Back on the mountains…
A month must have passed since I pulled myself over the top of Central Gully, and stood in awe, gazing at the superb inversion that greeted me….. A couple of wee trips to Dunkeld saw my mountain addiction only partially fed though….
A Late Spring snow fall finally tipped me over the edge! Big, massive snowflake filled the skies above Perth on the Thursday and come Friday the mountains were teasing me with their big fat white coats on….. “We won’t be wearing these for long” came the message ! I broke and my usual routine of spending Friday night finishing up my work and loose ends was replaced by a frantic haul around my utility room (read mountain equipment room with a few white kitchen appliance goods) throwing crampons and gear in the back of my favourite red rucksack! I was soon off- headed for the Munro that had teased me earlier. Evening ascents are not unusual, especially from this time of year onwards, but doing them in such good winter nick certainly was a little strange!
As I arrived at the familiar parking spot near Advorlich House, I noticed one car left, suggesting either someone was later setting off or had a similar idea to myselfJ
I was soon striding up the hill, through the gates and past the classic signs of Spring –lambs – lots of lambs. Usually close to their mother but on the occasion when they hadn’t sensed me coming they soon scampered, bleating for their mothers… weather and life can be cruel and I later found a few lifeless lambs who had succumbed to the colder weather….
As is usually the case, the snow started becoming thicker underfoot soon after passing over the finally bridge before headed in to Coire Buidhe…. It was deep and wet making it a little slippery! I soon met the owners of the last car; we exchanged pleasantries and set off in opposite directions. The weather was also improving. It was still bitterly cold with an icy wind, but the cloud was starting to break from the west. The weather front was moving east, the dark clouds were being replaced by broken, sunnier skies to the west. It made grand viewing, the white peaks were now catching the light as the sun lowered to the west, but black clouds provided a suitable contrast in the background.
Onwards I went up a slope that has seen my footfall many times, might be my go to hill, perhaps – but there are a few others that maybe hold a better stake to that accolade ;)
The snow was deep, and a found myself thigh deep at times. This was great fun – a taste of winter when summer beckons. I was soon at the top and the views were magnificent. Today the star attraction were the Lomond Hills in Fife. Snow covered and illuminated by the setting sun, they looked fantastic. After a short break I decided to head down, a slippery descent but soon I was enjoying a few well deserved beers…….
It was a grand trip, but MORE beckoned. My thirst had been quenched but no excuses are needed to get out! The other half of Steaming Boots was returning from holiday and had a rat to feed!
A late start saw us trying to miss the band of rain as it moved eastwards. A number of plans had been hatched but plan B was decided upon. An ascent of Ben More (again!) but by an unfamiliar route. The East Ridge. We set off and before long had fences to climb and it seemed a combination of nature and manmade obstacles, were trying to block our way to the summit! Numerous signs for open hillside now had diversions and much construction is occurring on this side of the hill – not too sure what it is but a wilderness it certainly is not! Perhaps due to this, this is a side of the hill not frequently visited by hill walkers. Open hillside was crossed and no paths, a nice feeling and not another soul was met once we had left the construction site. Weary weekend warriors reached the summit in cloud. However we didn’t have far to drop down to enjoy some views over the Stob Binnein (or is that Stuc a Chroin;)). Good craick and good to be out. Am now back on an even keel with my addiction under control …. For now…….
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...