I set off really early(5am) on the Friday morning and arrived at Ardvorlich House at 0645 ready to go at 7am. It was cold and forecast was for strong winds.
I was so determined that today would be the day to conquer Stuc A Chroin as I had failed twice already this year
As soon as I got a glimpse of Ben Vorlich I could see there was going to be a tricky day out with snow on the hills.
After 40 mins there was a covering of snow on the ground and I could see it getting deeper so I put my crampons on to be safe Once i started on the hill itself the snow was now getting quite deep and I was slowed down now and taking each step carefully in case the snow was deep. Sometimes you would take a step forward and sink in up to your waist .
As I continued further up Vorlich the wind became my enemy and I soon realised that doing Vorlich then the Stuc was going to be one too many so I decided to concentrate on just doing Vorlich and look upon this day as an excercise on walking in winter I must have reached halway up Vorlich and I was blown over by the wind and thought your not going to beat me ya b##### At this point I became really stubborn and fought with all my might to keep going but the wind was having none of it and was pushing me onto the other side of Vorlich against my better judgement I grew more and more angry that this wind was pushing me off the mountain. At times I could only see 20 feet in front due to snow being blown in my face by this awful wind and just as well I had goggles. At time I was crawling to avoid meeting the full force of this wind and it was so powerful now I couldn't stand at all so I resorted to part crawling and dragging my body up this mountain. I now was getting quite tired and could no longer see myself reaching the summit and I did think that even if I did that I would be blown off the mountain and would fall or slide 1000 feet. I think I must have been going for over 3 hours by now and finally decided to turn around and head back. When I started down though I finally realised that I was in really thick fog and soon had a real sence of being lost . I started descending and soon realised that this was not the correct way down and I changed course but I hadn't realised just how off course the wind had blown me and I felt like I was on a different mountain. At one point I felt like I could so easily slip and fall 500 feet and I wasn't sure wheather to keep going down and risk it or go back up but that seemed just as hard so after sitting for 20 mins trying to shelter from the wind I decided to head across the side of the mountain and eventually came accross an area which looked familiar, so started heading down this route. I soon felt safer as it wasn't nearly as dangerous looking as the area I was in a wee bit earlier. The biggest problem here was the fog and wind but I knew I was now back on track but still had around 3 miles back to the car. I carried on down and eventually found myself back on the path and an hour and a half later was back down safely, a little shaken at my experience but so happy to ba safe. All in it was 6 hours taken up and down and no summit reached today but a lesson learned. I should have turned back much earlier and can only say to anyone else walkin alone in winter to be very careful as the weather can change so quickly as it had done today. I guess I'll go back up in May and hopefully fourth time luck will get to top of Stuc.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.