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Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)


Postby weaselmaster » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:20 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Ainshval, Askival, Beinn Mhic Cedidh, Streap

Grahams included on this walk: Trallval

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Mullach Mor (Rum), Orval (Rum), Sgurr na Dubh-chreige

Date walked: 22/04/2019

Time taken: 30 hours

Distance: 69.4 km

Ascent: 5854m

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A Bank Holiday weekend, with a good weather forecast - what next? Rùm was high on my agenda, the lure of the west coast glamour hills has been getting to me in recent weeks, and fortunately there are lots of them remaining to climb. All that remained was to try and decide which day/s to be on Rùm. We could go across at midday on Friday and return Saturday evening; or early morning Saturday and return on Sunday...by the time Thursday morning had come around the forecast had changed, suggesting a fine day on Friday, but the weather breaking on Saturday. That constrained my choices somewhat - I opted to go across on the Friday lunchtime crossing, aim to get the ridge traverse done on Friday and saunter back over the Marilyns on Saturday. Last time we'd done these Corbetts - with big packs, in bad weather - it had taken around 5 and a half hours to get from Kinloch to Ainshval. That had been with an early Saturday start - would there be enough daylight time to get the traverse done and get across to Harris Bay, where we hoped to camp with a two pm start?

We traveled up on Thursday evening, camping at the Sands of Morar, which is clearly a popular spot for tents. Passed a large wildfire on the hillside between Arasaig and Morar, with several fire engines involved. A quiet night otherwise, sun bright when we rose. As the ferry didn't leave til 12.30, I reckoned there was plenty time for a wee hill...and an eminently suitable little hill presented itself just up the road - the 197m Marilyn of Sgurr na Dubh Chreige just to the east of Morar. There were another two Marilyns just to the north, but that would have been a more involved walk, and we would still have the Rùm Cuillin traverse to do later in the day. So the short route up the little hill it was.


dubhchreig.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We parked at a small jetty, where a trail leads up by the Allt na Loin. A bit boggy, even with all the dry weather. We left the track after a bit and headed up onto the hillside. This must be the smallest Marilyn we've climbed, the top being reached fairly quickly. A sea haar prevented us getting much of a view from the top, and the smoke from the wildfire, still burning to the south of us was drifting up from Loch Morar. The descent was a little more problematic - we should have returned by the ascent route, rather than finding ourselves entwined in a rhododendron jungle. Not the easiest thing to extricate yourself from.

ImageP4190190 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Dubh Chreige
ImageP4190191 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190192 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190195 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190196 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190198 by Al, on Flickr


We drove up to Malaig with plenty of time to spare, prepared the big rucksacks for their first proper outing of the year and set off from the busy parking area to the Calmac building. We had a couple of hours to wait before the boat, so we sat in the sun and people watched. We saw a trio of walkers that looked familiar - A thought we'd seen them in Choire a'Ghrunnda last year, so we ended up talking to them for a bit - they were staying in the bunkhouse on Rùm over the weekend. Finally it was time to depart, we boarded a packed boat and secured a deck seat for the crossing. Sea was calm, crossing uneventful. We got chatting to a lass sitting beside us, who was on her way to assist as part of a work party going to Guirdil bothy - just as well we hadn't planned on making that a destination for the night :lol:


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ImageP4190200 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190201 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190202 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190203 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190205 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190207 by Al, on Flickr

The boat arrived on time and we headed off quickly, knowing that time was of the essence today. Nobody else seemed to be heading for the hills - I guess a lot of folk on the ferry would be stopping on the island just for a couple of hours til the boat returned from Canna. So looked like we had the hillside to ourselves. We walked past the castle and onto the track. It was a warm but hazy afternoon, with a wind that continued to strengthen as we walked up into Coire Dubh. I hadn't really paid attention to the wind in the forecasts - I didn't particularly fancy traversing these hills in a gale. But it was a bit too late for second thoughts now. By the time we reached the rim of the coire it was gusting strongly enough to make one wobble...


ImageP4190208 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190209 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190210 by Al, on Flickr

The splendid mountains stood before us - views we had been deprived of last time. Rocky Hallival leading to rugged Askival, the highest of the Rùm peaks, then on to the wee menace of Trollabhal. And the drops in between, don't forget them. I remembered a narrow-seeming ridge onto Askival, riddled with shearwater burrows. Narrow seeming because we were enveloped in clag that time and had no idea what was below us - it turns out the drop is far from significant, which was some comfort given the powerful crosswind keeping us company. Weird noises, a little like a small dog yelping came to my ears - as we continued on A remarked that the sounds were coming from below us - these were the calls of shearwaters in their burrows beneath our feet, a sound somewhere between a creak and a squeak. Most of the burrows seemed occupied, going by the spatters of excrement at the burrow entrances. The going does get steeper in the last hundred metres to the summit, where assorted paths weave around alternate rocky spurs. A gash of scree leads to the summit tower and cairn. Eigg was just visible through the haze.

