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My first Munro

My first Munro

Postby Dr_sue » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:32 pm

Route description: Schiehallion

Munros included on this walk: Schiehallion

Date walked: 02/11/2018

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 731m

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This was harder than I expected but afterwards, so pleased with myself for doing it. Easy to find, car parking (and toilets!) and a friendly robin, plus gorgeous clear sunshine and a good path- to start. Once the ascent starts the path is still good, rocky in parts which my knees complained at a bit after the steep ascent day before, but the views and the quiet just pulled me along. Couple of walkers came down, encouraging, plus I thought I could see the summit so felt confident I could get up and back, especially with such clear light. This all changed as I got higher and by the time I reached the big cairn, the weather had closed in, and it was much colder and I realised the summit was much further and higher. I couldn’t see an onward path across the boulders so found recent boot prints in the icy snow between rocks and followed those upwards. Got a bit close to the edge on my left for my liking but kept going up, in those footsteps, and felt the first flurry of snow across my face. Summit seemed to be further away and going over those boulders was hard, and slipped a few times. Kept going though it felt hard and still not sure I could find the actual summit as the cloud had come right in, as well as a cold wind with plenty of snow whirling around. Still slippy and uneven underfoot but plodded on. Thought I’d reached the summit but could see it a bit ahead across a short ridge so went over and the cloud lifted in time to take a short video of the 360’ view. Delighted to have made it and a couple of walkers arrived up so we could take photos for each other. Very cold so no stopping for tea or sandwich, just a quick cake bar as I picked my way off the top. Followed some boot prints at first but then lost sight of them on the rocks and went too far to my right and realised I’d dropped down below the shoulder and was in among some serious craggy boulders. Decided it was quicker to climb up (feeling a bit worried) so scrambled and stretched till I got my head up to the top, and was relieved to see the earlier couple through the cloud. They waited till I was back up on the more level part and I was able to follow them down, much to my relief on that bouldery icy section. We stayed to our left (away from the craggy drop to the right where I’d found myself) and I realised there was a faint path and several cairns on this side, eventually bringing me back to the big cairn. If on the way up, I’d headed up to the right from this point, I think it would have made that part of the ascent a bit easier- hindsight is great! Lots of mountain hare and bird footprints along by here and scared up a couple of ptarmigan as I passed. Meanwhile, kept the walkers in sight and of course, the path became clearer heading down through the cloud and out of the snow. Magnificent views compensated for my aching knees (passing some walkers on their way up, although it seemed late in the day to me, as sunset was just an hour and half away) and of course, got warm and took off the extra layers for the last section. Heard, then saw a wren very close up towards the end, and felt pretty proud looking back at the mountain, my first Munro.
What I learnt from this first one: take walking poles even if it starts on an easy path. And maybe get a Munro pal, for those moments of doubt when you can’t see a path and the weather is against you.
Looking smug at summit of Schiehallion
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Re: My first Munro

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:30 pm

Well done! I was there a few weeks ago and had a similar experience of climbing up through cloud, but then getting some great views from the top - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=84983

The next day I did Ben Chonzie which I would very much recommend. Good path, great views and a LOT less stones than Schiehallion - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=84988

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Re: My first Munro

Postby Sgurr » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:40 pm

Do you have a mobile phone? If so you can download an easy app to give grid references (I got it after someone asked for an app that school kids could use). It is just called Grid Reference in the app store, so at least you know how near to the summit you are.

Good for you for persevering in an unfamiliar environment. You followed the advice of a US friend of ours which was "If lost, go back to the top and wait for someone to come." Worked in his case in the pouring rain, but we were rather alarmed he didn't know how to get himself back home as he always seemed so competent, and is FAR fitter than us. We thought he could have waited for ever, but Schielhallion is always popular.
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Re: My first Munro

Postby Coop » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:27 pm

Well done. :clap: Looks like you had a few good views as well.

Welcome to the world of false summits. :D You'll get used to them and you'll soon know/ realise how far you have to go to reach a summit. ( whether it be from a map/ GPS or smartphone - hopefully a combination of more than one of these)

Enjoy your travels and may the views be with you
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Re: My first Munro

Postby jmarkb » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:19 pm

Good effort for getting out and doing your first Munro in less than ideal conditions: I hope it will be the first of many!

I would strongly recommend going on a one-day navigation course, which will equip you with the skills to use a map and compass, to avoid navigational mishaps like that and be safe and self-reliant in the hills.
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Re: My first Munro

Postby kevsbald » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:45 pm

Loads of Munro pals on here. Well done. Take care out there especially over Winter. Happy to help you out on any future trips.
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Re: My first Munro

Postby Graeme D » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:54 pm

Join the club! My first Munro too, many moons ago now! :lol: :clap:
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Re: My first Munro

Postby mamoset » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:18 pm

Well done you :clap: You've obviously got the adventure in you after that hill being your first choice. Welcome to fun :wink:
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