Thank goodness for the healing powers of Glen Affric in the sunshine because at times this was an extremely stressful walk
Initial walk in via Glen Leachavie saw me nearly turn back because of the thunder and lightning raging above me. The climb up onto the ridge (I lost the path in the bog) had me ditching my poles and resorting to a lot of grass tugging- no one wants to admit to being a grass tugger, its up there with pillow biter and saddle snurgger
So pleased to eventually meet the excellent path on the ridge and to see Mam Sodhail about 200 metres away. The viz was zero and after a quick crappy photo it was off the Carn Eige. Headed down a pretty good path for about 500 metres and the clag cleared to reveal a rather tasty ridge on my left hand side, oh ffs I was heading towards Sgurr na Lapaich!!! Jeezo a quick turnaround and head back to Mam Sodhail but not before clocking a much easier descent to my inward path- no need to descend via the grass slopes from hell.
So it was hello to MS again and off to Carn Eige. A path for people with very narrow feet was very easy to follow all the way to the summit and when the clag cleared Beinn Fhionnlaidh was giving me a cheery wave. With the weather looking very scary all around I decided to wait until I had summited CE and then choose whether or not to carry on to BF. I was mentally dialling Angus the Boatman's number and estimating how much he would charge to drop me off and then pick me up
As the photo shows CE was pretty clear and off to BF I trotted. All along the way I had been updating Gammy and Jonny with my progress. About halfway up BF I sent a text to say 'nearly at 3rd summit' that was 11.45. Once I got there I had a good wee look down Loch Mullardoch, changed my socks and had my first bit of food since breakfast. I think this was the very indicator about how anxious I was out in those conditions. I really didn't have any appetite! As I left the summit I checked the time and it was 13.10- jings had it nearly been an hour and a half since I sent that last text???
Anyway 3 hills were in the bag, I just needed to get back down. I had intended skirting round CE completely but I couldn't find a path at all and the visibility was getting worse with the rain hammering down. I decided that I would feel a lot happier up on the ridge and pick up my outward path between MS and CE. It was such a slog up to the ridge and I could feel despair setting in. I usually enjoy a good old swear at times like this but it was a rather pathetic motivational talk I gave myself and I did have a few 'I don't care if I never compleat, I'm not doing any more hill climbing' Needless to say it was with great relief that I found the path and I was to once again be ascending MS. I confess to blowing it a kiss, I was so happy to see my old friend yet again- 3 times in one day- people will talk!!
And so I headed down the ridge to Sgurr na Lapaich, intentionally this time, and once I reached the lowest point I cut down towards my inward path in the glen. The sun came out, so it was jacket off, sleeves up and a packet of Thai Sweet Chilli crisps to munch back down to the loch. This truly was my favourite time of the day, Glen Affric is my idea of Heaven and there was some serious coveting going on as I passed the almost finished new house next to the lodge. Before I knew it I could see my wee white car through the trees in the carpark- yippee! It was a delight to have the lovely clean toilets to get washed and changed in- I was so happy and relaxed. The walk took me an hour longer than I expected but I wasn't surprised given the amount of errors I made. But no... when I looked at the clock in the car it was only 1645 which meant I had got back at 1630, not 1730 like it said on my phone. I can only assume that somehow on my ascent of BF my phone leapt forward an hour??? Either way I was an even happier bunny driving home, the horrors of hills left firmly behind.
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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.