Today started off well: touches of blue sky as I was leaving the car park at Succoth, and bearing in mind everyone's comments on here about how quickly the up path appears, I took the first least obvious path off to the right and in seconds found my way blocked by brambles and forest and after a minute or two decided I must have taken too early a turning (!) and carried on up the main path a few more yards where the correct path was really obvious!
I'd read about how much of the undergrowth impinges on the path and so had put on my shorts for today since it was still early and with rain still hanging about from yesterday I expected to get wet from the undergrowth going up the path. Path! Realistically its a small river with path-y bits appearing now and again at the side. And of course you would expect our Scottish visitors to be showing their presence and I was not disappointed: clegs and midges abounded. The lateral forest track is quick to appear but then its more river and forest for a wee while.
Because it goes straight up the side of the hill, you do get some great views back as you go up and eventually I got to Creag an Fhithich after trying out some of the boggy wet bits. Stopped for tea and a biscuit and had a chat with a chap from France - his English was excellent. He headed off before me while I savoured the last of my earl grey (no point in slumming it!)
More wet stuff and then a path that pretty much takes you to the top but not before it takes you up and through some interesting rocky bits and the chance for some route finding! Although its fairly steep all the way up, and even with the cloud whisking on and off the summits around me, it was a pleasant walk and soon I got my first glimpse of the Spearhead. The very name of this rocky buttress is enough to strike fear into the heart. I decided to put my solitary walking pole away as I headed up towards the Spearhead: I know from experience its more hassle than its worth when you need to get hands on and in scrambling mode.
Seriously it was the best bit of the day. I was also glad I didn't bring Sparky the dog as it was one less thing to manage! Disappointingly, it was over in a minute or two and I almost wanted to go back down and do it again. Instead I clambered up on to it and took a selfie. Sun came out. Sun went away again.
Met two guys at the summit and we had a great chat about dogs and gadgets for using on the hill.
After taking the obligatory pic of the trig, and of the prevailing clag all around me and then headed off towards Beinn Ime, not particularly looking forward to the wet and boggy bits. Tiny boulder field to cross first and until you actually get to the bealach its a fairly dry path. When I reached the bealach, I decided just to ignore what passed as a path and went "native" across the grass.
I had worked out (visually) that it was about 2k to the top of Ime and with approximately 400m to go up, it was going to take me about an hour and quarter so I set off at about quarter past 1 and with necessary heart and lung breaks, made good progress up through the wettest hillside I have ever seen: Geal-charn at Drumochter couldnt hold a candle to this one! You'd need boats to get up rather than boots.
I met an oldish guy by his accent he sounded as if he was from overseas after about half an hour who told me I had still an hour to go to the top ( he was walking VERY slowly) and with a cheery comment I sped on upwards. After I passed between two crags at about 5 past two, it SEEMED like I was quite close to the top. More water and on I went. 10 minutes later I was at the top. Sitting on the edge of the shelter I was pretty sure that I was technically higher than the top of the cairn....
Once I got my second lunch sorted I stretched out inside the cairn shelter munched on my pieces, sipped my tea and shut my eyes for a few minutes. All around was cloud and a perfect silence (apart from the chewing): absolute bliss.
As I was making good time, I figured I'd be back at the car by half four and set off downhill, once again ignoring the very wet path and choosing instead to fire through the very wet grass but at least there was some purchase for my boats.
Once through the gate and onto the path over towards the Cobbler and although I probably had time to do it today, I had said I would be home by 6.30 and with no phone reception, on balance thought it better to leave that for another day.
Although a path between Beinn Ime and Ben Arthur is shown on the map its pretty much just muddy trodden down grass for large parts of the way but before long its on to the good path from the back of the Cobbler down to the road and it feels like a long way (it really is only 5k) after a full day and the worst part are the interminable zig zags down through the forest.
It was a busy bit of the day - sort of like the "tourist" path at Ben Lomond - relatively hordes heading back down and a few brave souls still heading up. I was glad to outwalk most of them and maintain some kind of solitaryness for the last hour back. Back at the car by 16.40.
Watch for the wee shortcuts scattered throughout the zigzags that miss out the big bends though - I missed them!
Unfortunately these are my last two munros for a few weeks as I'm going in for wee op and rumour has it I wont be walking (strenuously) for a few weeks. We'll see about that however: I've had to postpone my big 10 munro weekend because of it but with a fair wind and a quick recovery that should just about be possible to reschedule for end of August.
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