My first Munro

Route: Schiehallion

Munros: Schiehallion

Date walked: 02/11/2018

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 10km

Ascent: 731m

This was harder than I expected but afterwards, so pleased with myself for doing it. Easy to find, car parking (and toilets!) and a friendly robin, plus gorgeous clear sunshine and a good path- to start. Once the ascent starts the path is still good, rocky in parts which my knees complained at a bit after the steep ascent day before, but the views and the quiet just pulled me along. Couple of walkers came down, encouraging, plus I thought I could see the summit so felt confident I could get up and back, especially with such clear light. This all changed as I got higher and by the time I reached the big cairn, the weather had closed in, and it was much colder and I realised the summit was much further and higher. I couldn’t see an onward path across the boulders so found recent boot prints in the icy snow between rocks and followed those upwards. Got a bit close to the edge on my left for my liking but kept going up, in those footsteps, and felt the first flurry of snow across my face. Summit seemed to be further away and going over those boulders was hard, and slipped a few times. Kept going though it felt hard and still not sure I could find the actual summit as the cloud had come right in, as well as a cold wind with plenty of snow whirling around. Still slippy and uneven underfoot but plodded on. Thought I’d reached the summit but could see it a bit ahead across a short ridge so went over and the cloud lifted in time to take a short video of the 360’ view. Delighted to have made it and a couple of walkers arrived up so we could take photos for each other. Very cold so no stopping for tea or sandwich, just a quick cake bar as I picked my way off the top. Followed some boot prints at first but then lost sight of them on the rocks and went too far to my right and realised I’d dropped down below the shoulder and was in among some serious craggy boulders. Decided it was quicker to climb up (feeling a bit worried) so scrambled and stretched till I got my head up to the top, and was relieved to see the earlier couple through the cloud. They waited till I was back up on the more level part and I was able to follow them down, much to my relief on that bouldery icy section. We stayed to our left (away from the craggy drop to the right where I’d found myself) and I realised there was a faint path and several cairns on this side, eventually bringing me back to the big cairn. If on the way up, I’d headed up to the right from this point, I think it would have made that part of the ascent a bit easier- hindsight is great! Lots of mountain hare and bird footprints along by here and scared up a couple of ptarmigan as I passed. Meanwhile, kept the walkers in sight and of course, the path became clearer heading down through the cloud and out of the snow. Magnificent views compensated for my aching knees (passing some walkers on their way up, although it seemed late in the day to me, as sunset was just an hour and half away) and of course, got warm and took off the extra layers for the last section. Heard, then saw a wren very close up towards the end, and felt pretty proud looking back at the mountain, my first Munro.
What I learnt from this first one: take walking poles even if it starts on an easy path. And maybe get a Munro pal, for those moments of doubt when you can’t see a path and the weather is against you.

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Comments: 7

Ben Vrackie: Second choice walk

Corbetts: Ben Vrackie
Date walked: 01/11/2018
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 720m
Comments: 1
Views: 627


Activity: Mountaineer
Mountain: Yr Wyddfa

Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1

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Trips: 2
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 1451m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Oct 29, 2018
Last visited: Jan 05, 2020
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