At last I'm finally heading north to try to grab a few hills before the silly season hits and more diversions get in the way. Given all the recent rain I'm amazed I can get up through Yorkshire.
After an overnight stop I head north for Loch Quoich hoping to add Gleouraich, Spidean Mialach and Gairich to my list.
The weather forecast was not too promising and it was raining heavily as I parked up at the bottom of the stalker's path leading onto Gleouraich. Having decided to keep things simple I was planning to follow the WalkHighlands route; so booted and suited I headed off down the road towards the second stalkers path (the white poles for both are becoming well hidden by the foliage). The stalker's path was the stalkers stream today and as it climbed it became the stalkers river in places (you are getting the picture? it was rather wet under foot!).
I reached the stream coming down from Coire Mheil; this was in spate and quite uncrossable at this point. I followed the stream further up into Coire Mheil hoping to find a way across but alas no joy.
A stag and his hinds were peering over the edge of the corrie seeming to hint that I should change my route and head up onto the south ridge of Gleouraich. This indeed proved the correct option and after some strenuous plodding through a few scree bands I made it to the summit. The weather all the way up out of the corrie had thrown everything at me, heavy rain, brilliant sunshine and hail.
On the summit the wind was picking up and here I met a couple taking some photos of each other. After taking one of the two of them together beside their latest triumph we got chatting about what to do next.
I think with the wind, which by now had a really cold edge to it, the rain and sleet mixed, we were in two minds.
We discussed the state of the streams in Coire Mheil and then they set off towards the bealach between Gleouraich and Spidean. I had some food and followed them a few minutes later.
With my lack of fitness training and lack of climbing this season I was struggling to decide on descent or trying to push on up Spidean.
I met up with the couple at the bealach and we had a chat about what best to do next. We decided to plod on up Spidean as this seemed potentially the driest route.
At this point I must thank them for heading on as i was struggling a bit at this point. Just being able to keep them in site as I made my way slowly up Spidean in their wake was enough to get me to the top.
I had another food break in the excellent walled cairn while the next batch of hail and snow rattled around the mountains of the South Glen Sheil ridge.
Nothing now remained but the plod back to the road through the boggy lower slopes.
The couple I'd met earlier chose a different route down and had made it back to their car about twenty minutes ahead of me but they kindly and thoughfully waited until I returned to ensure I had made it safely back.
It really heartened me to know that the spirit of camaraderie still exists amongst mountaineers in these 'all about me' days.
Final thoughts: if any of this young couples friends are struggling for christmas ideas then some thermal base layers or some waterproof gloves would go down well
and finally they were asking what made 'hard core' Munro baggers; well anyone who tackles Munro mountains on a day like we had can certainly consider themselves hard core!!
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