Sgurr Fiona, Compleation, a special mountain, a special day

Munros: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 01/07/2017

A couple of years back someone started a thread ‘Saving A Hill For Last’ asking folk on which mountain they would like to compleat. For me, and some others, there was never any question, it had to be An Teallach, a true mountain, and I would be true to my reply on that thread. Curiously it was two years to the day, of that thread :wink:

I had summited my penultimate Munro back in September 2015, on Sgurr Dubh Mor on Skye, so it was almost 2 years before I would reach the summit of Sgurr Fiona. I had been close back in October 2012, in awe at the scenery on such a beautiful day, it was on Bidein a Ghlas Thuill before the realisation we had missed the summit of Fiona, having approached via the bypass, but an excuse to return, although none was really needed.

So it was a fair gap from that penultimate mountain to my compleation. It hadn’t been a good time and to be honest I had contemplated never compleating, after all it was just a number :(

Some say they are not looking to ‘tick’ hills, maybe not, but at some point they do, that certain milestone, 50, 100, 141 half way, 182 (only double figures remaining) etc. It is a journey, and despite anyone’s feelings about lists it gives some format, structure, to covering the many areas of Scotlands mountains, a huge challenge in itself.

But at the Christmas bash in December 2016, which I nearly backed out of, I arrived late into the festivities after work, greeted with kisses and hugs, and that was just the blokes :lol: , but as the evening became early morning I was approached about my compleation. Approached, gently persuaded, maybe a little bit of cajouling too, but in a kind way, my true friends knew, to set a date. My friends knew it had been a difficult time, but they also knew it was something I needed to do, and with their help, some of it alcoholic no doubt, a date was set. Maybe I had an epiphany :D

The plan was to ascend by the path from Dundonnell, not least as there would be some less experienced folk. But also to traverse the Corrag Bhuide Pinnacles. An Teallach has two Munros, but the true heart of the mountain lies beyond these two summits which can be picked off easily from the Dundonnell side, but to say you have ‘done’ An Teallach, having just summited the two Munro’s, well, you’re only kidding yourself. The true adventure lies in the traverse.

So, the arrangements began, mostly behind the scenes, as given my state of mind there were well founded fears that at any point I would succumb to the emotion and back out :( , and there were many occasions when my anxiety came to the fore and it would have been so easy to cancel. Life could be so much easier without emotion, so easy to slip back into any situation without a care, without the need for friendship, happiness or love, almost robotic, no point in living.

But to quote Spock :lol: , the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and as the date came nearer I began to look forward to it, in no small part to the Chief Organiser, Debbie, the numerous communications and the arrival the day before of the Essex Crew. I had heard of a ‘Secret Covan’, their identities still secret as I write this, formed to ensure the day’s events went smoothly and to keep watch over me, before and during the event.

I penned an invite list way back at the start of the year and was glad I had not left Sgurr Dubh Mor on Skye as my last, given its tiny summit, as my list had 85 folk in it, not that Sgurr Fiona is that big. But I knew that number would slim down.

The Aultguish Inn was set as the venue for the post Compleation celebrations and I was under strict instructions not to be driving beyond that point to the start of the walk. Superhero’s was the theme, my nickname of the past 30 plus years influencing this.

I ordered a T Shirt for myself, not in the theme itself, but just a reminder of the effort taken to Compleat, and also to ensure that I was at least carrying the names of absent walking friends, both human and canine that couldn’t be there.

Fast forward to the 1st July 2017 and arrival at the Aultguish Inn and my chauffeur driven Porsche to the start of the walk awaits, festooned in balloons, a large spider across the boot, and the erm flags, with images of me, which I confess I had posted, now came back to haunt me.


Group photo, superheros


Part of the Secret Covan maybe? Loving the vinyl :wink:


Arrival at Dundonnell and as is tradition pre-walk drinkies and snacks


Also in the superheros theme


More arrivals at the start, jeez will we all fit at the summit??


The T shirt, front view


The weather had been kind, at least from a precipitation perspective but the increasing wind became a challenge. At the col between the two Munro’s there was some respite on descent and for a while it cleared, just a teasing reminder of such a special mountain.


