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Pap for my birthday

Pap for my birthday


Postby neilmckenzie » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:32 pm

Route description: The Pap of Glencoe

Grahams included on this walk: Pap of Glencoe

Date walked: 26/04/2014

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 7 km

Ascent: 716m

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If you've seen my other walk reports, you'll notice I've been going on a lot of walks recently to train a little for a charity climb of Ben Nevis in July. My birthday was coming up and I thought that rather than go to the pub with a few mates, I'd encourage a bunch of them to climb something. The big question was - what?

I'd decided that we were camping at the Red Squirrel Camp site at Glencoe, because I know we can make a camp fire, it has toilet facilities and the Clachaig Inn is within walking distance if the weather turns against us. I want to challenge my friends, but not put them in danger. They have all been considering joining me on walks, and I don't want to give them the illusion that it's easy. I've decided something of the level of a Graham would be best. The Pap of Glencoe is a picture postcard mountain, so I decided to inflict that on them, and if any of them did make it up they would have a sense of achievement on seeing it the next day:

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Through a facebook group, we got everyone motivated and organised to be a group of about 13 from as far reaching as Belfast and London and incredibly we managed to rendezvous in Inveruglas by 11am with 3 cars full of friends of various levels of fitness and apprehension with me crossing my fingers that they would all enjoy themselves and not kill me. Luckily, the weather seemed to be on my side.

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From here it only gets better. The majority of the party had never driven through Glencoe(Even some of the folk from Glasgow!!) so apprehension at being dragged out of their comfort zones was temporarily forgiven as they took in some of my favourite views in the world.

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I smile with pride at the memory of them thinking the campsies were quite nice.

After numerous stops for photos, we hook round through Glencoe village and make it to the car park for the pap. We decant from our cars and make sure everyone is equipped for the climb ahead. I've never been walking in such a large party; nevermind one I'm responsible for. I stay near the back for fear of people complaining that I am streaking ahead. Before long the party has made some natural splits and is now in 3 or 4 units. The path is not impossibly steep, but it makes a steady climb as the views improve to act as respite to several unprepared thigh muscles.

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Once we are a considerable way up, the amateur thighs were really starting to flag. I was stopping with them every 10 minutes or so. This was making it much worse on me - it was like interval training. I was trying to motivate them without them wanting to kill me with minimal success. Still. They were determined to go on and very proud about how far they had made it thus far.

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The front runners are long gone, but every now and again we can see the path snaking out ahead and they give us a wee wave. The path seems to be a relentless zig zag up the side of the mountain. I can't tell if it's hard because I keep stopping or if it is genuinely hard. I don't think it's really that hard. The mental challenge of getting up the mountain has really set in, and I'm starting to think there's no chance the will make it. Once we get up to the main Saddle, I know that they aren't going to make it. We can now see the peak. It's far away and the weather has got moist and cold. We can see the front runners on the way back down having decided that it's too much for them. They have calculated it as another hour's walk.

The group decide they've had enough for the day. Craig and I decide that we aren't bailing on this one. We make sure both parties have phones and enough food and equipment and then we part ways. Craig and I immediately up the pace with our seasoned legs. I realise I've managed to get quite far up without exerting myself. This is a good job, because the actual 'pap' is pretty steep and requires a fair amount of hand work.

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It can be hard to work out where exactly the path is. The rocks below foot are crumbly and result in a few slips on tired ankles and knees, but with a little but if determination and persistence we finally reach the peak:

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The views are minimal through fog and rain.

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It's not a place you really want to hang around in weather like this and we start the ascent down through the scree of the pap. Once we are back on the flat, we phone the advance party and find out where they are. We reckon that we've done pretty well and we can maybe catch up with them so we tighten the rucksacks and then start to jog down through the rocky path like Aragorn and Legolas.

It turns out we make it down 15 minutes after everyone else, which isn't too bad.

We spend the evening sitting round a campfire, drinking whisky, singing songs and cooking great food with the euphoria of having completed another mountain. The rain and cold on the summit were a distant memory. There are few better feelings in the world:

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The next morning is glorious weather, so we take the long route home via Oban:

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Although very few of the party made it to the summit, they are all keen to go walking again. Mission Accomplished!
neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:33   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

Re: Pap for my birthday

Postby neilmckenzie » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:33 pm

neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:33   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

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