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Glen Lyon II - the scrapheap challenge

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:01 am
by old danensian
Episode I had ended in the teeth of horizontally driven rain coming straight from the east. After only Carn Gorm, neither my glasses, nor my determination survived the onslaught of the on-coming elements: after all, it had been July so what could I expect. It was one down, three to go and they’ll still be there another day.

Now, come March, a supposed sub-Saharan Scotland beckoned for the rematch. At first glance the pitch conditions looked the same: tops wreathed in mist and a barely optimistic MWIS of 40% cloud-free Munros. The crowd too was low, with mine the only car in the pull-in behind the telephone box at Invervar.

The challenge to reach Level One was as before: wrestle with the hernia-inducing gate then duck-and-bob below and between trees felled across the woodland path. Passage to the level above was still gained by lurching over the rickety bridge that if it had swung over the Thames would have attracted a Millennium grant for repair.

Level Two lured you up into the mists with an “it’s-up-there-somewhere- because-I’ve-been-there-before” kind determination. Once beyond the tumble-down trig point of Carn Gorm, the combat zone of Level Three spread across the tops between it and Carn Mairg. If conditions didn’t improve, this was likely to be one of those rare events for me: a photo free day.

At least it wasn’t raining and the prevailing wind proved to be more of a help than a hindrance as this time it came from the west. After Carn Gorm, the clear path led through a thickening mist and off behind An Sgorr on its way to the slopes of Meall Garbh. As slopes reared up into the cloud in unexpected and disorientating directions, the first of many metallic companions hove into view.

Some were still sternly upright, some leaned at slovenly or jaunty angles while others rusted lazily as they lay amidst the shattered stones across the tops. Whatever form they took, they remained a haunting presence, and as the wind rose, you expected them to clang and clatter in an attempt to scare you from their exposed home.

There was just one risky spell. I inadvertently tried to escape from the presence of those constant companions across the col below Meall a’ Bharr, but some compass and GPS work brought them back into view. There’s no point in keeping them too close and stepping interminably from one to the next somehow seems like cheating. Reassurance is one thing, but after a while it just feels like you’re being stalked. And metallic cairns are a fashion I’m glad didn’t catch on.

In the end, when cast iron turned sharply left and I strode ahead up a gentle grassy slope, persistence unlocked the exit from Level Three. The reward: views at last from the top of Carn Mairg and across to the final Munro of Meall na Aighean. However, a chill that reminded you that it really was still March in Scotland.

The recent dry spell meant a pleasant stroll rather than a bog-fest trudge across the broad col and then an easy angled leftwards sloping path – without sign of any mineral accompaniment – saw the final summit reached in no time at all. Getting to Level Four had proved to be the easiest part of the day. All that remained was the descent down the ridge and back to Invervar with the chance to appreciate the distance around the circuit with the tops all now clear.

Carn Gorm from Meall na Aighean

View from Meall na Aighean

Descent ridge and Carn Gorm from Meall na Aighean

It was a shame that the only thing I’d seen on the back part of the ring was the ferrous trail rather than the views. Nevertheless, with a few challenges on the way and a sense of achievement when seeing the extent of the circuit, it had been a good day out. In truth, it was just a leg-stretcher before Level Five and the tougher challenges at the WH meet in Glen Shiel which was where I drove to next.

Re: Glen Lyon II - the scrapheap challenge

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:22 am
by jonny616
Enjoyed this round when i did it & know what you mean about being stalked by the old fence posts.

Great to meet you in Kintail. Hope you drive home was uneventfull :D

Re: Glen Lyon II - the scrapheap challenge

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:07 pm
by Jockstar
Its amazing how this walk seems never to be straightforward though its a great way to bag 4 Munro's once you are at Carn Gorm.
Well done in getting some views across to Scheihallion. I've done this twice and was drenched twice and the walk down is brutal and seems neverending. Ok I've said enough and I'm sure others have enjoyed it. Well done Nigel.. :D