The group made their way to the summit in the usual manner to await my arrival. I had held back as one of the Essex crew was unwell on the approach but once sure he was on track, I made my way up.
Can’t quite believe it, but no tears.


Even the GPS is pointing down at the summit


My daughter had joked about bringing the tissues, but much to my surprise I didn’t need them, but as I write now I cannot help but well up. A huge hug.


Summit celebrations, and I made the teenager have a dram (don’t tell mum)


T donning the shower cap, one of my trademarks apparently :lol:


The gusting wind had put paid to any thoughts of traversing the full An Teallach ridge, so we all retreated to Dundonnell and the Aultguish to continue the celebrations. I must confess that despite the wind I felt rather warm at the summit, can’t think why.

My good friend Jonny arrived in customary compleation shirt. Jonny couldn't make the start for the walk, but we won't say here, 'What happens in the hills, stays in the hills' :lol:


And the evening has only just begun, no summit but it never stopped a languish


The evening with family



And gifts, I had a spot reserved for An Teallach and now I can fill it


And good friends


Willie and Jonny, the comedians, laughter tonic on and off the hills


The ladies


My good friend David main, huge credit for the photos, which you may have noticed I’ve used here.


Huge thank you to my chauffeur and organiser, Terry and Debbie, I cannot thank you enough.



Gifts, overwhelmed to say the least


Folk often wonder what next after compleations. I have and still do, for sure. Not just in the walking itself but life :?

Living in Miltonduff, I continue to walk, I’ll not be looking to redo the journey, although I’m already 60 plus Munros into round 2, and my good friends have more earmarked as I join them on their own journeys, but most of all I enjoy helping others, and not for my own self-serving.

It has always been my passion, my thing, each to their own. Some try it, get the bug, others just don’t get it and some fall somewhere in the middle, thinking it may add an element of adventure in their lives, something to prove, without never really appreciating it for what it is, actions as always speak more than words ever can.

It can be many things but for me it has always been the simple enjoyment of being in the wilds, self sufficient, be it alone or with true friends, where one can lose oneself (literally in some cases) or maybe even find oneself.

It can leave a void, a huge one, not just in the pursuit of hill walking but in life itself, is there anything left to do, what next, where does one go from here, Miltonduff or elsewhere, I don’t have any of those answers, yet, but I’m told its ok not to have the answers, something not easy to accept :?

I’ll end my ramblings with a heartfelt thank you, to my family who have endured my passion, for my children and my long-suffering wife, for which I’m deeply sorry, but it is what makes me who I am :D . Thank you to my many true friends who know me too well and will understand how truly humbled I am to have you as friends and feel that I didn’t deserve such a wonderful compleation, the photos, the gifts which I’ll treasure, and most of all the friendship and memories, I hope there will be many more :D .

Finally, not to forget. I didn’t post a photo of the back of my T Shirt but it was in memory of my dear friends who never made it this far, to Fitzy and Eric who tragically succumbed to cancer some years back. Also to my two Springer dogs, Sam, and my walking companion Holly, who I miss dearly :(

I'm conscious that I can't include everyone in the photos or mentioned each and everyone of you, but you all know who you are and I will never forget such a special day, Thank you x :D

‘Come with me and climb the mountains and get their good tidings,
Natures peace will flow into us; the winds will blow freshness into us;
And the storms, their energy;
While cares will drop off from us like autumn leaves’

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User avatar
Location: Miltonduff, Elgin
Interests: Mountaineering, Landscape Photography, beer & whisky
Activity: Mountaineer
Pub: Old Brig
Mountain: An Teallach
Place: Inverpolly
Gear: crampons,
Member: None
Camera: Olympus E620
Ideal day out: Winter anywhere, ridge walk, priceless.
Ambition: Cant say.
Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 74
Corbetts: 15
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 68
Hewitts: 109

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Distance: 37 km
Ascent: 910m
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Joined: May 18, 2011
Last visited: Dec 11, 2017
Total posts: 1382 | Search posts

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