After my first five Munros I seem to have got the bug so at the next opportunity whilst staying in the highlands with my family I dragged my father up another three. I think he got a bit more than he bargained for as it took us a good few hours longer than the route guide suggested it would, and he ended up stuck in a hole in a bog at one point.
The weather was a pretty much perfect example of how Scotland can experience all four seasons in one day. We alternated between glorious sunshine with views for miles, and trudging along head down into driving sleet.
Whilst it is true to say that these Munros look fairly dull and rounded from the start, they do get better as you go on, the final stretch up to Carn Dearg is particularly impressive, a great big sweeping wall of rock which you walk along the edge of. Also there was plenty of wildlife, from dozens of tiny frogs and the ubiquitous sheep to red deer and a flock of possibly dotterel?
The walk itself is fairly long but easy to navigate (if you stick to the route). The ascent to A'Chailleach follows a burn along to a footbridge that we completely failed to find but it is fairly easy to cross via rocks (even with short legs like mine!) or to wade through if you trust your boots are waterproof enough. Then it is up a reasonably steep slope following the line of some more streams. At a small hut we started to turn more north and it quickly becomes obvious where you should be heading.
A quick stop for lunch at the summit of A'Chailleach plus a chat with a fellow walker and then we were on our way again. Carn Sgulain can be seen easily from A'Chailleach (provided the weather is clear) it is only a short distance away but requires a reasonable descent and re-ascent. We managed to overshoot the top to the east but found it in the end.
From there on most of the rest of the route involves following fence posts around various smaller tops along a ridge which curves around from Carn Sgulain to Carn Dearg. The easy navigation was appreciated here as at this point the sleet and fog rolled in (well it wouldn't be a Munro without them )
By the time we reached Carn Ban, the last of the smaller tops, we were both pretty tired and thus wasted a fair amount of time trying to find a way to avoid descending too much before re-ascending to Carn Dearg. In the end this didn't gain us much; there is an obvious saddle which we eventually crossed. The ascent turned out to be fairly short and the weather had cleared up enough to give us some great views making a fittingly triumphant final peak of the day.
At this point we made our biggest mistake of the day. After consulting the map and considering the route guide we decided to take an alternative route down which looked less steep. An hour later we had travelled less than a kilometre through thick heather and bog and had found no sign of the path we were heading for. At this point as the sun was getting lower we were beginning to get a tad worried but eventually we stumbled across something vaguely resembling a path/slightly less impassable bit of ground and progress started to pick up.
Later after the sun had well and truly set we caught sight of my mother's headlights far in the distance as she drove to come and pick us up from the end of the walk. Rejuvenated by the sight we sped over the last few kilometres eventually finishing a mere four hours later than our planned time , then it was off to the pub for some well earned refreshment
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