Three Munros and a hefty dollop of stupidity
by railton22 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:32 pm
Route description: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach
Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Sgulain
Date walked: 30/05/2013
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 25.6 km
Ascent: 1212m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
2 miles into the walk and the only complaint is the "three bog" rating given by WH, definitely a "four bogger" (or maybe we are just bog-wusses).
2.5 miles into the walk and I realise that perhaps not the WISEST thing I've done in my life is to attempt a (what was a) 16mile walk with three Munros in BRAND NEW WALKING BOOTS. My heels were chafing and I felt distinctly uncomfortable. I was quite sure that I'd spent sufficient time breaking in my new boots on previous occasions (and this included a 10metre trip from the car to Aberlour chippy...and back again).
Cursing my stupidity and arrogance I continued onwards. The Hubs soon noticed that I was hobbling uphill in the manner of a trussed turkey and uttered the dreaded phrase, "Shall we turn back and call it a day?"
As the boots were the ONLY pair I'd brought up to Scotland with me on this trip (how STUPID can I be?) and my older, slightly battered, slipper-soft boots were languishing in a cupboard 450miles away I "bravely" opted to go on not wanting to ruin Hubs' day too.
For good measure I had a hypo attack (Chew or swallow 6 fruit pastilles in quick succession and complete the prescribed course) but that soon passed and I was back to grumbling about my painful heels as we slopped through bog after bog on the low bealach. To the left of us the craggy steep sides of Carn Dearg frowned down on the dense walker in her new boots and her poor suffering husband.
Up ahead of us an older chap in bright red springbok-ed his way through the bogs and before I'd chomped down fruit pastille no 5 he was on the rim of the bowl at the head of the glen mocking me with his irritatingly blister-free stride.
We opted not to follow Old Red onto the bowl and instead crossed the Allt Ballach and headed straight up the most "do-able" side of Carn Dearg avoiding the craggy bits. I found that walking sideways was helpful and walking backwards too but it was a painful (very painful) last 1000ft.
The summit was one of the most welcome sights to date. It ranks up there with Gary Barlow/Take That, Manchester 2011. Back to the summit of Carn Dearg, very dramatic and well worth the pain to stand on the summit cairn. That's the first Munro of the day bagged then. Two to go.
A quick pose for our album and then some emergency First Aid for the cursed blisters.
Rooted around the ruckie for the pack of "Asda" blister plasters and then removed my boots to inspect the damage. It became apparent that Asda blister plasters were not up to the job. Some industrial strength Compeed was called for....but could I find my nice pack of Compeed?? Probably 450miles away keeping my nice old boots company.
Feet patched up and onwards, upwards, onwards, upwards.
Feet now tolerably uncomfortable we chugged on towards Carn Ban and the "vast, empty and almost featureless plateau of the Monadhliath" (as described by WH). The skies were relatively clear and the views were far reaching.
The boundary fenceposts were a great aide and we followed them fairly uneventfully all the way to Carn Sgulain. Old Red remained up ahead of us. Jaunty as ever.
Reaching the summit of Carn Sgulian proved to be less painful but as far as Munros go it was pretty bland but welcome nonetheless. Munro no 2 bagged.The blandness was coloured somewhat by the discovery of a lazy cluster of sun-baked Ptarmigan, cunningly blended in amongst the patchy lichen rocks. Their plumage was an impressive imitation of their rocky surroundings.
The longest distance between the two of the three Munros under our belts and with the sun shining, we struck out for A'Chailleach (as fast as my burning blisters would allow).
In spite of the pleasantly warm weather there were still plenty of patches of stubborn snow lying around.
It was at this point that the Hubs spotted a "shortcut" and he marched purposefully off in his intended direction with me trotting gimpishly behind him. Old Red was now parallel with us. The shortcut involved a fair few peaty sections but thankfully no boggy patches. The bogs are a killer for blistered feet sucking the boots painfully against the sore skin.
We realised we'd done good as Old Red altered his course and turned to follow us. A good sign indeed. Up ahead we spotted mountain hares sporting silver grey coats and so engrossed were we in the half dozen or so mountain hares that we quite lost sight of ascent to A'Chailleach and ended up farther off track than we'd intended.
Old Red was by now halfway up the steep bank of A'Chailleach and far ahead of us once again. The steep slopes were a killer for my heels and I crabbed my way up slowly with my blisters singing Soprano.
Perseverance paid off and the summit cairn of A'Chailleach was reached. A most welcome sight indeed. We posed up for the last Munro of the day.
Excitement now as the only way is down. A sure respite for my horrible heels. My joy was shortlived as the descent to Glen Banchor turned out to be the mother of all bogfests. That light green mossy stuff was particularly tricksey. Masquerading as benign spring grass, an unsuspecting boot quickly became swamped and given the blister pain (have I mentioned that at all?) it was difficult to right myself quick enough to prevent a thorough soaking. Bog water in my boots took the blister pain to a whole new level and I was very tempted at this point to roll myself downhill.
My final piece de resistance came as we crossed the Allt a' Chaorainn. At this point we met Old Red looking for a way across the fast flowing stream. Hubs pinged across, deftly stepping onto the rocks. Old Red opted to cross slightly higher up. Which left just me.
My soggy, raw blisters hindering my balance somewhat, I flailed around on a slippery rock in the style of "Father Ted's Mrs Doyle " balancing on the window-ledge.
Across the bank Old Red was shouting to me. I couldn't hear him over the noise of the rushing water and gathering the single ragged thread of my dignity, I put one foot in front of the other and promptly buttock-slapped the water as I crashed into the stream.
Hauling my sodden backside up the far bank and accepting the outstretched hand from Hubs I was greeted by Old Red saying "I said would you like some help to shore you up across the water?"
Given my buttock slapping water dance, it was pretty much a moot point and I smiled politely and thanked him for his offer and squelched the remaining half mile or so to the car.
Inside my boots the Asda blister plasters were completing little circuits in the water surrounding my sorry feet.
No photos of that sorry little saga.
The plantation gate came into sight and with that the knowledge of our lovely car waiting for us just beyond the next bend. The sense of achievement definitely rates as one of the highest given that I'd decided it would be more challenging to hobble myself with new unbroken boots.
The final note has to go to my horrible hooves. The envy of any self-respecting Tolkien Hobbit.
Walked by Sarah(38) and David (38)
by gyles » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:40 pm
well done on battling through the pain
by Collaciotach » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:51 pm
by Fudgie » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:28 am
At least you persevered and got the full walk done
by Fife Flyer » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:20 pm
Not sure how you can break in a new pair of boots though, surely someone has to wear them Why don't the folk that make them sell them already broken in, that would solve the problem, but then again the cost of the boots would probably go up - any suggestions
by bobble_hat_kenny » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:19 pm
railton22 wrote:The summit was one of the most welcome sights to date. It ranks up there with Gary Barlow/Take That, Manchester 2011.
Surely some exaggeration there - I can't imagine that the Monadhliadh ever get THAT exciting !
Excellent effort there - that's certainly a big outing in New Boots .
I've had my eye on these three for a while: bagging the three together has the reputation of being a much, much better walk than tackling any combo of ones and twos. Your nice report makes them look even more tempting... I think I'll stick to my old boots though !
by Graeme D » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:29 pm
by Tomsie » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:50 pm
Least the heels won't blister next time.
by railton22 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:25 pm
Have to say when I got home I did give my old boots a sneaky little hug whilst no-one was looking