Number 7 – the other one on the Aggy Ridge

23 08 2010

Staring into the misty, howling chasm below his feet, Peter wiped the rain and sweat from his brow, felt his heart thump in his chest and focused on the wet sloping ledge which lay some ten feet away and some five feet below him. One leap of faith was all that was required, no way back, only onwards to glory and that valued “tick” he so treasured. All that stood between him and his prize was this cavernous void which fell on all sides below him. One slip and he would be swallowed up, one hesitation and it was over, the drop below would suck him in and spit him out. He tightened his rucksack around torso, scraped his feet on the wet slimy rock to get some purchase and, with every ounce of energy he could muster, he leap into the air like a long jumper trying to out jump the sandpit. Arms and legs cycling and grasping in slow motion at the thin cloud and mist, his body flew across the gap searching for the wet sloping landing pad. He hit the ledge cleanly and true, both feet landing soundly on the rock. His hands grasped the flake on the vertical wall and his fingers dug in behind the flake gripping the wet rock tightly. He looked over his shoulder and below into the bottomless pit. A hint of a smile briefly crossed his face. He shook the rain and sweat from his hair and spat contemptuously down into the chasm below.

He hauled his young fit muscular body up and over the rock pinnacle and stood atop the mountain. Arms akimbo he surveyed the glen below in all its glory just as the sun broke through the cloud and mist and spotlighted him in his glorious triumph.”  ……….

Bobby!!, how the F*** am I supposed to get doon there!” Pete shouts through the drizzle.  

“Slide yer arse doon that soakin slab and then either dreepy or jump.” says me.  

“My feet canny reach, and the rocks soakin and the holds are all slopey.”  

“Jump then, I’ll grab ye if ye slip.”  

“Where do we go after this? it’s no up that pinnacle is it?.”  

“Eh…, aye.”  

“Aw F*** Boaby, yer kiddin?”  

“Naw, just jump.”  

Needless to say Peter jumped, landed fine and of we went over the pinnacle (eventually, after me taking the wrong detour and nearly ending in a horrible scree strewn desperate gully) and found our way to almost the summit. 

Peter at the Summit, me at my own summit

The day started poorly and as we arrived at Glen Coe, the Jimmy Saville Car park, the rain was pouring and the ridge was completely clagged in. We got ready and began our plod uphill to the start of the ridge proper. When we arrived at the first downclimb, I could see the apprehension and years of aggy ridge folklore bubbling over in Pete. Peter followed me down and in minutes we were in the gap and I think Pete was wondering what all the fuss was about. We moved on to the next difficulty, a gully through one of the pinnacles, and although a bit apprehensive at first, Peter was soon moving up the gully with ease. With poor weather and wet rock, a lot of the atmosphere of the ridge was lost to us. I have been up here 3 times and each time the conditions have been different. As we found our way along, the summit cairn on the second summit began to appear out of the mist. Some avoidance was necessary. See picture left. 
We made our way down into the glen and as we moved through the clag, the scenery was breathtaking. Pete was struggling with his knees so I waited at the car park at the lochan. When he arrived he had made his mind up he was thumbing it to the car park at Jimmy Savilles Hoose.
Feeling rather fitter than usual, I opted to walk back to the car taking in the views into Ossians cave on the way.
I have become a walker. Oh shit! 

Stob Coire Nan Lochan from the Aggy Ridge




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