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How far would you go for a purple Quality Street?
by Jaywizz » Mon May 18, 2015 9:04 pm
Munros included on this walk: Creag nan Damh
Date walked: 16/05/2015
Time taken: 5.25 hours
Distance: 9.5 km
Ascent: 826m6 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).
The weather wasn't good (cloudy, rain showers, gusty wind, fleeting blue patches), the forecast wasn't good (heavy rain, hail or snow showers, strong gusty winds, brief sunny spells), so we decided we would be 'sensible'. ie. Set off, but always be prepared to stop and turn back if conditions deteriorated. We parked at the battle sign and then lost a couple of minutes making our way to the stalker's path (hadn't read bootsandpaddles account so didn't walk to the bridge and the easy drop under the crash barrier!)
The path by the forest was extremely wet; the A-frame stile over the deer fence is misleading - much easier to duck under the wires on the right and then up across more very wet ground to the large gap in the deer fence and on to the stalker's path. Even here, streams were running down the path, although the going was fine - if wet. As with many walkers before us, we opted not to cross the bridge - and then re-cross the stream - but to stay on the west bank. Looking ahead to the waterfall, we noticed the zig-zag path up the slope ahead, but, on the map, the stalker's path soon ended and not wishing to be drawn up the rocky slope to the right, we opted to follow the grassy (and steep) east bank. However, as we got higher, it was obvious we should have followed the zig-zags and then crossed immediately below the waterfall.
Fleetingly a strong gust of wind blew the entire waterfall upwards, quite spectacular!
To avoid the worst of the strong west wind we had opted to stay in the valley for as long as possible, sheltered below the ridge above Am Fraoch-choire, before climbing the last push to the summit along the north-east ridge. On the main ridge far ahead, we watched two figures walking east from the summit then dropping down from the col into the valley behind us.
As the slope steepened, there are a couple of deep gullies to be avoided, and we came to the first of the large snow patches, sadly too soft for me to get out my granny spikes (still new and unworn) but they would have been so necessary if the temperature had dropped below freezing the previous night. Then it was out on to the rocky ridge above Am Fraoch-choire and a well-trodden route, if snow-covered in patches. At one point I was briefly flattened towards the ground by a strong gust of wind, just grateful to be able to hold on to the rocks.
Just time to take in the spectacular views - west to the Saddle and the Forcan Ridge, north to the Five Sisters, east to Sgurr Beag and Sgurr an Lochain on the south Glen Shiel ridge, then further south to Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach - even more dramatic with dark clouds and snow showers sweeping across. Time to get out the big purple Quality Street, a quick photo, but not a place to linger in those conditions.
Our descent was by the same route, although it was now considerably wetter - and slippery - on the hail-covered steep grassy slopes. We were subjected to a most painful shower of hail, larger 'stones' than usual, and, a little later, a snow shower. It wasn't until we had got back to just above the waterfall that we celebrated by eating a couple of Quality Street. Then down the zig-zags and back along the stalker's path.
Even wetter than before, I managed to keep upright until the final grassy slope near the forest when my feet just shot out from under me. Fortunately a very soft, if extremely wet, landing. The rain, which had stayed off long enough for our waterproofs to dry, now soaked us just before we got back to the car - but then conveniently stopped just before we opened the car doors and 'debooted'.
A brilliant walk - I loved it.
So, the story about the Quality Street. Big purple ones had become my favourite celebration on a summit, so, when one Christmas, I was given a HUGE purple one, I vowed not to open it until I was back on a Munro. Time passes; one knee replacement, 29 Sub 2K's, five Donalds and six Grahams later (all over ten months) and I was back on a Munro. The huge purple Quality Street may have been months past its 'best before' date - but the contents tasted just wonderful.
I could easily do an Oscar speech now - thank you to my parents for introducing me to hills and wild spaces, to special friends who have encouraged me and taken so may photos, to the WH website and contributors whose accounts kept me going, especially through the first three post-operative months, to my surgeon - and to my husband for his support, tolerance and patience. This account is for all of you.
It's also for any walker - if you're young, please look after your knees, and if you're 'older' and a little creaky, then yes, there can still be so much enjoyment on hills in the future.
by Silverhill » Mon May 18, 2015 10:27 pm
by Mal Grey » Tue May 19, 2015 9:50 am
For some reason, one winter, two of us slogged straight up the NE ridge in waist deep snow. Utterly exhausting, and took us hours. We then descended to the Bealach to the east and back down the valley, where only an emergency "parachute" roll saved me from a dunking in a hidden stream when I broke through the snow. Smug at remaining dry, we descended into the valley, where snow became heavy rain. A hundred yards from the car, with head down and hood fastened tight, I walked straight into a road sign at full march, ending up flat on my back on the verge in a proper cartoon comedy moment. I can still hear the "clang" now as I remember it.
by SAVAGEALICE » Tue May 19, 2015 3:40 pm
by Jaywizz » Tue May 19, 2015 5:08 pm
by scottishkennyg » Tue May 19, 2015 8:37 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Tue May 19, 2015 9:21 pm
I know what you mean about the inspiration on this site - even when I can't get out myself I find it hard not the sneak back here and see what others have been up to and make plans for the future
by Torridon_snails » Tue May 19, 2015 10:14 pm
All the best,
Daniel and Clare (Torridon_snails)