A stormy weekend in Glencoe

Route: The Pap of Glencoe

Fionas: Pap of Glencoe

Date walked: 09/03/2024

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 10km

Having checked the upcoming long range weekend weather forecast, I was exciting to see sunshine, a few clouds and temperatures around 10C. In other words a perfect weekend to start the camping season of 2024. :D :D :D
Well that it was supposed to be, but as usual one can never trust the weather forecast! :? :roll:

A week later we arrived in Glencoe in the dark and with 40mph winds raging through the campsite, while the outside temperature was only a few degrees above freezing. :wtf: :-| Putting up the tent in the pitch black during raging winds wasn't an easy task and with frozen limbs we finally sat in our sleeping bags, shivering, fully dressed and trying to enjoy a cold dinner (as it was far too windy to put the stove on). A bit grumpy we finally settled to go to sleep and listed to the wind battering the poor tent. The wind speed had picked up through the evening and I had to get up a few times to tighten strings that had come loose. All I could do was to listen to the howling wind that channeled through the mountains in endless gusts and hit the tent with relentless force. The noise was was spectacular, a bit scary and exhausting, as neither of us could sleep. In the end we drifted in and out of sleep until at 8am we finally decided to get up.

Tent in the morning

The morning was not any better than the night before and the wind was gusting at 40mph. 'Have you read the MWIS' Kevin asked me and and at the same time proclaimed that he did not fancy climbing the planned Munros with the forecast of 30-40mph winds. In one way I was gutted, but in the other way I would not want to force him into doing something he did not feel comfortable with. And walking in those conditions aren't easy I knew from past experience.

With no plan B yet, we got ready, had breakfast and checked Walkhighlands for other walks in the area. 'Fancy a day in the Clachaig drinking beer and having lunch?' Lol it was tempting, but at 10am....far too early for beer. 8) :lol:

At the end we settled for the Pap of Glencoe. My sleep deprived mind did ponder for a while...The Pap used to be a Graham, but is now a Fiona, does that makes previous Grahams, who are now Fionas transgender hills?
The thought made me chuckle while Kevin rolled his eyes with a ' you have lost it' look in them. :lol:

I had climbed the Pap of Glencoe many moons ago as the last hill of the Aanoch Eagach ridge, but never by it's own, so I did not mind the repeat at all. With plenty of time we set off from the campsite at noon and walked the 2km to the
starting point along the road. The start of the track was pretty easy and the hills of Glencoe, snow capped under dramatically fast moving clouds looked simply spectacular. The odd sun beam occasionally came out and spot
highlighted parts of the countryside which looked simply stunning.

The first part of the walk

Myself with the lovely backdrop of Glencoe

Simply stunning

Higher up we met two men who had just returned from what sounded like the northern Munro of the Aonach Eagach. One told us that he had to crawl on hands and feet at the top, as the wind had been that bad. Kevin looked at me
with a 'I told you so' look while we moved along.



On the way up

The higher we climbed the windier it got and I was glad that I had packed my super warm down jacket. Climbing up hill with a thick down jacket on, is usually sauna like, but this time it simply kept me warm. Not surprisingly as the wind chill factor was -10C! The views up high were unfortunately quite hazy, which was a shame, but we still got some views. Finding shelter away from the wind, we sat down and to my surprise Kevin presented me with a beer :D Drinking a freezing beer, on a freezing mountain top was a bit of a challenge, :lol: but hey I should not complain...it was tasty after all! :thumbup:


A beer with a view

Kevin trying his best to wish himself into a pub

Views further down

When a snow shower rolled in we knew that it was certainly time to head down. Packing the gear back up, needle like snow flakes hit us , while the gusts made walking difficult. We were glad when we were down the worst part and the winds eased a bit in the shelter of the mountains around us. Happy we walked back the same way we came, while the weather deteriorated around us, but luckily towards the evening the winds had settled to 30mph, which made the second night in the tent that wee bit more bearable.

We had plans to head to the Clachaig during the evening, but at the end another night in the tent, with a few more beers won the vote. It was certainly one of the coldest weekends I had in quite some time, but all in all it was great to be back in a tent...challenging at times, a bit freezing, but a great time out in the mountains.

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Comments: 2

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User avatar
Location: North Ayrshire
Occupation: HR
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: The one which serves beer
Place: Sutherland
Gear: My walking boots
Camera: Panasonic DMC-FZ1000
Ideal day out: Overnight camp on a mountain and some scrambling
Ambition: See the world
Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 88
Corbetts: 54
Fionas: 7
Donalds: 10
Sub 2000: 3
Islands: 10

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Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Last visited: Apr 11, 2024
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