I slept in the camper van the previous night. In bed by 9pm and asleep by 9:30pm. This was due to walking A'Chralaig and Mullach Froach Choire the day before.
My left knee started to twinge on the slope up Am Bathach. I wondered should I go back, but decided to push on. As I climbed, the thought going through my mind mostly was to go on a diet and get fitter. And to stop drinking so much ( but I do have a batch of all grain home brew going as I type this and it would be daft not to try it). This would mean I could fly up the hills in future. I would blame Covid, but it really is my own lack of discipline (and Covid).
It looked like I was going to be all by myself all day, but that did not bother me. It was a struggle to get to the top and when there it was a fairly flattish area with no sign of the path. Although the general direction was fairly obvious, I could only see the faint outline of something quite far away. Halfway down it started to pour with rain. Not the forecast I thought. On with the waterproofs and off I set. I felt my right leg getting wet. The zip had burst and was only connected at the top and bottom so the rain had easy access. I popped the studs and that seemed to sort it out. All of a sudden, in the mid of my mini rant at the waterproof trousers, a young lady came sailing past me. She must have been going like the clappers to catch me up. We chatted briefly and she zoomed off. I managed to keep pace for a while until it was time to go uphill again after which the gap stretched. No matter, I was plodding. Heading up to CD was a boggy mess. I had contemplated using my approach shoes for this, but opted for boots and gaiters. Thank goodness. The track is a bit tricky to follow and I went astray. Eventually I found it again and the going got better. I took a photo of AB on the return route. I saw a couple coming up the direct way.
I had not done my research on this one before setting out from home as I had planned to review it all online while supping a beer the night before. No internet connection. Duh!. So when I saw the scary rocks at An Cnapach, I thought I was supposed to go over them. I could feel my bowels going loose at the thought. Luckily there was a path which I suppose I would know if I had looked at the map properly. Here's a sort of a view of that - but on the decent as the ascent was too cloudy.
I slogged onwards and now the other knee hurt too, although strangely they took turns to hurt so at least I could make some progress. Just before the top, the young lady came down and I asked her how far it was. 'Just there she said'. It was literally around the corner. Number 185 in the bag. We chatted some more then I had lunch at the top as the clouds began to clear and a bit. Going down reintroduced stabbing pains in my knees forcing me to walk like a duck and swivel on my poles. I scoffed another Ibuprofen. The couple who had been following me about 20 mins behind passed and I said it's not far to go. 'Thank god god for that' said the female, under her breath and without looking up. I know that feeling.
The boggy bits at the bealcach were a delight of dampness and for some reason I lost the path again. No matter, it was soon relocated. I really must get better as reading maps.
Meanwhile, my newish phone which is and Android as opposed to the Apple I am used to, was on it's first outing on a Munro. I did not realise that the lock doesn't really stop it turning on and doing things. Randomly it would start playing the audio book I was listening too, take photos of the inside of my pocket and change the phone settings. It could be possessed. Solution needed for next time.
I could see the young lady in the distance, her bright green rucksack cover easily spotted. She was a fast descender. Soon enough, I was back at the van.
Lessons learned. Don't get so fat that it means taking extra kilos up into the hills. Check the route out more thoroughly than just glancing at the map and saying, 'Meh! That looks fine.'
Was it good. Yes indeed it was, except the knee thing, that was a bit sore. Fitness training will help that though.
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.