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The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:06 pm
by BlackPanther
Hard to believe it's been 5 years since I walked down the aisle. When I was younger I never wanted to waste my time on something as impractical as marriage but I guess I just had to grow up to it. The way I see it, it's a decision for life and I didn't want to do it only "because a woman in her 30s is supposed to have a husband of some sort, otherwise it's ODD". I spent every day of my life enjoying myself and I don't regret a single moment.
I never bothered to chase for a good candidate, but then suddenly... he just happened to stumble up my way :lol: :lol: We met in the most prosaic of all possible circumstances - working for the same company. I knew of course that I was joining a family of Munroists, but it didn't scare me. I was an outdoor-type anyway and a challenge like 283 hills to climb only mobilized me :D
Well, to make a long story short, we had our special day in Beauly on the 25th of August 2007 - a modest ceremony followed by a 14-days honeymoon in sunny Cornwall (Kevin's homeland). Looking back now, I guess I wasn't fully aware that I had signed the agreement to be infected with a Munro-bug :lol:
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Now, 5 years and over 100 mountains later, I can say I made the right decision. Every relationship has its ups and downs - ours had lots and lots of UP moments and even the DOWN ones weren't so bad :wink:
For the 5th anniversary we hoped to visit an interesting hill, something with WOW factor. Saturday the 25th looked a bit gloomy but Sunday gave us a better opportunity, so we planned a celebratory trip to Glen Coe. We both agreed that our marriage needed a special blessing from The Good Shepherd from Glen Etive.
Buachaille Etive Mor. The very name gives me shivers. The Shepherd is not the most difficult Munro and certainly not the most inaccessible one, but if you have seen it once, it will bugger your mind until you climb it. The very symbol of Scottish mountains, the goddess of Glen Coe.
Our route was the traditional two Munros circuit, ascending via Coire na Tulaich to Stob Dearg and then following the ridge to Stob na Broige. The car park in Altnafeadh was full to bursting when we arrived (it's over 2 hours drive down from Inverness and we encountered some roadworks on A82) so we parked by Cnoc nam Bocan.

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We walked a short distance along the busy road and then cut across the boggy moorland to reach the footbridge over River Coupall. The Shepherd was waiting patiently for us, as if he wanted to say: come, children, come... Come and embrace the beauty and the sweat... The pain and the satisfaction...
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On the footbridge:
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The smaller brother, Buachaille Etive Beag from near the car park...
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...and from the bridge:
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It was my second visit in Glen Coe. Last year we climbed Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach. I remembered the steep ascent up Coire nan Lochan and this one looked very similar:
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The day was OK, not too hot and rather quiet, the only disadvantage being the cloudy sky. It took the edge off our photos, they all look a bit dull with no blue background :( But hey, I'm not going to mourn about it. The cloud level was over 1000 m and we hoped to get a clear summit panorama... In the meantime, we pushed quickly up the rocky corrie:
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Glen Coe and the Little Shepherd from lower Coire na Tulaich:
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We saw other walkers on the path far above us and it looked climbable though steep...
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Looking down back to the road:
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The first glimpse of good views:
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Technically, the climb was easy. The path is obvious all the way up, with some very easy scrambling in the upper corrie. Nevertheless, the surrounding vertical cliffs are very impressive indeed:
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That looks like a stairway to the summit!
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On closer inspection, we thought the final bit could cause some trouble:
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...but at the moment I was just a bundle of joy:
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The advantage of a steep climb is, you gain height quickly and get good views in next to no time:
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Blackwater Reservoir:
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It may look daunting but the path is visible all the way and it's nothing more than hopping from rock to rock. Great fun!
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Just below the summit we encountered some easy scrambling again, no problem at all, I loved it:
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Kevin was just as happy as me, and full of energy. His hayfever season is definitely over and he's recently improved his fitness. I struggled to keep up with him!
Maybe the reason I stayed behind was too obvious... All these panos to film...
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Stob Dearg from the col on the ridge:
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Stob na Doire in dark mood:
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Looking north towards the Mamores:
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Hey! Somebody's nicked Ben Nevis!!!
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Blackwater Reservoir and surrounding hills:
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I must say, once past the painful climb up Coire na Tulaich, the rest of the walk to the first Munro is a pleasant stroll with great views in all directions. I kept glancing towards Stob na Doire, knowing that we will have to traverse this top on the way to the second summit:
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The path to the summit. Again, it looks worse than it is:
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The Great Shepherd entertained many guests that Sunday:
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View west towards the Little Shepherd and other Glen Coe mountains:
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But the best was saved for last. As we reached the very summit, we encountered the stunning, "neverending" view down to Rannoch Moor...
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That's the summit! Busy, just as we expected on summer Sunday!
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The top of Stob Dearg. Loads of words have already been written about how fantastic viewpoint it is, so I'll simply share some of the splendid views and hope you enjoy them just as we did :D Definitely the Good Shepherd gave us a blessing!
SE to Creise, its summit in cloud:
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NE to Blackwater, Corrour mountains and the Mamores...
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Rannoch Moor once again:
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The busy cairn area:
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Kevin on the summit:
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We were watched by the King of Glencoe...
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A few zoomed pictures of the Glencoe raven here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24794
The cloud was beginning to descend onto the ridge so after about 30 minutes on the summit, we set off to continue the traverse. By the time we descended back to the col, the middle top was already hidden in clag...
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...and so was the one we came from! We were so, so lucky with the summit views! Sure, the Shepherd's blessing was upon us!
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The path to the second top is again, obvious and well trodden, a bit steep in places but no scrambling involved:
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We climbed as far as the edge of the cloud and stopped here, just to catch the views from as high as possible...
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Buachaille Etive Beag. Mmmm this narrow ridge looks interesting... Another target for another good day!
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We reached the summit of Stob na Doire and stopped only for a minute to consult the map. There are two paths leading down this top and we wanted to be sure we won't end up walking down "the false ridge" in the clag. Luckily, we took the right descent route and soon we were below the cloud level again, enjoying the nice view towards the rest of the ridge:
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Here, we saw Loch Etive. I must admit, I don't know much about this part of Scotland. Apart from Bidean nam Bian and its neighbour I haven't climbed any hills in this area... But I am going to!
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We descended the steep path from Stob na Doire, talking and laughing, in excellent moods. Only when we looked back, it appeared to us as a very unpleasant push, if we had to climb it again :lol: :lol:
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Luckily, we didn't have to. There is a good, recently upgraded path, descending into Coire Altruim:
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But before we took this route, there was one more summit to climb. It looked like the Good Shepherd changed his mind and declined another blessing... The second Munro was in cloud :( :
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So far, we were having another of THESE SPECIAL DAYS:
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View back to Stob na Doire:
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The path to Stob Coire Altruim is easy and soon we reached the top:
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We continued along the undulating ridge to Stob na Broige. One more glimpse back along the ridge left us very little hope that the cloud would lift...
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...but then... suddenly... a miracle happened!
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We did have the Shepherd's blessing at the end of the day! The fantastic panorama down to Glen Etive and Loch Etive:
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The cloud was hanging low above our heads, but deep down in my heart I believe that the Good Shepherd made it lift just a little bit, especially for us on this special day :D :D
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The summit cairn:
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One more photo down to Loch Etive and surrounding mountains:
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The northern end of Glen Etive and the ridge of Buachaille Etive Mor:
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My summit photo. The facial expression is due to midges (the wind has just dropped and they started sucking us dry):
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Kevin was so happy that even midges didn't wipe the big smile of his face:
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We wanted to spend some more time on the second Munro top, but the wee black beasts simply wouldn't leave us alone, so we quickly started our walk back to Stob Coire Altruim.
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We descended the path along the west bank of Allt Coire Altruim. Generally it's easy though steep. Halfway down the slope, there is a tricky bit, very steep and on pure rock. It could be dangerous in bad weather or in snowy conditions, but on a good day we didn't really have a big problem with it. Looking back from below, hmmm... Judge for yourself:
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Past this obstacle, the rest of descent is a piece of cake:
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Down in Lairig Gartain, the rest of the route is a formality. Plus some more nice views to complete the great adventure:
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The last stream to cross:
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Looking back at the descent route:
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We had such a fantastic day, and I wasn't even too tired, felt like I could do another hill if there was time :lol: :lol: Was it the blessing of the Shepherd working on me???
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We followed the excellent, recently upgraded path all the way back to the car park. It only took us 6.5 hours to complete the traverse and that including breaks for photos, sandwiches and watching the raven :lol: :lol: Thank you, Good Shepherd, for giving us a lovely day, thank you for blessing our marriage. We shall return to Glencoe when opportunity arises. Meow!