Coire Dubh
ImageP4190212 by Al, on Flickr

Hellaval & Askival
ImageP4190217 by Al, on Flickr

Askival
ImageP4190220 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190221 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190222 by Al, on Flickr

Shearwater burrows
ImageP4190225 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190226 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190228 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190230 by Al, on Flickr

Hazy Eigg
ImageP4190231 by Al, on Flickr


Three hundred and fifty metres descent to Bealach an Oir, where you could conceivably pitched a tent, if it wasn't so windy. It was just gone 6pm by this point, I reckoned we were on track to be summiting Ainshval before 8pm, which should give us enough time to get off the mountain, if not get all the way to Harris Bay before the light failed. The initial stages of Trollabhal are grassy, with the last hundred or so being a gentle scramble. I'd forgotten the rocky section between the first "top" and the summit proper - again, we didn't have visibility, and now that we did, the clamber across in high winds was a little daunting. Packs off for this bit. Actually, it was fine, even in the wind, although I didn't stand right on the summit cairn like mental A, I just grabbed the summit rocks from a position of safety :roll:

Trollabhal & Ainshval
ImageP4190233 by Al, on Flickr

Ainshval
ImageP4190234 by Al, on Flickr

Trollabhal
ImageP4190235 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190237 by Al, on Flickr

The narrow section to the summit of Trollabhal
ImageP4190239 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190240 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190241 by Al, on Flickr

The Graham in the bag, it was time to descend to Ainshval - steep and scree-like initially. As we trekked up the rough path up to Ainshval I was gauging our ascent by looking at Trollabhal, some 80m smaller than Ainshval. We never seemed to be getting any higher - turns out I was looking at Askival (30m higher than Ainshval) instead. Anyway, the final peak was reached at 7.30pm. With more time, it would have been nice to continue along the ridge over to Ruinsival, but that would have involved a steeper descent to Loch Fiachanais. We were going down into Sandy Coire, avoiding the 60m re-ascent to Sgurr nan Gillean - whew!

View towards Harris bay
ImageP4190244 by Al, on Flickr

Ainshval
ImageP4190245 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190247 by Al, on Flickr


Loch Fiachanais
ImageP4190248 by Al, on Flickr

Descent
ImageP4190249 by Al, on Flickr

We were making for Loch Fiachanais, a heart shaped - or as perspective changed as we neared the loch - kidney shaped expanse of water, complete with ureter. The sun glowed in the western sky over Harris Bay, lighting the waters of the Loch in oranges and ochres. The descent was straightforward, deer tracks abounded and soon it was onto more level ground for the plod out to the Bay. In wetter conditions I imagine this could be something of a bog-fest, but we were able to proceed with dry-ish feet. Time was getting on - I thought we might camp near the loch as it was approaching 8.45 when we came alongside it. However there were no flat spots - the ground lumpy and tussocky. We picked up and ATV track heading for Harris, which gave up resolve to continue, passing numerous strange tors dotted around on the moor. There was one river crossing to be managed across the Abhainn Rangail - would there be a bridge? It was a pleasant surprise to find a robust wooden affair spanning the waters. We neared the settlement on Harris - once a village of some 37 homes, cleared for sheep in the early years of the 19th Century. According to Wikki, all the islanders live around Kinloch - so why was there smoke coming from the white house in Harris, and indeed a light on inside? We ended up pitching in the shelter of some old stone walls and got the tent up as the last of the light evaporated. Our late evening meal was heartily devoured, even if it was only noodles and sausages with a black bean sauce. As we turned in for the night, a mist crept up from the sea, gradually covering the surrounding hillside.

Ruinsival
ImageP4190251 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190253 by Al, on Flickr

The long graceful ridge of Ard Nev
ImageP4190254 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4190256 by Al, on Flickr

Weird noises filled the night air- we heard snipe and owl, plus what I think may have been a corn crake, a sound like rattly laughter. A cacophony of crepuscular creatures. But way better than the usual noises encountered when camping. Of which more later...

