Putting this entry together has not turned out as it had been planned.
This was an outing of significant importance and a lot of thought had gone into the report that would follow.
For the most part, the day's plans couldn't really have gone much better; but a schoolboy error on my part has had a major impact on my ability to record the day's events in a manner befitting the incredible achievement attained.
Apart from the schoolboy error, the report is written from the position of an immensely proud daddy.
Let's deal with the schoolboy error first:-
On the way to the summit, I managed to drop my camera when undoing my pack to get out some essential supplies.
This means that my report is lacking all the essential pictures that would normally be attached, and the all-important "summit shot" remains as a fixed memory in my head that I alone will be able to cherish for the rest of my days. My apologies to all my friends and family who read this report; I would have loved nothing more than to share the memories with you.
The immensely proud daddy stuff:-
I have a Son, his name is Chase...
Chase is smart, determined & good looking... (determined like daddy, all 3 like mummy)
Chase is fit & healthy and he certainly knows what he wants...
Chase is kind & considerate and likes to share whatever he has...
For weeks and weeks Chase has been asking me, "Are we going to climb a mountain, daddy?"
Chase has never climbed any hill of any appreciable height...
Well, on Saturday 22nd May 2010, Chase attempted his 1st Munro, accompanied by his Uncle Stu & Me (his daddy)...
Not only did Chase attempt, but he carried himself from the Braes of Foss carpark to the summit under his own steam.
At no point did Chase want to quit, at no point did he ask me to carry him part of the way.
He just kept putting one foot in front of the other and steadily made his way up the hillside.
Whenever I did offer to carry him, to give his legs a rest, he quite clearly told me that he wanted to walk by himself.
After leaving the relative ease of the foot path, Chase needed only minimal assistance across the boulder fields, but this was only to help him with his balance across some of the bigger boulders. He remained unfazed by the challenge and I’m sure he was enjoying himself more and more as the boulders increased in both size and difficulty.
Chase, my amazing little boy, is only 3 Years Old !
This report contains no advice about route or conditions; If that's what you're looking for, then i'm sorry, this is the wrong report for you.
There are plenty of excellent reports on this website, filled with all that sort of stuff.
This report is all about my little Munro Bagger and not much else.
The Report Proper:-
I had taken the Friday off work, so Chase & I travelled up on the train from York to Glasgow.
(I had considered taking Chase with me when on my previous trip to Beinn na Lap a couple of weeks earlier, but with the weather forecast and the time restrictions of the trains to & from Corrour, I had left him with his Grandparents in Glasgow.)
There would be no leaving "Junior" behind today. My younger brother, Stuart, had kindly agreed to join us for the day, providing another Sherpa for Chase's stuff and the very much appreciated transportation.
We set off from Glasgow just before 0900 and without boring everyone with the journey, we arrived at the Braes of Foss car park a little after 1140. We got our stuff together in our packs, a toilet break at the carpark and plenty of Factor 50 plastered all over Chase, we set off for the path at 1200.
I had wanted to mark this special day in a fun way for Chase. My pack contained 50 Cadbury’s Fudge Bars and 50 Leaflets for Walkhighlands which we planned to give out to anyone who stopped to talk to us as we made our way to the summit. We decided, as we started off on the path, to give them out to those making their way back down the hill, once we had established that they had made it to the summit.
Chase Gilmour was a very popular boy on Shiehallion. So, as Uncle Stu & I hauled everything up the hill, Chase scampered his way up in his boots, shorts & Superman T-shirt, handing out free sweeties to the baggers of Shiehallion.
As always, the walkers we met were friendly, chatty and suitably impressed with Chase's efforts. I think they were more impressed with his generosity, to be honest.
If you're reading this and feeling a little jealous, all I can say is that it was advertised beforehand........
So, here's a quick mention to all those we stopped and chatted to, which is also my defence to anyone who wants to accuse me of eating 50 bars of fudge in one day.
Kevin & Stevie
David & Diane
Craig & Mark
Gillian, Louise, Pam, Scotty & Ted
Graham & Tess
Kenny & Murray
Sarah & Richard
Alistair & Margaret
Kevin & Marianne
Pamela & Peter
Philip, Richard & Geoff "Geoff found my camera so extra waves to him"
Mike & Julia
Derek & Liz
Tim & Nathan
Lester & Ruth
Ross & Connie
Alex & Lindsay
Thanks You All for being part of my little boys first Munro, and I hope you all enjoyed the little boost of energy to help you down the hill. We handed out a good number of walkhighlands leaflets as well, which Paul Webster had kindly sent on to me earlier. A few people had heard of & used the site, without being registered, but the majority of people taking a leaflet were unaware of it. All promised to take a look, and were interested in the facilities available.
I was very pleased to see that not a single wrapper had been dropped along the path. The JMT might have been after me if everyone hadn't all be so conscientious about their litter management.
