekend and i realise what i've missing out on all of this time and i kinda think i'd like to give ice climbing a go but have not a clue about how to begin. I figure if you're doing that then it's slow and steady and people have to work together more as part of a team. I'm sure I'll find out about it all at the OMC but that will be the focus for after the trek. Speaking of which...

...I got my flight details through and it's all becoming so real - eek! Gulf Air flight: London Heathrow to Kathmandu via Bahrain on Thursdy 2nd Aril 2009. The countdown is on....

Well i'm heading off now and i'll leave you with my song of the week:

Greatest Day by Take That - yes people it is a good song!!

take care, be safe,
Ange xx

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