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:43 pm
by SusieThePensioner
Congratulations on 5 years!! :clap: What a fantastic way to celebrate :D
Great walk and some wonderful views as well :thumbup: I think you were definitely blessed :D
We had our 40th anniversary earlier in the year and went to the Trossachs :lol:

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:18 pm
by ChrisW
Happy Anniversary BP and what a great way to celebrate, I'm so glad the cloud lifted enough for you, I think you're right, it was a blessing :wink: :D

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:37 pm
by dooterbang
Great photos as usual, and another interesting story...happy 5th guys.

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:03 pm
by tomyboy73
a great wee story with a happy.......beginning and ending :lol:

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:08 pm
by Bod
That's great, a wonderful walk :D :D :D
Happy Anniversary!!!

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:19 pm
by malky_c
Congratulations - a great way to spend it :D . Our 5th is coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm pretty certain we won't be doing anything like this :lol:

Always good to see Glencoe again. I tend to skip over lots of Glencoe reports as there are just so many, but it is a great spot :)

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:49 pm
by kevsbald
Lovely - just spent my 2nd year anniversary with my wife yesterday but that was more an EatHighlands than anything that could feature on here.

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:07 pm
by Huff_n_Puff
Great report and pics - as usual :D :D Congratulations on the anniversary - and what a brilliant way to celebrate it :clap: :clap:

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:28 pm
by pollyh33
Awwwwww lovely report BP, I love a good romance :D :D

This was one of the few walks that I've done with my husband and we had cracking weather too, nearly 24 years for us- poor bloke :lol:

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:42 pm
by johnkaysleftleg
Happy anniversary! We spent our 8th anniversary on Ben Lawers but that looks even better. :clap:

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:58 pm
by dogplodder
Congratulations both on five years of marriage - and may you go on to climb many more hills together! :clap: :D

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:15 pm
by old danensian
I guess some mountains are just meant for special times - glad the gods looked down on you.

OD

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:45 am
by BlackPanther
Many, many thanks for all the wishes and kind words :D :D There's so much stuff posted about Buachaille Etive Mor, I was afraid my story would be overlooked... I was wrong :lol:
It was a happy day for us and hopefully many, many more of these are still to come.

Re: The Good Shepherd blessed my marriage

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:29 pm
by Graeme D
Happy anniversary! This is a cracking way to celebrate an anniversary.....or any other day for that matter. We celebrated our 7th in July..... and I celebrated by doing a couple of Mamores with my mate Robin! :lol: