After months of inactivity I decided to pick up my walking boots and get out of the city. I decided I wanted to climb or at least attempt another Munro so decided Beinn Eunaich in Argyll would be the target. As I drove closer, the looming peaks of what must have been Beinn a'Chochuill & Stob Diamh came into view and the idea of scaling one of these peaks seemed all the more unrealistic given my current fitness level. Regardless, I parked up in the layby to the entrance of the farm at the base of Beinn Eunaich and started the long walk up the well worn path up the West side of the mountain. After half an hour I was knackered, and made peace with the fact I wouldn't make it to the top and decided if anything this will be a good chance to recce the area for a future climb when i'm not so out of shape. I remembered that the first hour was the worst so took a seat on an oddly comfortable rock as a jeep drove past on their way up the path. A white landrover with a couple guys in boiler suits waved as they went past. I waved back, trying not to look too out of breath (we've all done that right? then back to panting once they past.lol) As I sat, and got my energy back, I looked up the steep embankment in front of me. I had 2 choices, continue up the path and enjoy a scenic walk. Or go for it and at least attempt to climb this sucker. I opted for the latter and after a few minutes, left the comfort of the path and scaled, hand and foot up the steep side. After what felt like a hundred breaks I made it to a lip that I was aiming for and decided enough was enough. I put my rucksack down to use as a pillow and lay down for a good 15/20 mins.
As I lay there I looked out over the valley before me and just knew that no matter how crap I felt, this was where I wanted to be, where I had been thinking about all week sitting at my desk at work. This thought, and the well needed break revitalised me and I decided, I may not make it to the top, but i'm going to see how far my legs will take me. I kept aiming for rocks to reach, knowing a quick seat and a drink of water awaits me at every pitstop kept me going. Eventually I got just shy of the 600m mark and the ground started to level out a bit, which was a godsend for the legs and I was able to get my breath back without the constant breaks. I continued on up, and the thoughts of self doubt eventually turned to motivation with the idea that I might actually be able to reach the top. The next couple hundred meters where difficult but nowhere near as the initial sections. I continued from one break to the other with every stop looking back at the distance I had made. I whipped out the gps and was amazed to find I was now just over the 700 meter mark!
I decided there was nothing to stop me now. My sights were set on reaching the top. That'll show my doubting self that I didn't have what it takes! I decided to take a photo at this point. Not sure why but picture taking was the last thing on my mind today.
After snapping one panoramic, my crappy iphone died
As I took in the view I was sure I could hear whistling and shouting far off in the distance. I thought it either going to be farmers herding animals, or someone's fallen down a ravine and it will be up to me to save them.
I was so close to the top I could see the peak shrouded in cloud. I had made it! I thought it would be impossible when I started the trek. Next Munro I attempt I'll need to make sure I get my fitness level up before hand to make the experience a bit more enjoyable.
The long decent began. I assumed it would take as long to get down as it did to get up. But after only an hour or so later I was back at the start of the steep decent (don't think I took a single break on the way back). Looking down the slope I took a couple mins out to decide the best way to tackle it, I picked out a route that I felt had the least rocks and started to try and zig zag down. Some sections where so steep I was only able to slide down as only a mountain goat would have been able to manage without slipping.
Halfway down the slope I tried not to look a right eejit as a land rover cruised by on the path below. The whistling and shouting confirmed to just be sheepherders, so crisis averted. I finally made it to the path just as my legs turned completely to jelly. I wasted no time as I just wanted to get back to the main road and to the awaiting escape vehicle. Halfway down the path I ran into one of the farmers who was herding from the high path line as her compadres flanked the sheep in the valley below. She offered to drive me down the path a few meters as she was heading down anyway so I gladly accepted, was probably only around 20 or so meters but any break for the legs was welcome. Before I knew it I was back at the double fence and while back on flat land I looked back to see what I had managed to conquer. One more blue pin, and an exhilarating day out for me!
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.