The first weekend after the so-called 'Glorious' 12th, so I was a bit nervous having read reports about grumpy estate workers with big guns. I attempted to call and email to check if they had a shoot planned, but couldn't get hold of anyone. So, I set out from Paisley at 6am with the intention of doing the Lochan nan Cat 3 as a backup if needs be. As it was, got there at 8am and no signs visible, so game on!
With the exception of the easy up and down Meall nam Ptarmigan last week with the kids, this was my first proper outing since last year, but why break myself in gently?
Straightforward start, but I could tell from the get go my body wasn't going to enjoy today. Arthritis playing up, feet felt bruised, neck and shoulders aching from the 3L water in my rucksack (thank God I brought this much as it turns out!)
Mist set in from the end of the wooded section, and lasted almost all the way to the summit of Carn Gorm, but what a sight when I finally poked out the top of the clouds!
By the time I plodded my way to the top of Carn Gorm I was shattered and my feet were in tatters, but I do like a challenge.
Easy enough jaunt to Meall Garbh and the Game of Thrones-esque Iron Throne, eh Cairn, but from here it all went a bit wrong.....
In my tired state, and with a path pretty much all the way so far, I decided to follow the path in the distance which others had already taken without checking the map properly or taking a bearing. Numpty! Lesson learned. So I unknowingly headed away to visit the tops to the south (a detour I didn't need). I eventually checked the map and realised I shouldn't be heading downhill, so after some reflection (ok, mild panic with the mist down) I decided to head back to the top of Meall Garbh. This was after meeting 3 guys who had also tried the detour and who had been wandering around for about an hour trying to find the path!
Unfortunately they wouldn't listen when I said we had gone wrong, and the last I saw of them they decided to follow a sheep track towards the steep left hand side of Coire Luaidhe. Hope they got down ok.
On the way back up, I met a really nice experienced chap who was collecting all the tops on the circuit as well! He helped confirm that I was indeed where I thought I was, and pointed me in the direction of the correct route. When I got there I met 4 nice guys with the biggest dog in Christendom and they also confirmed I was now going the right way! I didn't ask your names, but thanks to you all.
What have I learned from this? (1) check your flaming map (2) some of it is actually starting to sink in as I realised I went wrong, worked out where I was and corrected it.
From then on I was totally done. Legs had turned to jelly and I had nothing in the tank, but going on was pretty much as hard as turning back, so on I went. Nice views (including the pointy one!) at the top of Carn Mairg.
The rest of the day was just one foot in front of the other, trying to eek out my water and stave off sunstroke (must have been at least 25 degrees above the clouds). Thanks to meetup leader and his group who I chatted with and gave some much needed morale boosting.
Back to the car just over 10 hours after setting off!
One last thing. To the young lad who filled up his water bottle from the barest boggy trickle: hope your stomach is ok!
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