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A night on Narnain

A night on Narnain


Postby Michael Thomson » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:31 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Narnain

Date walked: 19/09/2011

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What to do with two weeks holiday? In my case, the plan was to spend the first week painting the house and then fly out to France for the second week and join the girls. My theory was that while it wasn't ideal holiday activity, it would be easier to paint without two kids running about. You have to take your opportunities.
I checked the forecast and it was pretty much miserable all week, ideal painting weather. I got the overalls on and got stuck in, but after three days, the novelty had started to wear off. I checked the forecast again, and this time the weather man taunted me with a single clear day, sandwiched between the remains of two tropical storms. I took this as a omen, and promptly dumped the paintbrush and packed a rucksack. It was late in the day already, so it would have to be somewhere nearby. I plumped for Arrochar, mainly because I'd just got a copy of Harveys Southern Highlands map.
After an quick stop for fuel for both me and the car I was off. Then stuck behind a tractor. The stopped by a lorry reversing over the whole road. Then another tractor. Then roadworks in Balloch. It felt like the world didn't want me to go this way. I remained zen-like, with the aid of some noise from the ipod, and eventually,  I was parked at the top end of Loch Long.

As is usual these days, I passed a ton of people heading down, while I slogged up. I say slogged, but the new path to the Narnain boulders is a treat compared to the old diretissima, if only a wee bit too zig-zaggy.

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By the time I hit the bealach, I was alone on the hill and it was only 5pm. Taking my time, I sauntered up the last stretch and had a relaxed wander around the summit, taking in the views. The weather was supposed to get worse overnight, but right then, it was clear and sunny and I was loving it.

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One of my latest toys is an intervalometer for the camera which I've been itching to try out. It's a ten quid knock off from Hong Kong, so I didn't expect it to be up to much, but I was actually pretty impressed. Instead of having to dash into shot within the ten second window I usually have, I could saunter off in any direction with the camera doing it's thing for as long as I liked. I had great fun playing with this, a trying to get as far as I could and still hear the shutter click. This will come in handy in future I think, watch out for more shots with me being a speck in the distance.

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I popped the tent up and got the stove on. Within a few minutes, I was watching the sun slip down to the west while scoffing my Chicken Tikka mush-in-a-bag. This or painting? Tough call.

It started to cool down and the wind got up, and as I watched the hills around started to don little caps of cloud. Ben Lomond was going for more of a stetson at a jaunty angle. I was surprised that Narnain didn't have the same cap, and as I wondered why that might be,  a huge wall of cloud came belting up over the northern slope and swamped the top. Within seconds I had gone from clear to deep in the mirk. It stayed that way all evening, but that was no loss, I'd already got what I'd come for.

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I grabbed a few hours sleep. Unfortunately for me, I had an appointment back home first thing, which meant getting up at a very small number on the clock. I struck camp and headed down. The cloud was thick and the headtorch had visibility of about five feet. I switched it off and let my eyes adjust and saw that the cloud was very slightly underlit by moonlight from either side of the hill, which made it easier to navigate without the torch and hinted that the cloud was limited to the top. Night navigation is a skill that needs to be used, so this was a fine opportunity on a familiar hill. Once I hit the bealach, I was out of the cloud and the descent was a lovely moonlit stroll. I did feel a bit miffed that I'd miss the sunrise, but something told me it wouldn't clear up on top.

The drive home was quick and uneventful which I was grateful for. Later, with roller in hand,  I had to turn up the radio to hear it over the rain lashing against the window; just so I could hear the weatherman tell me it was raining.

Like I say, you have to take your opportunities.

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Michael Thomson
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby malky_c » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:58 pm

8)

Top notch. I don't usually bother looking at Ben Narnain reports these days, as there are so many similar ones. Glad I looked in here though.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Del246 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:53 pm

Glad I had a quick look, your pics are great.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby mountainstar » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:46 pm

My sort of TR, wildcamping and on mountains, brilliant!
I do like your pictures as well...very good.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby nathan79 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:55 pm

Now that's what i call hill weather!

I haven't done anything in Arrochar yet (unless you count an abandoned ascent of Ben Vorlich Loch Lomond). I may have to pray for that sort of weather over the winter.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby skuk007 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:57 pm

Great report Michael, and a brilliant way to get away from the mundane DIY stuff.
Like the photos, I'm all for ones with specks on the horizon as it shows off the sheer scale of these fab hills. :)
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Michael Thomson » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:57 am

Thanks guys, you're very kind.
The good news is that I got the painting finished, so I've got some brownie points in the bag, which should mean another trip out shortly!
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Stretch » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:24 am

Nice one Michael. I always struggle to get cool photos of myself on the hills.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby ChrisW » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:55 am

Now be honest, when you said you would stay behind and paint you had one eye on the hills already didn't you :lol: I'm glad you did, this is a great report with some cracking photo's :D
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby kevsbald » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:24 am

Yes, yes, YES!!
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby kw1980 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:52 pm

Superb pictures.
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Bod » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:58 pm

What a great opportunity you took as well! Love the photos...how do you manage the ones when you are so far away? Is it a massive set-timer! Great picture of the tent at night.... :D
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Graeme D » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:39 pm

Carpe Diem Michael!!! Well done. A cracking little report and has me longing for my next summit overnighter in a tent. An intervalometer you say???? I shall have to investigate this myself! :D
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Malckyb » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:20 pm

Must do this hill again,I did it in a storm and saw nothing from the top.Really fab pics...well done!! :)
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Re: A night on Narnain

Postby Michael Thomson » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:50 pm

Cheers all for your kind words. We arrived back from France yesterday and the painting got a big WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) so I've got a pass for next weekend. Score!
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