Rain had visited us overnight and, a little depressingly, the mist had lowered and thickened overnight. We could make out little of our surroundings in the morning, the wild ponies on the hillside, the mad and ostentatious mausoleum to the Bulloughs over in the bay proper. We breakfasted and packed up, taking the track past the two houses (and the jumble of stones from the clearance village). The house which we'd seen the light inside looked as if it had seen better days and had an uninhabited feel - we noticed a tent nearby, so maybe the campers had let themselves in for a more comfortable evening. Or maybe it was fire-loving ghosts. We walked over to the mausoleum (the second that the Bulloughs built, the first being dynamited after an acquaintance made a disparaging remark about it. The structure looks completely out of place, a mockery of a Grecian Doric columned temple - with a slate roof. It wasn't the kind of mornign to explore the bay, so we retraced our way along the track and set off for the hills we couldn't see.

Morning mist
ImageP4200257 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200259 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200261 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200262 by Al, on Flickr


My plan was to climb Ard Meall/Ard Nev and then onto Orval. From there I had (originally) planned an excursion to Guirdil bothy, but with the weather and work party that seemed pointless, then it was on to Mullach Mor before returning to Kinloch. We would have plenty of time as the ferry didn't arrive til 7.30. We set off up the track for a bit, then turned off onto the hillside, bristly with heather. We were able to get in some map-and-compass practice as there was no visibility. And Nev, we'd seen the night before, a long sloping hill rising to a graceful peak. Then a drop of a hundred or so metres before a more rocky climb up the flanks of Orval. Still windy, still raining - would have been good to get a view of this part of the island.

Summit Ard Nev
ImageP4200265 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Orval
ImageP4200266 by Al, on Flickr

We descended east, to meet up with a footpath and the going was progressively easier as we headed towards Kinloch. We crossed the Kinloch river before leaving the track and setting off for Mullach Mor. At 304m I wasn't really expecting much of a bother with this hill, but it turned out to be the most challenging of the weekend. All due to the terrain - deep spongy tussocks of old grass, like walking through deep snow. Lack of decent visibility didn't help, it seemed to take several lifetimes to get anywhere near the top. At least in the higher sections we were on rock rather than tussock most of the time. And the rain had stopped. Finally we reached the trig point, A signalling her general love and respect for all Marilyns with a two-pronged salute :wink: Descent to Kinloch Glen was somewhat easier. We then had several hours to pass before the ferry. We got down to the castle about 3pm - I would have been somewhat interested to have a tour, but as we discovered subsequently, the tour was at 2pm and we'd missed it. We went to the visitor centre, then sat around at the ferry waiting room. Info there said the shop opened again at 5pm, so we left our sacks and went along to the shop where we picked up a couple of things to eat (they have some vegan supplies on the shelves, although a can of braised tofu is probably beyond me unless I was very hungry).

ImageP4200267 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Mullach Mor
ImageP4200269 by Al, on Flickr

Kinloch Bay
ImageP4200270 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200271 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200272 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4200273 by Al, on Flickr

A useful aerial photo of the Cuillin from the waiting room
ImageP4200274 by Al, on Flickr

The boat arrived on time and we joined a handful of others returning to Malaig - a far cry from the crush on the way over. A sea-eagle flew overhead as we left the harbour, heading for Mullach Mor. Much easier to reach the summit if you have wings. It was almost 9pm when we arrived back in Malaig - I thought we'd chance it back at Morar Sands for the night. The Co-op was still open and to my surprise and delight, I was able to obtain a rhubarb pie for that evening's consumption. As we drove to Morar Sands, there was a line of fires along the beach - at least 5 different campfires. The spot we'd used on Thursday was vacant, however, and we pitched, hearing the sound of crackling wood from below on the beach. At around 11pm the music started - a pair of tossers camping across from the toilets had decided to while away the evening with some atrocious House music. At some point, about 1am, it changed to Country, and the singing along began. Give me the crepuscular creatures any day.


mccedidsim.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Quite a lot of rain overnight, but a warm, rather clammy morning. Tired after the walk on Rùm and sleep deprivation from the musical-taste-challenged campers we had a lengthy breakfast. Today would be a trip along the road to Beinn Mhic Cedidh - a hill we'd failed to manage when we did its nearby partner Beinn Odhar Bheag back in the deep snow of early February. I'd scoped out a route that took us in a horseshoe over the Simms of Diollaid Mor & Beag - outliers of Druim Fiaclach on the Rois Bheinn hills but more difficult to include in that particular circuit. Adding them onto Mhic Cedidh did mean a considerable amount - 400m - of re-ascent however.

