The area at the end of the road is a turning place for gritters and the school bus. It was the height of summer and the school holidays but I parked on the verge some distance short of the end of the public road. The glen could do with a small car park.
Thomas is very averse to flying insects so he quickly donned his karting balacava . I wondered what anyone at the house at Auchavan might make of him. I had visions of someone coming out with a shotgun to protect their property!
The route was followed clockwise - the opposite to that described on Walkhighlands, If there was to be peat hag and hiking through pathless long grass, for Thomas' sake, I wanted it to be earlier in the day. I knew the route from Glas Maol to Monega Hill would be easy going.
Thankfully, the balaclava soon came off as we rapidly gained height, initially up a good track and then up a faint path to the summit of the main objective (at least it was for me!), Monamenach.
Below: Looking back towards Mount Blair. This will become a hill high in my list of objectives, once I have completed the Corbetts as it is included in the SMC guide to "The Corbetts and Other Scottish Hills".
Approaching the summit of Monamenach.
At the summit with Creag Leacach shrouded in cloud.
Thomas has become an eating machine and is seen here reaching for his next cereal bar while sat on the summit cairn.
All was looking well: Thomas was going strong and the cloud was clearing off the two Munros that we were heading for.
The route was surprisingly easy going between Monamenach and Creag Leacach though Thomas was developing a bit of a headache. He wanted to play a game to take his mind off the pain. During the drive down south, we played "I went to the train station and bought a ticket to ....", where, if it is your go, you have to come up with a place that starts with the last letter of the previous place, so something like Perth .... Harrogate .....Edinburgh etc. Thomas wanted to play the same game again, but I suggested "I went to the shop" instead. This is a well known memory game where the first person says something like "I went to the shop and bought an orange", the next person "I went to the shop and bought an orange and some Wheatabix" and so the shopping list becomes longer and longer and therefore harder to remember. Everything that Thomas added to the list was something to give him his next "sugar rush"!
On reaching the wall of Carn Ait we took a short break for an early lunch, with the satisfaction that the hardest ground had been covered. Although we were only about 40% of the way around the circuit, much of the ascent had been made and the uphill sections ahead were not too steep and progress helped by decent paths.
Energised by his latest energy bar, Thomas forged ahead towards Creag Leacach.
The last time I was on Creag Leacach was 10 August 1995, almost 24 years earlier. I suppose that it did not occur to me then that I might someday return! I seem to remember that is was also a fine day back then, so I have been twice blessed with good weather on this hill.
I interrupted Thomas' search for another cereal bar to take some summit photographs.
While Thomas "chilled", I took a series of shots to be later stitched and labelled. Creag Leacach was certainly provided the best views of the day, with Glas Maol being so convexed and dome-like.
This is my favourite photograph of the day. Creag Leacach is certainly a shapely hill for these parts! Shortly after taking this shot I had to run over to some boulders with some bog paper . I tried to get as far away from the path as possible without leaving it too late to drop my pants! The paper was bagged and carried out. Hopefully, the heavy rain that started towards the end of our walk and continued well into late afternoon the next day. washed away the mess.
It may have been the "private supply" of water at the previous night's hostel. I only drank the water as hot drinks but Thomas had used unboiled water to make up his protein drinks. Certainly, by the time we reached the trig point and cairn of Glas Maol, Thomas was looking very pasty! Within minutes of this photo being taken, Thomas was vomitting . I apologise to anyone climbing Glas Maol who may have stumbled upon (or slipped?) on this. It could not have been helped and it was impossible to clean up the mess. Again, that job was left to the heavy rain that was to follow over the next 24 hours.
I had thought that the last time I was here was back in 1995, but referring to my (second) copy of The Munros, I found that I had returned in July 2003 and climbed it in conjunction with Cairn of Claise. I had forgot how easily these tow Munros could be linked. They were approached from Glen Isla, probbly first ascending Cairn of Claise via the stalker's path that zig-zags its way up Sron Reidhe. Looking back through my photographs from that time, there are none from that day, perhaps due to poor weather or forgetting my camera.
I am thinking that a combination of Cairn of Claise, Tolmount and Tom Buidhe could be an appealing option, the next time I am in Glen Isla!
Thomas did recover quickly. I left the path to obtain the best view points for some photographs and it struck me how difficult it was to then catch him up! Time for another game! This time "Who am I?". That is that one of us thought of a person that we both should know (challenging!) while the other asked questions to work out who. From memory, we had Richard Hammond, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter (Thomas' brother), Tommy Shelby (from Peaky Blinders) and at least a couple of footballers.
Below: Looking down Monega Hill towards our starting point in Glen Isla.
When hillwalking, the interest does not end on returning to the car, there are still things of interest on the way home or to the night's accommodation. Here, is Forter Castle, built in 1560 - which apparently can be rented! The weekly rates are in the £4000 to £8000 range. I believe it will accommodate up to eight people.
On our last trip away, we came across a red telephone box being used to house a defibrillator. While driving through Enochdhu, we saw this telephone box, which is used as a library.
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