Munros: Binnein Mor, Na Gruagaichean
Date walked: 04/12/2016
Time taken: 6 hours
This was not my first walk, but I had such a great day I thought I'd make it my first walk report.
I arrived in Kinlochleven shortly before sunrise. I parked in the car park near the Co Op rather than the one next to St Paul's church, mainly because I didn't fully appreciate they weren't the same car park. As it turned out, this meant that I had to walk over the bridge, past the Ice Factor. A very friendly dog who had been hanging out just outside the Ice Factor came running over to say hello, with no humans in sight. After following him around the village for a while, I managed to catch him but there was no tag. To cut a long story short, I eventually left the dog in the care of the Ice Factor staff. As far as I'm aware, he had a great day climbing. If anyone from the Ice Factor is reading this, thanks very much!
Anyway, I eventually set off toward the mountains at about 9. I only remembered to start up my GPS when I was out of the village, thanks to the dog-based excitement. As I gained height, I made good progress, but the cloud was looking like it was firmly entrenched and not moving anywhere fast.
The view back to Loch Leven:
The view south to the bookle:
Telling myself that the MWIS is never wrong, onwards I marched, to arrive at Loch Eilde Mor shortly before 11. The cloud had yet to lift so it made for some dramatic photos:
I walked above Loch Eilde Mor, carefully picking my way across a couple of ice patches, and turned left to make the final ascent up to the ridgeline:
Finally reaching the ridgeline, I was still firmly in the cloud. Oh well, this was not the first time this had happened. Still a nice day out, I thought.
Wee cairn at the minor summit:
I debated whether or not to bother going to Binnein Mor. I eventually decided to go for it, because I'd be annoyed with myself if I didn't, even without any views. However, as I made my way along the ridge, the cloud seemed to get that little bit less grey, and I tried to suppress the faint tingle of hope that it might lift; these thoughts usually lead to disappointment. But this time, about 20 paces away from the summit, I suddenly realised that I was emerging from the cloud, to a glorious view across to the few other peaks emerging from the clag. Not only that, but a brocken spectre that was incredibly intense and pretty much never left me the entire time I was at the summit. After putting the dog's coat on, I stayed for about 20 minutes, taking many many photos and videos, and eating my lunch to the best scenery I've ever witnessed.
After I had eaten something, I eventually had to admit that it was bloody freezing so best to make a move and warm up a bit. The dog was also complaining, despite her fashionable attire. So we headed back to the minor summit, and then along the ridge and up to Na Gruagaichean. This time, I remained firmly in the cloud, but I couldn't care less. Heading along the ridge over Na Gruagaichean, I eventually started to come down out of the cloud. The walk description suggests a "rough, pathless descent" and this was certainly true. About halfway through this ordeal I looked back to the top of the ridge to see that the cloud had finally started breaking up:
As I neared Kinlochleven, the long winter sunset started to show, giving a great display along Loch Leven:
I got back to the car about 3:30, extremely satisfied. I hadn't seen another person the whole time on the hills. It felt like I had been in another world.
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