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A better day at the office

A better day at the office

Postby Benaden887 » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:39 pm

Fionas included on this walk: Meall Mór (Glencoe), Sgòrr a' Choise

Date walked: 20/03/2018

Time taken: 7.2 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1075m

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Better day at the office ? 14.5km 1085m 6.20h 20/03/2018

Early start with a return to the Ballahulish cp. Again I`m heading up Gleann an Fhiodh, for the Graham pairing of Sgorr a Choise and Meall Mor. It’s a cold –1 and icy underfoot. I gear up and this time take crampons with poles instead of the axe. From the bridge over the Laroch river, the flow looks normal, so should give easy crossing further upstream. Pass a school, farm and gates for a field with sheep, the ground is rock hard. Ahead a trio of climbers doing when asked the Schoolhouse ridge on the slopes of Beinn a Bheither. I smile and wish them well. There is little snow my side of the river so have a quick passage up the glen, but note plenty higher up where I`m going. Mor`s, tree covered lower slopes run up to the col between it and Choise. A cold wind but a cloudless sky I can see both tops. Happier I walk until view a large cairn then cut down to the river and cross. Easy climbing over white grass, then wend my way thro thick heathery clumps to reach the ridge. The sound of machinery fills the air, a treecutter/striper/ stacker is hard at work on the trees of Glen Creran, chewing up this section of the forest. Takes 25sec to fell strip cut and stack in a lightning process. The driver pauses and we wave to each other. The noise follows me up the ridge, I come across my earlier footprints in the snow, here for all to see, until they melt. So on and climb slowly in a cold wind to the top of Sgorr a`Choise. Here I sit on my mat, munch a roll then drink. Three months since I was last here, the cairn seems somewhat larger now. Great views of the surrounding hills, but time to go. Banks of hard snow drop to the glen below, I`ll find the melted snow has turned into wee globbules of ice and become gye slippy. Down two steep sections cross a ladder gate on a deer fence for the bealach. For here, it`s a long 300m climb towards the crags of Meall Mor. Should be easy but it takes me forever. Cramp in both quads. I drink, walk back downhill with little effect then on reaching another snow patch, shuck my pants and pack both legs with ice. Seems to do the trick and ten minutes later I`m moving freely again. Past a frozen lochan and a wee rise for the cairn of Meall Mor. This being no 2 of 3.
A walk out to the viewpoint shows the whole reason why we walk the hills. I`m glad I persevered. Return and round the bowl of coire and drift from the magic of Glencoe to overlook my inward route once more. A distant Radio mast N is my final climb. There has been much forestry clearing here with a new track linking both glens, would give easier access if only doing this top. My descent steepen so on with the crampons and a steady if sore drop to the fence. I angle down NW towards a gate in the deer fence and see to my R a standing stag, his rear leg R outstretched. At first I thought it a gag but as I drew nearer saw that the beast had been caught on the wire. I drop the sac take out my gloves then walk towards the deer to better view the problem. It became agitated tossing antlers in my direction. Closer I saw what was wrong.
The fence has a high twinned wire setup to prevent it sagging. The stag had jumped the fence snagging a rear leg between both wires then flipped the top wire below the lower wire. So was truly caught.
When it allowed me near, I pulled on the trapped leg to free it but to no avail. Trying to widen the gap between the wires I manage to break a pole, bend my knife and had I my axe couldha maybe freed the deer. But what then ifn it couldn`t walk. I certainly couldn`t kill it So catch 22. After nearly an a hour I gave up, rubbed its brow in farewell and headed down an up to the mast then with the fence L back to the cp. People I met offered no solution other than It wud likely dee ony way.
The way home was swift with little traffic until the M8. I trolled Google with nae luck, emailed forestry then went onto facebook a gained a result from a good friend.
So next time carry a hacksaw blade.

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Re: A better day at the office

Postby Mal Grey » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:15 am

A very vivid description.

So sad that the stag was trapped. Well done for trying so hard to release it, I don't see what else you could have done, and many would have been too nervous of him to try and get close enough to help.
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Mal Grey
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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