We parked near a track that crosses the Allt lon a'Mhuidhie and followed the track alongside the train line to an underpass then continuing up onto the hillside. After a time we left the ATV track and headed towards the craggy shoulder of the hill. Bands of rock alternated with grassy sections til the summit was reached. The cairn was looking rather sorry for itself, having encountered a "cairnoclast" recently - I did a bit of a rebuild from the stones scattered around. We looked west to the two Simms, separated by a disturbingly large drop. I wondered if A wanted to include Druim Fiaclach, which links to them with a nice little jaggy ridge, but she's saving that for another day.

ImageP4210278 by Al, on Flickr

Mhic Cedidh
ImageP4210280 by Al, on Flickr

Diollaid Mor & Beag
ImageP4210281 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4210282 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4210283 by Al, on Flickr

A spot of re-building
ImageP4210284 by Al, on Flickr


The descent was fairly easy and we crossed the bealach, with good views to Croit Bheinn on our left. That awkward Graham could probably be approached from this direction, although there's a further drop included were you to try that. We began our ascent of Diollaid Mor, an enjoyable mountain. Great striated slabs lay on their sides as we neared the summit. We gazed around into the lifting cloud, enjoying the improving afternoon. A short trot to Beag followed, sequestered lochans bounded by walls of rock. Then the long descent back to the track we'd used to walk in this morning. The heat built as we dropped to the valley level as if we were entering an oven. Looking at the stats, I saw we'd done almost as much ascent for one Corbett and 2 Simms as the whole of the Rùm Cuillin traverse :lol:

Croit Bheinn
ImageP4210285 by Al, on Flickr

Druim Fiaclach & Diollaid Mor
ImageP4210286 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4210288 by Al, on Flickr

Druim Fiaclach ridge
ImageP4210289 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4210292 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4210294 by Al, on Flickr


Deciding that three nights without a shower was enough, we headed for civilisation in the form of Loch Linnhe campsite. I expected there to be masses of tents, but it seemed fairly quiet. A long hot shower was quite a tonic - I then cooked our tea whilst A bumped into Irene M from WH. A lovely evening, warm enough to sit out in base layers, without the menace of the Midge, which will be arriving soon, methinks. Some evening reading - currently "In Symphony Austere" by Richard Frere - a superb read about his mountain experiences as a young man in pre-war Scotland.

Streap was planned for the morrow - we woke to be bathed in bright, warm sun, not a cloud in the sky. Our visit to Streap previously had been blighted by shoulder high bracken on the way up to Beinn Tuim, then clag and rain. Today there would be none of either - well just the occasional unfurling green fern vanguard of the bracken army to come. We walked alongside the Dubh Lighe enjoying the cool shade of the moss-covered trees and the splashing of the waters. Passed a couple of lads returning from a night at the bothy, but no-one else all day. As we started to climb, we heard our first Cuckoo of the year. She seemed to have installed herself in a cave, as there was a little echo of her call. There's something slightly magickal about the first cuckoo of the year - living proof that the year has turned and summer is indisputably on its way. Although their call does get somewhat repetitive as the weeks go by, I always enjoy the first sounding. Then miss thier company after the eight weeks or so, before they make their long flight back to Africa. Sadly their numbers are declining.

ImageP4220295 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220296 by Al, on Flickr

Onto the hillside - steep grass, following deer paths where possible and being denied a real sense of the mountain until we rounded into Coire Tuim, when the ridge was at last visible to us. A lengthy pull up to Bealach a'Chait followed - disturbing a large herd of deer. We paused for lunch near the top - the wind back to being a formidable presence. Up and over Meall an Uillt Chaoil then the more imposing peak of Stob Coire nan Cearc.Mountains rose all around in their rocky majesty:- Sgurr an Utha, Thuilm and Coireachan, Gulvain and to the northwest the Dessarry hills - Bidean a'Chabhair to Sgurr na Ciche. We viewed the reclusive Loch Beoraid over to our left and were enjoying the visual feast. The ridge up to the summit of Streap was a little challenging because of the strong cross-wind - I made sure to walk on the windward side, as there's a considerable fall on the west side of this mountain. A didn't seem to bother about that. We reached the summit, gazed around and headed for Streap-Comhlaidh, still decorated with small patches of snow on its sides. A descent to the glen, then a walk back along the Dubh Lighe in glorious weather - what's not to like? The river gathered here and there into the most inviting plunge pools - we were tempted to stop and immerse our hot toes, but hesitated. 25 degrees C said the car thermometer when we arrived back - summer is on the way :D

