Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich – our Vicar of Dibley day

Route: Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach

Munros: Gleouraich, Spidean Mialach

Date walked: 18/08/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 12km

Ascent: 1130m

Summer in Scotland, what better way to experience it than a weekend away camping and hillwalking? Annie P and I chose Invergarry, where it seemed all the midges had also chosen to go for the weekend. Being an East coast girl who lives in Glasgow, I had never experienced menaces like this! Spending 15 minutes squashing them on your tent wall before you dared go to sleep is not really my idea of fun. But at least I wasn’t targeted like Annie, they seemed to think she was tastier than me.

Saturday we had a double munro plan, Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach, we checked the MWIS and it was looking healthy, a good chance that the cloud would clear and give us views at the summit. Not the best start to the day for poor Annie who bashed her leg on the car door trying to quickly get in without letting the midges in - wearing a midge head net frankly looks really creepy, and clearly affects your sight!

The start of the walk wasn’t far away from the campsite, we parked the car and off we went. Unfortunately we left the route planner I had lovingly prepared with the timings for each section in the car… we still had the walkhighlands description which was excellent and the OS map, so not a major problem. Serves me right for making an effort!
G&SM 1 crossing river.JPG
River crossing

It was beautifully hot, infact a bit too hot when you’re climbing uphill at our fitness level. The views around were gorgeous, so it was a really pleasant start. And then I somehow managed to fall into a hole, with both feet, to above my knees, like in that episode of the Vicar of Dibley when she was out with her man and she jumped into a puddle and nearly disappeared. How I managed it I don’t know, as the hole was really just big enough for two feet. As I felt the ground disappear beneath me I said in a feeble and slightly scared voice “ohhhhhhh I’ve fallen into a hole” to which Annie turned round and laughed so much I thought she was going to hyperventilate. When I realised I wasn’t going to fall any further I clambered out, but she made me go back in for a photo. That’s what friends are for…
G&SM 2 alyson in hole.JPG
Alyson in Vicar of Dibley moment

Onwards we went, with my newly muddy trousers, and the rain came on. Properly wet, waterproofs on. I didn’t mind, I feel cheated on a walk if I don’t need to put on at least half the waterproofs, and pee behind a rock. Not at the same time though… And then it was my turn to laugh, as Annie took a leap over a muddy bit, got her foot stuck in the mud, and had to go onto her knees to pull herself free. Unfortunately there is no photo as it was too wet to get the camera out.
G&SM 3 space.JPG
Outer space

The path on that first section was good. And even on the pathless bit that followed you kept finding bits that were worn with a bit of a path which was good, kept you on the right track. Just a little bit of compass pointing needed to make sure we were heading up the right way. It changed from heathery grass stuff to rocky stuff like in outer space, I always think of being in a sci-fi film when I’m out on the hills and it’s rocky. The cloud kept blowing over, so you got some amazing views on the way up, and then they’d disappear. At the top of the first munro, Spidean Mialach, it was white cloud all round and a bit windy. Another munro photo that could be anywhere as you can’t see a view! We had lunch in the shelter cairn, which we were glad was there. We weren’t sure about tackling the ridge along to the next munro if we couldn’t see, we’re only baby hillwalkers with basic skills, and didn’t fancy getting lost. We headed off to take a look, see if we could see the path, swithering about it, and then as if on cue the cloud totally lifted and showed us the way. It was a magical moment, and we both whooped out loud. Really we did. Simple things amuse simple people.
G&SM 5 the ridge.JPG
The ridge

G&SM 4 Annie with Spidean Mialach.JPG
Spidean Mialach in the background

So off we went along the ridge, and we could now look behind us and see the summit we’d just been to. Quickly I took a photo of Annie, and then my camera died. By the time she’d got hers out the cloud had come back! Typical. I promise I was up there! A bit further on and the cloud totally disappeared. Looking ahead at the ridge you couldn’t see a path, but there was a clear one when walking it, it’s nice that can happen so it doesn’t look awful, but it keeps us safe from getting lost. The rest of the day was glorious, gorgeous views, an easy to follow path along the ridge if a bit rocky or climby in places. Hard work in parts, but nothing hard really. Annie spotted a rock that had teeth and two eyes. I wasn’t convinced in real life, but it does kind of look like a dinosaur in the photo…
G&SM 6 stone with teeth.JPG
Teeth and eyes?

And after spotting no-one on the way up, we met a man in shorts who didn’t seem to know where he was (we showed him on his map) and then two blokes, only one of whom could talk as the other one was wearing a fuzzy full face balaclava, which gave us an idea that the route we were about to tackle might be a wee bit cold. Thank goodness for the mighty buff, I may have looked like a gypsy but my ears were happy.
G&SM 7 top of Gleouraich.JPG
Top of Gleouraich

Second munro of the day was a bit windy, but wonderful to see all the way back along the ridge we’d just walked. The view was just wow, with hills literally all around us in every direction, views like that just make me happy.
G&SM 8 hills all round.JPG
Hills everywhere

The route down was good, even the bit before the stalkers path, easy to figure out where to go. I’m glad we did it this way as I think the other way would be harder. Ok, it was a slog on the way up the first munro, but rather that than a slog on the way down! And the views down to the loch were superb. Thank you Mr Walk Highlands for suggesting it this way.
G&SM 9 route down.JPG
The route down

We stopped before the bottom for a cup of coffee and a biscuit, to take in the views. Something made me decide to roll up my left trouser leg. From the knee down I had been feasted on by those blooming midges. Must have been at the campsite as the hill seemed free of the little devils. I knew it was a mistake wearing wellies that morning as it meant I didn’t skin-so-soft that part of me! Big mistake, lesson learned.
G&SM 11 midge leg.JPG

The final walk down was nice, then back to the car which was parked right opposite the end of the track. Perfect.
G&SM 10 view.JPG

All I needed to make the day complete was a midge net that covers your head and the top half of your body, so that you can take your glass of wine inside the net with you and successfully toast your double munro day! If anyone knows of such an invention, please let me know!

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Comments: 8

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User avatar
Location: Glasgow
Place: no place like home
Gear: my buff!
Ideal day out: a not too steep hill, trees, and a loch, not too hard going!

Munros: 48
Corbetts: 17
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 7
Sub 2000: 5
Islands: 7

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Trips: 1
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 1130m
Munros: 2


Trips: 2
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Last visited: Jul 15, 2021
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