That's why I came for, right? To make use of the long summer days and to do the most notherly munros - no matter the weather! So after a lazy morning in my cosy and comfortable hobbit house watching my neighbours passing by in the mist,I finally took off to go for Ben Klibreck. A munro I was not toooo keen to do for different reasons: first, I don't like single munros so much when I have to go up and down the same route; second, the description about the very boggy section at the bealach didn't cheer me up (I didn't mind the rough part) and third: the weather was not really motivating that day - but here it is:
When I arrived at the parking around one o'clock my two neighbours of the Pods had already finished their walk and were now heading for Ben Hope. There was another car parked and I thought it would be nice to meet other walkers on a day like this. As the path was directly opposite my car I was lucky that I didn't have to struggle with the start at least.
It was a very foggy morning and the fog resisted the weather forecast and didn't dissipate as predicted and there were some misty clouds hovering over the summit of Cnoc Sgriodain, the rest of the Mountain was invisible.
At the gate a flier was attached asking to report a missing black cocker spaniel. I wondered what has happened with the cute little dog looking at me with its dark pleading eyes and if it has been found meanwhile.
On my way up I was busy avoiding the boggiest parts of the path with moderate success and after an hour I was on top of Cnoc Sgriodain, very glad to find the cairns which navigated me over the plateau. And there it was: the bealach! from the distance it didn't look so bad but getting closer the peat hags made a more and more uninvitingly impression and the mist was like a wall to one side.
On the far side of the bealach I saw a little group of four people and I thought: here they are, the walkers from the other car. From the distance I could not make out whether they were de- or ascending and for a considerable time they were not moving at all. I was wondering what they where doing, while I was jumping from one boggy peat hag (in)to the next, in vain effort to avoid them. Finally the little group moved upwards but it didn't take me long to catch up with them.
Hello, hello! They were two couples, one couple from Inverness with another couple of friends coming from Perthshire and we started talking about the weather, of course, the walk, the Brexit & different other topics while the midges had their own fun...
One topic had been my sandals, what else . Since I started walking on my own I left my boots in the boot but my new pair of Teva sandals have caused some blisters during the last walks. And in order to protect the plasters and the bruises a little bit more I was wearing socks (for the first time ever, I swear! and I know: sandals and socks are a scandal anyway).
However. People never can believe what a pleasure it is walking in sandals (even with socks and blisters) and they usually say that I must have strong ankles, but that is not really necessary. And often they think that I must get hurt because of my unprotected feet and so on. But it is just the opposite.
Walking with boots was always so tiring and so exaggerating! Boots make my legs heavy and my back aching. Just feel it! The poor feet fixed in these tight shoes! A foot has 26 bones, the bones of both feet are the fourth of all body bones! Why would we have so many bones in one foot if not to have some flexibility so that the foot can adjust to all kind of ground. In boots I was never able to respond flexible to the rough and uneven ground on hill walks. I had the most serious falls and twisted ankles with boots because I was not able to get my feet up or out quick enough from a hole or some heatherbushes etc.
And then the long and steep desends where at some stage one hardly can prevent that the toes get crushed against the front of the shoe so that they become blue, green and yellow.
And there is another aspect: the damage to the soil is less while walking in sandals - so far my experiences and excuses .
A little blue spot in a water reflecting the sky gave reason for some happy cheers and stired up hope for better views further on as the forecast has promised for this afternoon...
I enjoyed the company of the four in this misty-moody atmosphere very much. At the foot of the summit we had a little breather while the sun came out and the mist lifted in some places.
But the summit still was invisible.
Iain and me had been up first and while we were waiting for the others the mist moved and lifted and we enjoyed the changing scenery.
Iain told me that this was his 900andsomething munro - I thought I had misunderstood and asked him if he had completed the munros. He kindly answered: twice and told me that his father was number 50something on the list of munroists. (I apologize that I can't remember the excat number!) I was very impressed by his family story and thinking that I probably won't be able to complete the munros at least once even when I try my best to do as many walks as possible on my summer holidays. Then I asked him my favorite question about his most impressive or remarkable walk and Iain started thinking.
I do take my time answering this question as well and this actually gave reason to a break-up once , but I like looking back and having the experience relived, discovering always new aspects and moments which made a walk or a munro special.
Then Iain started talking and I enjoyed to listen to his stories but when the others arrived talk changed.
During the descend we had some serious talks about some interesting topics and the time passed by very quickly on our way back to the parking.
This encounter has left a strong impression, still, I hardly can describe nor can I explain what it is that makes this experience so completely different compared to other walks with enjoyable company. At the end I was tempted but didn't dare to ask if we could exchange contact. That's how it is, right? You meet people, you enjoy a good time together and than you separate again - always in trouble with good-bye anyway and I am still sorry that I didn't asked but I hope I'll meet them again!
So I said good-bye to the people and to the mountain and finished this afternoon with half a pint of lager and a delicious carott soup in the Crask Inn where you always get a warm welcome.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.