Post avr surgery first munro

Route: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros: Ben Cruachan

Date walked: 24/10/2019

Time taken: 4 hours

Ascent: 1126m

What’s the point” was a longstanding view of mine to hill climbing never mind munro bagging.
July 3rd 2019 I went through open heart mechanical valve replacement surgery. Totally indebted to all teams involved at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. Cardio physio recovery involved a routine of sustained walking. My wife supported me in building up a walking routine. My wife’s comment “I am getting into this walking” prompted a crazy thought...could we manage a munro.

“What’s the point” turned into “this could be a celebration of life”

Online map studies. Walkhighlands stories and posts. You tube videos.... Ben Cruachan was in our sights.

16 weeks post mechanical heart valve replacement...Ben Cruachan bagged!

We still find it hard to take in...a cardiac journey from hospital bed to the top of Ben Cruachan.

The climb....Thursday morning 08:50 start. Yes a bit uphill by the Falls of Cruachan like a training ground for what is ahead. Great views looking back to Loch Awe captured in early sunlight. It is getting steeper, a bit of clambering. Oh here is the style over the fence we noted from videos and posts..a few rungs missing but a gate to squeeze through. The woodland past the falls opens up a bit boggy underfoot..we have not even had sight of the dam yet..Then..Yes there it is..to be honest we thought if we made it to the dam we would be doing well..a dizzy spell combined with turning around quickly with a foot slip brought me slumped on my bum..maybe the making it to the dam will do us.
Reached the dam

On to the dam an impressive man made structure. We expected a straight ladder climb as noted in a video up onto the dam but a flight ladder is here now.
We seen the dam, we saw no ridge, the mist was lying low.
Where is the horseshoe ridge?

Onward then with the welcomed flatter walk on the left hand of the dam. Let’s press on..Up by the series of waterfalls, steeper, more boggy.
The download link from walkhighlands walk route to google earth kept us on track, something we checked a number of times, as the weather was getting worse...rain, wind, mist. We got to the Lochan we had noted in the posts we had read.
The weather was getting rougher with poor visibility. “I am not coming this far just to go back now” my wife said to my more cautious comment “is it wise to go on”

Not going back now

Pressing on then with the clamber, steep, slower progress, heavier breathing. Is that the summit ahead through the mist...is this our first munro? NO...peering through the mist at this ridge...more to go.
Through the mist..More to go

Where have all these boulders come from, it is like someone has dumped then here.
Boulder scramble

We had another false summit...”are you kidding me” “Ben Cruachan never ends” came the shouts.
Never ends

Surely that vague shape through the mist must be it. The boulders are huge. A steep clamber. A few clambers a few deep breaths............THIS IS IT........MADE IT.......16 WEEKS POST AVR...TOP OF BEN CRUACHAN. Just under 4 hours climb.
16 weeks post avr

First Munro bagged


The achievement was there but the views were not. No view. No horseshoe ridge visible to Stob Daimh.
Down again? The way we came seemed the most sensible in the weather. A cautious descent with loose ground.
We were treated to a brief glimpse of the horseshoe ridge as mist cleared on the descent for a time nearer the dam
Horse-shoe ridge glimpse on descent

...next time..better weather...we will manage the ridge walk to Sob Daimh. It is in our sights.

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Comments: 5


Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: Ben Cruachan
Place: Mull
Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 1

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Trips: 1
Ascent: 1126m
Munros: 1

Joined: Nov 04, 2019
Last visited: Sep 28, 2020
Total posts: 1 | Search posts