walkhighlands

Hills I'll Never Forget

Munros: Ben More (Mull)
Corbetts: Creach Bheinn (Loch Creran)

Date walked: 18/06/2011

My report is written on behalf of the club I belong to The Forfar and District Hill Walking Club and the weekend meet we all went to in Oban 17th-19th June.

The weekend was to be a special one for me with new experiences that I will never forget for as long as I live when us, the Forfar Hill walkers stayed over in The Oban Backpackers for a couple of days for one of the weekend meets. I’d never stayed in one of these places before and was a bit nervous about it as I’m so used to my own space and solitude. Traipsing around my house in my jammies, hair all over the place and generally looking like a mutton chop but here, it seemed like I might have to act in accordance with correct etiquette, i.e. don clothes, brush hair and do not emit gas from anywhere (people frown on that apparently). Another surprise was having to share a room with 2 of the men Colin Mountain Hopper and Cool Bruce (I’ve lived a sheltered life you see – even my son was an immaculate conception). The looks on the guy’s faces were priceless when they came into our room (4 females) thinking they’d gotten into the wrong room then realising that yes, they did have the right room ha ha ha :lol: .

After a very nice fish supper, most of our group went for a drink the Friday night but I stayed in with Kay as she’d been feeling unwell and after an early-ish night, we were all ready for the off the next day.... I’d set my alarm for 5am much to the horror of the others sharing the room. I slept in. (Note to self – let others set the time)........

Isle of Mull here we come.


Just Leaving Oban on the Ferry

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This visitor was after Kay’s sausage buttie

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Arrived in Mull and we were taxied to our destination. Immediately rummaged in my bag for food as everyone headed over to the water... “Erm, the hill’s that way....!”

After it was explained about the sea level thing, I toddled over to get a dunking in the sea. (Drat. That’s my feet wet – my boots have a leak).


Start of Walk

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Hill Walkers

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Shortly after 9am, we headed on our way to Ben More. We were to be doing something very sweet sounding like “A Horse-Shoe.... including some ridge or other...”

Awww”, I thought, that sounds nice and easy. Just my cup o’ squiff.


Slogging up the Hill

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Waterfalls of Abhainn na h-Uamha

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Just after the waterfall, we had to cross a torrential gushing force 10 river!!! Well, it wasn’t exactly ebbing like a Tsunami but I seem to crack up when it comes to river crossings. I feel I’m going to slip and go floating away with my head under water and my bottom and legs stuck up and flailing about like some nutty haddock.

I crossed the gush, although at one point I was in between rocks doing a ballet split, non-elegantly I might add and stating clearly that I could not move. God bless Lovely Kate and Strong Frank for heaving me over (many thanks).

After some grub and a sit down to mop away the sweat, we got on and headed on up towards Ben More. After a while, I overheard some of the others chattering away.

Blah blah blah, Rhubarb.... Rhubarb....Ridge... Rhubarb.. Rope...blah blah....” they were saying. I didn’t think anything of it so carried on walking and snapping, so happy to be out.


Another Sit Down

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Up we climbed... there’s that mention of ridgey things again...?


Part of Beinn Fhada (on the right)

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The group were great and we all walked at our own paces (I’m usually the one at the back – and it’s not because I smell).

After a short while of merrily trolling along, Kay, who had been in front came down to me and pointed at some rock thing in the distance. “We’re going up there...” she mumbled. She looked puke green. I looked up to see what she was concerned about. My stomach lurched as I turned the same shade.

I’m not going up there” I hoarsely whispered....

We’ll have to”... she said


Er no !

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God, I need to eat....

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Onwards...

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Colin Mountain Hopper (he’d already done the opposite hill by the time we’d got to this point – he eats jumping beans you know)

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After more food, the gang got up and moved onwards... I got a close up look of our first scramble.

Climbing A' Chioch....Good Grief!

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We walked, climbed, scrambled... (me...? grunting and slithering along like a limpet on a shell) until at last we reached the top of the first climb... Yay!!! Made it???


View From Top of First Climb

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During another food stop, I munched away trying not to think about where we were going next. I was hoping that the next scramble wasn’t going to be as scary.


Heart's beating Faster

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Then faster...

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I'll Stay Here??

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Can I Glue Myself to the Rock? No? Ok, I’ll stay put. Phone for a helicopter

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From here on in, I took no pictures or videos until reaching the top. I was racked with concentration, nerves and fear I was going to plummet. The hill side leading up to the summit was narrow, ledgey, and rocky and for me, was quite tricky. Had to have many wee breathers up the rocks with one being a nice conversation with a passing couple who had obvious mountain goat genes in their blood (lovely people took my mind off things). The worst bit and most hardest because I’m small was the scramble up through something called chimneys. When I first clapped eyes on where everyone was climbing, I felt the blood drain. If I could have turned back, I would have given anything to just leave the way I came but that just wasn’t an option. There was nothing else to do but to start climbing. I kept my eyes forward and looked only at the rock before me. Don’t remember how I did it, but nothing got me up those damn chimneys except the encouraging and heart warming words from Colin and Steve saying I could do it and that I’ll be okay when the look on my face said “I’m stuck and scared and can’t go on”. At a couple of points, when my legs were at 90 degree angles (who knew legs could stretch apart that much) and didn’t feel I had the nerve to heave myself up, Steve had my hand whilst Colin was underneath grabbing my bottom to (very politely) shove me up to the next ledge. (One cop’ a feel I’ll never forget in a hurry).


After much heavy grunting, and with help from the lovely angels, I reached the summit...