ImageP4220297 by Al, on Flickr

Coire nan Cearc
ImageP4220299 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Utha
ImageP4220302 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220305 by Al, on Flickr

Clouds over Gulvain
ImageP4220307 by Al, on Flickr

Dessarry hills
ImageP4220308 by Al, on Flickr

A winter vestige
ImageP4220310 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220311 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220313 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220315 by Al, on Flickr

Streap Comhlaidh
ImageP4220318 by Al, on Flickr

inviting pool
ImageP4220320 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP4220321 by Al, on Flickr


A modern translation of the 13th century classic - Sumer is Icumen In

Summer has arrived,
Sing loudly, cuckoo!
The seed is growing
And the meadow is blooming,
And the wood is coming into leaf now,
Sing, cuckoo!

The ewe is bleating after her lamb,
The cow is lowing after her calf;
The bullock is prancing,
The billy-goat farting,
Sing merrily, cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo,
You sing well, cuckoo,
Never stop now.

Sing, cuckoo, now; sing, cuckoo;
Sing, cuckoo; sing, cuckoo, now!

User avatar
weaselmaster
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:18 pm

I love all your reports, but particularly enjoyed revisiting (and hearing night-time) Rum through your eyes and ears. :D Shame about the loud tossers - more often than not in campsites now, would you say?
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EmmaKTunskeen
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:29 pm

EmmaKTunskeen wrote:I love all your reports, but particularly enjoyed revisiting (and hearing night-time) Rum through your eyes and ears. :D Shame about the loud tossers - more often than not in campsites now, would you say?


Cheers, Emma. The campsite noise issue gets me down a bit. I know that people come to campsites (or indeed wild-camp/car-camp) for a variety of reasons, and some like to party. If it stops by 11pm then I can handle that, but when it goes on way after midnight, that troubles me and gets my hackles up. Particularly when it's accompanied by drink-fuelled behaviour and big fires. Whether it's more of a problem now, I really don't know - but often the noise comes from camper vans as much as from tents and there are way more campervans on the roads now. It does make me wary about which campsites I use, especially if one is booking in for several nights and you know you are going to have to "face the music" several nights in a row :shock: One of the benefits of camping during the winter months is there's less noise/less people.

The contrast is also more pronounced when compared with proper wild camps out in the hills when the only noises are those of nature. But it isn't always practicable to do that.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:45 pm

There was a scene in 'Upstart Crow' with Mitchell/Shakespeare thinking "I'm going to say something" in his carriage back to Stratford - which, of course, he didn't. Made me chuckle - my equivalent is a frustrated powerless gritting of teeth and thoughts of blaring the World Service back at them from my little radio... pathetically...

In my little one-gal tent I've been virtually camped on top of by the noisy tossers. It's horrible.

Really must buck-up and wild camp, but I like walking on my own and wild-camping in (chosen) company... Purely primaeval cowardice, I'm ashamed to admit. One reason I especially loved your Rum camp with all its special-Rum noises - and fire-loving ghosts to boot! :wink:

Looking forward to your next adventures :D
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EmmaKTunskeen
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:13 pm

Good read.

I was on one of the appliances (fire engines) you passed at the wildfire ,parked in at the lay bye where the path to Peannmeannach bothy begins. You should have given me a toot :wink:
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Collaciotach
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:25 pm

Good read.

I was on one of the appliances (fire engines) you passed at the wildfire ,parked in at the lay bye where the path to Peannmeannach bothy begins. You should have given me a toot :wink:
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Collaciotach
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby IreneM » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:37 am

Another great read Al. :)

I've said before that your reports leave me exhausted just reading about the distance and ascent you manage each day - carrying the big packs too :clap:

Really nice to meet A in the campsite - a true WH legend. She gave me a really useful tip on how to grind up those endless slopes :wink: :lol:

Cheers :)
IreneM
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Re: Three Girl Rùm-ba (aka Chirpy Chirpy Streap Streap)

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:44 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Good read.

I was on one of the appliances (fire engines) you passed at the wildfire ,parked in at the lay bye where the path to Peannmeannach bothy begins. You should have given me a toot :wink:


It's a small world :wink: The appliance that was parked behind us had a crew of 4, one of whom was a lassie. - were you with that crew?
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weaselmaster
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