(Paul, you'll need to monitor the new members to see if this idea was a winner, but everyone thought it was a nice idea to spread the idea of the site in such a novel way. A great conversation starter. The only issue is the potential for people littering the hills with your flyers, giving you some grief I would imagine. As with empty fudge wrappers, no discarded leaflets were visible on the way back down the hill.)
And for the mathematicians out there, we only gave out 41 of the 50 bars we were carrying.
The 9 remaining bars were consumed as follows.
Chase 3 (who's gonna begrudge a 3 year old a fudge bar)
Uncle Stu 1 (we was wilting with the heat)
Daddy 3 (I was carrying 50 fudge bars up a mountain, so don't even start on me.....)
The remaining 2 went to Chase on the way home, I think he deserved them...
Back to the Report:-
When we got to the top of the path and started to make our way across the boulder field, we found we needed to stop to replenish Chase's fudge supplies.
(I was carrying most of the bars, putting 10 at a time into Chase's Little Life Backpack to give out as he needed them.) This is where the schoolboy error occurred and when taking my pack off to get more out the bag, my camera must have slipped off my waist belt. About 10 minutes after passing the large cairn at the start of the boulder field I realised my camera had gone. Uncle Stu had gone a fair way ahead; Chase & I were taking our time and enjoying the day. We had to continue for a further 10 minutes until Uncle Stu could hear me screaming at him to get his backside back down to where we were.
I had a plan. Not the best of plans, as it turned out; but I had a plan.
Uncle Stu re-joined us and I asked him stay with Chase while I tried to find the camera. No problem, they stopped for lunch while I went searching. I needed a summit picture with my boy. There was no 2 ways about it.
Bounding down the hill like a madman, I was quickly asked.....
"You're not looking for a camera, are you?"
"Yes, I Am."
"Oh, we don't have it but a guy found it and is taking back down the carpark. He said he was going to leave it at the pay machine. He just passed us about 5 minutes ago."
Right, 5 minutes. If I run flat out, I should get to them in 10 minutes or so. Double the time running back up, that'll be about 30 minutes. Worth a try, I do not want to miss the pictures at the summit.
So, off I went. Running down a hill in walking boots is never fun; doing it in 20 degree heat is another thing entirely. I must have looked like a man possessed (which I was, I guess) as I thundered down the hill trying to retrieve my camera. I reached a group of 2 - no camera. They pointed to another group but they were so far down the hill, I’d have never had made it back up. I was beat. The camera was gone. The camera itself was not the issue, I was confident the camera would be recovered later on. It was the not getting the pictures at the summit that was the upsetting me.
It was a tough hike back up the hill. Feeling totally drained and thoroughly dejected, I tried my best to get my head straight. I went from my day being ruined to realising that this really was Chase's Day.
He didn't know any different, and he was having a blast. He was dishing out sweeties and climbing over boulders bigger than he was. I wasn't going to ruin his fun.
I got back to Chase & Uncle Stu just as they were finishing their lunch. He was as happy as ever and the missing camera wasn't upsetting him one bit. I put the issue to the back of mind and just got ready to finish the climb. We had great fun working our way over the boulders, Uncle Stu took off on his own, he was struggling with the heat and wanted to get to the top so he could sit down, I think. Again, I asked Chase if he wanted my help, but he was having none of it. Boulder after boulder he made his way up through the cracks and ridges, until he reached the summit minutes before 1600. There was a group of about 10 people at the summit when he was making his final steps. They all climbed down to give him the summit to himself and gave him a well-deserved round of applause when he stood alone on the highest point. Proud daddy was close to tears.
We sat around for about 20 minutes. Chase devoured a packet of Giant Chocolate Buttons (Uncle Stu & daddy helped) and then I through him in the air to celebrate. (I hope mummy doesn't read this bit)
Watching my little boy systematically take himself the entire distance to the summit was one of the best days I have ever had and I was so gutted not to have had a picture of us all together at the top.
Anyway, a great experience and the best day on the hills I have ever had.
I know it's going to be a very difficult one to match.
We made our way down, without nothing much to report. Chase was happy to take a seat on daddy's shoulders over the top boulder field but he wanted to walk out over the lower one. When we reached the footpath, he was starting to get tired, so again daddy's shoulders became the position of choice. My shoulders were happy to oblige but my knees took a lot of punishment with the additional weight of the Gilmour Family's newest Munro Bagger pushing down on them.
We got back down to the car park just before 1830. Our official times are as follows:
Ascent Walk Time: 3 Hours - 30 Minutes
Ascent Rest Time: 30 Minutes
Total Ascent Time: 4 Hours
Total Descent Time: 2 Hours - 30 Minutes
Total Time : 6 Hours - 30 Minutes. Not bad for your first Munro at only 3.
NB. I must give a special mention to the Geoff Craig, from Edinburgh, who very kindly left his details at the car park after finding my camera. Geoff has promised to post my camera on to me, for which I am truly thankful.
This report was previously written under an old WH Username (MG1976). Pictures below are of comments posted against original thread, which I wanted to keep as a memory for Chase to look back on.
The pictures kindly provided by Alex & Lindsay
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