Can't Believe I got Over That

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My First Ridge Walk and Scrambley Rock Climb

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Ben More Summit (used to have a trig point)

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Can’t put into words what I felt when I reached the top. I was overwhelmed. Kay felt the same. (This was her 2nd Munro and 3rd ever hill walk).


A' Chioch and the Ridge in All Her Splendour

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Descending Ben More (the ridge on the lower left)

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Ben More, on the left (Kay and I have a different name for it...)

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Views Northwards

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We didn’t stop long at the summit as we had taxis booked for 4pm and still had the long slog downhill. Steve stayed with me on the walk home whilst the others headed off before us. Descent was met with a short shower passing quickly and the pleasant company made the rocky path and slippery terrain easier to tolerate...

My Feet are Numb (but we're nearly there)

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I was ever so glad to see the taxi waiting to take us back to the ferry. After the ferry ride back to Oban and a hot shower, we headed out for food. I was ravenous and could have eaten a scabby dog (where’s the Mez when you need her? :lol: ). Kay and I couldn’t get in the steak house where most of the others were so we headed over to an Italian restaurant where I scoffed down.... yes.... steak pie, mash tatties and peas!! :wtf: .

I’d only had one coke shandy and my head was woozy. We didn’t stop out long as we were shattered with our full bellies. I crawled into bed whilst poor Kay had to make another climb into her top bunk bed ha ha. We were going to tuck into a bottle of voddy but neither of us had the energy to move and as we read off names from Kay’s book of funny true names (“Anna Gram” “Winkle Petesake” and “Jelling Cluck” - the hysteria was kicking in now) the other ladies came back after their meal and well earned drink. It wasn’t long before the tiredness kicked in completely yet every time I drifted off to sleep, all I could see was ledges, ridges, rocks and rhubarb...

The next morning, the muscles were complaining at having to be dragged up out of bed. My arms and neck were aching and I walked like a penguin down the stairs to where the food lived. The thoughts of proper etiquette went out the window as the zombie within made the tea and toast during which I muttered the odd grunts of hello to fellow walkers. How can the others get washed, dressed and look so refreshed after the previous hard day’s walking, where as I look like one of Worzel Gummidge’s offspring? Weirdly enough, the only things that were only mildly sore were my feet but as I was just congratulating myself as I walked through the bedroom door to speak to Kay, I caught my toes on the odd shaped stone wedging the door open. If it wasn’t for Kay’s face scrunching up in her attempt to not laugh at my pain, which was the funniest sight ever, I think I might have cried. Laughter’s definitely the best medicine. Once vacated Oban Backpackers, most of the group where heading over to Ben Sgulaird whilst 4 of us (Kay, Colin, Linda and myself headed over to Creach Bheinn.


We started our walk.

Loch Creran

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Ohhh, Here We Go Again

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The views were amazing and weather roasting when we started.

Eastwards

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Hill Hill Hills

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At the end of the path we reached a bealach and nearing Creag na Cathaig the clouds appeared, rolling over us.

Cloudy Creag na Cathaig Image

Colin (President Crag Hopper)

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First Summit of Creach Bheinn (804m)

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Ptarmigan in the Mist

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True Summit of Creach Bheinn (810m) I’ll no be planking that

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We had no views from the summits with the cloud being so thick. It had started to rain so the hat and water proofs came on. It wasn’t long before the clouds dispersed to give us clearer scenery.


Looking Westwards Towards Loch Creran

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Decent was very tough (for Kay and I anyway) and many times we did split-like leaps down the hill side. Colin and Linda always kept an eye on where we were (us miles behind usually) and waited on us politely as we ploughed our way through the soggy grass and heather with the odd flop onto bottom coupled with squeaks and groans. There were a lot of frogs leaping about (probably trying not to be squidged by us) and once or twice they were just about skewered onto the walking poles making frog kebabs. It was my 10th Corbett and Kay’s first and as she cursed down that hill, Kay mumbled that if all Corbetts were like this, "Cacky Bean" was going to be her last.

Descent Route (bum-slides)

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We eventually arrived back at the pathway, after having to cross another raging torrent (don’t know how my legs got me over that) and with only a short way to go, we slowly walked down towards the car. After saying our goodbyes, Kay and I headed for home.

The day after was spent rubbing deep heat cream in to every muscle, freeze gel into the knee joints (why don’t I live in a bungalow or have a loo down stairs... my garden looked appealing at one point) and moisturiser onto my dry, crusty nostrils (seriously, why does my nose constantly run when out for a jaunt? And no, I don’t have a picture).

Had such an excellent, unforgettable weekend in what I think is one of the most beautiful parts of the country that I had ever been to and will visit again. Kay had an early shift the next day which must have been agony for her but now she’s well and truly back to normal and itching to get out walking again, Corbetts and all...

Me? Light exercises Monday evening made me feel better. Can’t say the same for the toe that caught on the stone and that has now turned black. Just waiting for the toe or nail to fall off but even looking at the horror that stared back at me in the mirror Monday morning and remembering how my body felt, hair a mess, black and blue bits, scraped elbows and knees and muscle weakness, every minute was worth it.

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Merry-walker


User avatar
Location: Scotland
Activity: Walker
Place: Home
Gear: My hat
Camera: Nikon D3200
Ideal day out: To never lose our dogs in the hills again

Munros: 65
Corbetts: 53
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 1
Sub 2000: 5



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Statistics

2011

Trips: 13
Distance: 135.5 km
Ascent: 1700m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2010

Trips: 10
Distance: 87.5 km
Ascent: 2485m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1


Joined: Aug 22, 2010
Last visited: Apr 08, 2018
Total posts: 1771 | Search posts