So after last weekends jaunt up Ben Lawers and having looked at the weather forecast I had decided that I was't quite as unfit as I thought I was and that something a little more testing should be undertaken.
I somehow managed to persuade a couple of friends to come along with us, Mr Alfachick being off work he was able to join me on this outing as well. Even after warning everyone that it was going to be an early start as it was a good long walk with a lot of up and also with it being the best part of a two hour drive away they all still sounded keen! Brilliant!
So off we set at oh my god its early o'clock to Glen Lyon.
We arrived booted up and set off up the hill by just before 1000. Before we had even started our ascent however we were greeted by a student from Durham university who was undertaking some kind of wildlife study on the estate. He issued us with a GPS reliever and a card with instructions to record any wildlife that we happened to see on the hills other than sheep or pheasants. The GPS was duly stored "safely" away in a top pocket and off we set.
The bridge over the stream at the start of the walk proper is a bit rickety isn't it! Crikey I had a bit of a moment on it as it was bouncing up and down whilst crossing, Mr Alfachick who had already crossed over put his foot on the bridge and I may have bitten his head off. It is normally his style to shake a bridge or structure or rock or whatever we may be on that would make me nervous for "fun". However after having been shouted at he indignantly told me that he was putting weight on the bridge to stop it shaking so much.... hmmmmm.
That small drama over we set off up the Eastern ridge of Carn Gorm, we made the top by around 1200. A small amount of rejoicing about the worst of the climbing being over was done. The trig point on the top has sadly toppled over at some point but it did make a rather excellent platform to get a group selfie on
Luckily for us the lingering cloud hanging over the tops from the morning had dissipated somewhat so we got great views for most of the day once we had gained our height.
We set off and quickly made the second summit of the day Meall Garbh, I have to say I didn't think much of the cairn of old metal fence posts marking the top. We stopped here for lunch in a nice wee nook out of the wind. Cheese and mustard sandwiches a hill classic As we looked at the map and figured out what the loch to the north of us was (Loch Rannoch) I realised that we could see Glen Coe in the distance! Amazing. It hadnt quite clicked that we were actually quite far West compared to my normal stomping ground.
Realising that it was now just past 1300 and that we were not quite half way round the entire walk we set off fairly sharpish to the third summit of the day, Carn Mairg. We were afforded some great views of Schiehallion on this section of the walk.
After another quick sandwich stop as this summit had been a slightly further away than initially thought we set off to the final summit of the day. Now this is where the day really does take a turn for the epic.... We may have missed the start of the path off the top of Carn Mairg and we may have taken the decision to just take the shortest route down to the coll, which may have been down a boulder field which may have been quite steep. The dogs managed fine, Mr Alfachick practically skipped down it, myself and my friend however tackled the problem in a more "**** scared I am going to break an ankle" way and may have gone down it mostly on our bums and very slowly.
Needless to say we all arrived safely at the bottom and in one piece only to turn around and see the bloody path just off to the side! Gah.
It was then just a short jaunt over to the last summit of the day which was quickly in the bag then with minimum hanging around we started the long descent back to the car.
I have to say that the last 4km was pretty much all down hill and really gave the legs a bashing. We were all rather glad to see the car. Just had to drop the GPS off in the box on the gate on the way past.... The GPS that had been "safely" stored in a top pocket....... nowhere to be found! So if by any chance anyone involved in the Durham university study is reading this then we are truly sorry but we had lost the GPS that you had given us on the hill somewhere. So sorry! On a slight side note this was a rare walk where we saw almost no wildlife at all other than sheep. Just one bird of prey and a couple of crows.
Over all a great day was had by all and it was the general consensus that it is always worth getting up early and always worth the climb to get great views and have a truly epic day
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