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My First Munro: Snowy Schiehallion

My First Munro: Snowy Schiehallion

Postby carlyc183 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:23 pm

Route description: Schiehallion

Munros included on this walk: Schiehallion

Date walked: 23/11/2019

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 731m

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1 Munro down, 281 to go!

I walked Schiehallion with a mentor of mine who has several decades of experience in the Highlands under her belt. We drove from Edinburgh to the Braes of Foss car park and walked the usual path from there. In the valley, it was still and fairly clear, but looking up the hill, we could see snow and fast-moving clouds.

1 - approach.jpeg
The approach.

2 - looking into the clouds.jpeg
Looking up into the clouds at about 570m.

3 - looking left.jpeg
To the west.

4 - looking right.jpeg
To the northeast.

At about 600m, we began to feel the weather -- there was a light spattering of rain and rising wind -- and by 700m, we were in the clouds.

5 - cairn in the snow on the way up .jpeg
A cairn at the end of the trail before the final ascent.

There was a long period of silent climbing. It was cold and slippery, but we were well-prepared with layers, snacks, and Kahtoola microspikes for our boots. In the midst of this serenity, the best moment for me was spotting a ptarmigan in the snow just to the right of the path. As a kid in America, I used to flip through my grandparents' bird ID books, and I always liked ptarmigans for their funny names and 'cute' appearances; I had never seen one in person before. Sadly, I didn't get any photos before it flew off.

The weather got worse and worse as we approached the summit, and the visibility was getting poor. We met a couple and their dog about 15 minutes from the summit who warned us to don another layer if possible, telling us that we weren't far, but we wouldn't want to stay long.

That proved to be true -- we pushed on to the summit, but with freezing rain and hail pelting us and soaking through our layers, we turned right back around. I didn't dare take out my phone lest it blow out of my hands, so my last photo is from the descent, once we had left the worst of the clouds and wind:

6 - on the descent.jpeg
On the descent.

It turns out the two groups we had spotted behind us turned back before the summit, so it was a quiet trip down. We were soaked through but exhilarated by the time we returned to the carpark. All in all, a great first Munro experience!

Followed by the obligatory trip to the pub in Pitlochry, of course, where we sat by the fire and warmed ourselves up.
Hill Bagger
Posts: 1
Munros:1   Corbetts:1
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Nov 20, 2019

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