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Last Chance for a First Munro

Last Chance for a First Munro

Postby bethrosegoes » Tue Sep 28, 2021 12:46 am

Date walked: 13/09/2021

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14.5 km

Ascent: 935m

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I'm a newish hillwalker, who on arriving for a post quitting my career solo roadtrip of Scotland idly googled what might be in my path. On discovery that "baggjng" was a big thing, I of course became obsessed with the idea of perhaps grabbing my first Munro as part of the trip. The question was which, and would the weather be kind.

I've mostly walked in the Brecons and Lake District, and recently had my appendix out so needed to be realistic about my fitness and abilities. I was also spending most of my trip on Skye whose hills were definitely beyond me. This left a few possible days in the Trossachs, around Inverness, but as my time wore on I was repeatedly scuppered by mists and had basically given up.

Then dawned the morning of 13 September, clear and crisp and delightful. I'd hopefully packed my rucksack and loaded the car the night before after a promising weather forecast, so after an excellent breakfast in my Strathpeffer B&B (Holly Lodge), I was nervous but ready.

Ben Wyvis made my shortlist due to the clear path, manageable climb time and lack of scree (I hate scree) and was absolutely worthwhile. I parked easily enough at 9am, popped on my wooly hat and got going.

The first third of the climb was very charming , river to the right and the path flanked by purpling heather, red fairy mushrooms and all under a gradually warming blue sky. The ground was dry and the pitch was pretty kind, though I knew from the contour lines it wouldn't last. Made good time and didn't even get overtaken which for my first hill of the year felt good!

The second third was brutal. I swing back and forth between preferring steps or a slope to ascend but by the time I'd pounded up 200m or so of uneven stone steps over a quarter km of distance I would have given my half way snack for a slope. Fortunately the view were absolutely stunning, so as speedy chaps with sticks began to catch me up, I gave up on pace and had a nice sit down to recover. Repeatedly. I think this section took me over an hour but also I've definitely blocked out all the burning thigh panting moments in favour of only remembering the stunning views and the simple pleasure of eating a sherbert lemon.

Once I made the cairns at An Cabar I felt invincible and with amazing visibility, it was pretty plain sailing across the plateau to the peak (sticking to the centre for the moss of course). I gleefully announced to some nice people at the trig point that it was my first Munro and they were lovely and told me about some of their other adventures. We then attempted to identify as many of the hills in view as possible before giving up due to the sheer volume - visibility being stunning - and the wind being rather chilly.

The temperature soon necessitated the return of the wooly hat, plus a coat for the first time that day, and after a few minutes, some pictures and a quick lunch, I started the walk down.

The plateaus were again uneventful and a little cloud was beginning to gather, along with lots more walkers approaching the top. Keen to get to the rock stairs on my own so I could take it slow, I hustled and made An Cabar just in time for a cloud to drop the temperature significantly.

The less said about my trip down the stone stairs the better, suffice to say my butt got muddy and my knees wouldn't speak to me for a few days, but I made it down safely in about 35 mins. From there it was just a case of tracing the lower section back, snapping a final few pictures and stretching out at the car before driving on to Glasgow.

I feel very lucky to have had such a glorious day in the vicinity of such an accessible peak, and hope to be back in Scotland soon in better shape and with more time to add to my count.

(Pics to follow)
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 7, 2021

Re: Last Chance for a First Munro

Postby AHillTooFar » Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:54 pm

"The second third was brutal..."

Had a chuckle reading that. This is always the issue with predefined paths, sometimes it would be easier to meander up a hill but no, some masochist decided straight up is best. Also hate steps as they define the height of the step you have to take. Much prefer an ordinary path myself.

Still, I recall on my way down some people were running up the hill. Crazy people out on the hills at times.
Posts: 65
Munros:29   Corbetts:14
Grahams:4   Donalds:9
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Oct 29, 2017

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