Inspiration from a courageous and selfless friend

Route: An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin, near Crianlarich

Munros: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin

Date walked: 26/07/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14km

Ascent: 1045m

A few weeks ago, the 6th of July to be precise l attended a funeral of a friend. She was 56 (same age as myself). Without going into too much detail she had health problems from a young age. She was never diagnosed with MS but the symptoms she suffered were much the same. Last year when l met her along with other friends for coffee she broke the news that she had terminal brain cancer and was told she only had months to live. At that point until June this year when she died she showed her determination to get on with life and make the most of things while she was still able. At her funeral there were no hymns or readings from the Bible. She had picked her own poems/verses and the songs that obviously meant alot to her. As l listened to one of her songs l felt a sense of inspiration and the need to get out into the peace and tranquil surroundings of the hills. This is the song that was played.

I rose early at 6.15 (well early for me!!) and was ready to leave the house at 7.10. The forecast was for a warm sunny day with a moderate breeze. The drive up was quite enjoyable with no real hold ups and l arrived in the layby at 8.45. Within ten minutes l was ready to go.

Over the style and across the gravel path to the underpass then onto the track and l was on my way. Unfortunately l didn't walk far enough up to the second gate to get onto the start of the path and veered off to the right too soon.

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The way ahead

Obviously that meant l just had to make my way up the lower slopes with no path to follow. Already the temperature was starting to rise under the heat of the sun. I stopped a few times (well maybe many times) for a breather and to take in the views that were unfolding behind me.

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View back to the layby.

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Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig (I think)

As l gained height more hills appeared.

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Bridge of Orchy hills in the background

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Black Mount hills to the left perhaps

I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with emotion as l thought about the friend who had died and how l grateful l was that l had made a good recovery from ME and this condition l had been living with was not as severe over the past few years meaning l could get walking up these beautiful mountains once again.

The views all around me were now starting to open up.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein towering ahead.

I could now see the summit of An Caisteal :D

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Still a bit to go

I was on my final push up then it was onto the ridge. I was glad l had brought plenty water with me as l was all hot and sweaty :wink:

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Zoomed view of An Caisteal

Finally l was on the ridge. Suddenly there was this gusty coolish wind which was there for almost the rest of the walk up to and on the summit. It probably wasn't that cool but l felt l needed another layer on.

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The ridge and view ahead

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And looking back

As l looked around Ben Lui was now visible.

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Peek a boo

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And zoomed (a bit hazy)

There was a bit of scrambling as l got further up but nothing that caused an issue for me. Just a bit of an awkward step for my short legs to negotiate :roll:

The views continued to impress as l got nearer to the summit.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein with Cruach Ardrain in the foreground

I knew now l was minutes away from the summit and was looking forward to having a seat, a bite to eat and a cuppa.

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One last pull up

It was very windy at the top and after looking around at the views l found a bit of shelter from the wind to sit and admire the surroundings. At this point l was debating whether to continue to Beinn a'Chroin or just be content and happy that l had climbed the one Munro. A fellow walker arrived on the summit. We started talking and it ended up she stayed quite close to Falkirk. She was continuing on to do Beinn a' Chroin and said she would be happy with the company. My decision was made and i'm glad we did meet up as l thoroughly enjoyed walking with her as she did with me too. That's one of the many things l like about hillwalking, meeting lovely individuals who you have never met before yet you feel comfortable to talk about things in your life.

We started our descent and at this point l put my camera away just incase as it's a DSLR so quite bulky. I took a quick photo of our next target.

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Beinn a'Chroin

It took us a wee while to get down to the bealach. There was no major difficulties but just had to be careful as we found it quite steep. We started our ascent up Beinn a'Chroin. There was slight awkward bit for me which required my walking companion to give me a push from behind. Being just five feet and one and a half inches does sometimes have it's problems. We passed the first top and made our way to the summit passing some ponds on the way.

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Looking back to An Caisteal and the first top

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The summit ahead and a hazy Ben Ledi to the far right

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My walking companion taking some photos on the summit

We decided not to do the "other top" at the east side so started our descent. We found a place to sit and have another bite to eat and drink. We could see the path that skirted round the hill before it started to drop more steeply.

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The path and Cruach Ardrain with Stob Binnein in the background.

We were in no rush so took our time and eventually got down to the lower levels and made our way down the path that in places was really quite boggy even following such a dry spell of weather!!

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Looking back to the bealach

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And the walk ahead

I was feeling fine however because we were sheltered now from any breeze it was like a oven. The river in Glen Falloch didn't have much water flowing in it. I love to be walking along beside water as l find it quite soothing.

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No fast flowing waterfalls

We passed the big boulders with their own wee garden on top.

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One of the boulders

I could start to feel my legs a bit weary however we soon reached the track and from there it was an easy walk but due to the heat it was quite a slog. We reached the layby and wished each other well and said our goodbyes.

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The view back up.

All in all l had a great day out and l shared lots of good chat and laughs with my fellow walker. (If you read my report Iona, thanks for the great entertaining company and all the best for your future walks)

Till the next report......hopefully sooner than later :thumbup:

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Comments: 8

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Attachment(s) Grahams: Ben Venue
Date walked: 03/05/2017
Distance: 11.25km
Ascent: 742m
Comments: 3
Views: 1403

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Attachment(s) Munros: Stuchd an Lochain
Date walked: 16/10/2015
Distance: 9.4km
Ascent: 580m
Comments: 11
Views: 2913


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Location: Falkirk
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Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1045m
Munros: 2


Trips: 1
Distance: 11.25 km
Ascent: 742m
Grahams: 1


Trips: 1
Distance: 9.4 km
Ascent: 580m
Munros: 1

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