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Walking in a Covid Wonderland

Walking in a Covid Wonderland


Postby kevsbald » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:50 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Faochaig, Sguman Coinntich

Date walked: 10/07/2020

Time taken: 16 hours

Distance: 28 km

Ascent: 1100m

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Coronavirus pandemic. On March 23rd, the UK was placed into national lockdown and while some idiots had gone into the hills early, I had restrained myself. I was an infectious disease epidemiologist after all, and having heard the stories from the front-line, I had no wish to become a statistic at this point in my life - nor infect anyone else. We should all be in this together, Dominic Cummings aside. Should have gone to Specsavers. Maintaining fitness by running 5 miles a day in June, I was going to be physically ready for the hills once we got the go-ahead from the FM. It had been very odd to watch events unfold through either MSM or on social media. I knew that there would be many folks streaming North for hills so I decided to head from home early on a Friday at 0830. Driving through Tyndrum was an odd experience - practically nobody about in the middle of July. Fort William was much the same and heading past Invergarry, the roads were so quiet. It was all very odd. We are in a new world. I have hung on the constant of what the hills have always offered me - respite, relaxation and a return to the simple pleasures. These felt more important than ever. I eventually arrived at Killilan for 1230.

I had never been to this part of the world before and it was both scenic and quiet. Sguman Coinntich was the the obvious hill and I made for the path that would run in between it and Ben Killilan. The weather was a mix and it was to be like this all day; sunshine, cloud and rain.
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Old structure for pipes?
I headed up to the bealach, enjoying the views back to the loch but rather than head on to the Corbett proper, I thought I'd make for the bealach proper - this was a mistake as the crags were severe enough that I'd not fancy my chances. I thus, had to drop down into the coire at the back of the hill and re-ascend on to the shoulder of Sguman Coinntich. Here, I left my bag and romped the last kilometre to the summit trig point. There was a great view down to the loch but a fleeting one, as the cloud and rain moved in once more.
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Summit trig point and Loch Long
I pinged over to get my rucksack, had some food and began the meander over to Faochaig, but not before exploring a damaged weather station, with relatively intact solar panels.

There was a superb view over to Carnan Cruithneachd, with the larger hills behind it.
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To Carnan Cruithneachd and beyond
This was a place of real remoteness and I revelled in the solitude. Again, as I made for the final hill objective of the day, the cloud and rain came in. I felt very at ease with the inclement weather - in fact, I enjoyed the dampness; it made me feel alive and reminded me that others hadn't made it through the dreadful situation we had been in for several months. I dropped the rucksack at a large boulder and made for the summit cairn. No view unfortunately but a signal, and a quick message to my wife as to where I'd camp for the evening, then I made the long and unrelenting walk back down into Glen Elchaig, where I came upon Iron Lodge. I had a look at round but it was being decomposed from the inside out. I found a hidden flat piece of land beside a large waterfall, had some dinner and a beer/dram before getting my head down.
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Camp - scenic but poor choice
I slept fitfully for several hours before packing up and heading out at 0200. I got back to the car at 0415 after a couple of frights with some large deer jumping out on me. It had been a fabulous re-emergence back into the way of the hills. I felt completely rejuvenated, as if I'd sloughed off my old skin. These trips will help soothe the mind for the days ahead.
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kevsbald
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Re: Walking in a Covid Wonderland

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:34 pm

I have these two in my mind for this weekend....so in saying that, that's kicked that plan into touch. Quite fancy a high camp Saturday night and then pick off the stand alone Corbett of Aonach Buidhe on the Sunday before the long walk back to the car........so it'll no doubt be a sub 2000 in Cowal then :lol:
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PeteR
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Re: Walking in a Covid Wonderland

Postby Graeme D » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:16 pm

I was somewhat less keen on the dampness that day as has already been reported! :lol:

Good to see you doing some advanced reconnaissance of this area though! :thumbup:
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Graeme D
 
Posts: 3648
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Re: Walking in a Covid Wonderland

Postby Graeme D » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:19 pm

P.S. I'm guessing it was a wild night there too? It was like being camped in a hurricane at the other end of Loch Mullardoch. :shock:
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Graeme D
 
Posts: 3648
Munros:225   Corbetts:109
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Sub 2000:57   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

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