Despite walking Scottish mountains for three years this is my first report and as such more of a try out for the website. Ben Wyvis is the only Munro we have attempted and failed hence the very cursory report. If you were out and about on 2nd September you may recall is was very windy so rather than attempt Liathach we opted for a straightforward rounded hill as far to the East as we could go, the West coast being very windy.
After leaving the Torridon hostel late and scratching around for lunch in Garve we arrived at the car park around midday (please note my user name). It was windy! I'm guessing 40mph plus at low level and the cloud base was around 900m. The walk along the stream, amongst the trees was pleasant but once out in the open and gaining altitude it became apparent that we were in for a hard time. There were small groups of walkers around, some descending and some on their way up. As they got about half way up the An Cabar spur most turned back; we pressed on. Once on top of the spur we were into the cloud and subjected to a real battering, the wind driving fine droplets of rain upwards into our faces, it felt like being sandblasted. Every few minutes we had to crouch down to avoid being blown over in the gusts. During one such moment i spotted something in yellow walking towards me out of the gloom, very unsteady and staggering, they turned out to be human. The couple stopped to tell me it was even worse on the Munro peak and they had taken 30 minutes to get back, they were the last to arrive and had started out an hour before us.
After a short discussion during which I was blown over we decided to turn back. I did not really want to go back down the path which was badly eroded and any sudden gust would knock us over onto rock or into one of the eroded gullies. So I took the direct route down the grassy slopes, at least any fall would have been cushioned. A tea tray to slide on would be useful. We eased our way down to the Allt a Bhealaich Mhor path and back to the car park for an early tea.
A good trip for the lessons learned folder.
1) If we had started 2 hours earlier, we would have made it, albeit having a very unpleasant time.
2) However windy at ground level, it going to be a lot worse at height.
3) Rounded hills leave you as exposed as sharp ones, it's just that the falls are less extreme
The next day was just as windy and we did a coastal walk up to Red Point, a much more sensible option.
Apologies for the title but I couldn't resist it!
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