An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin 27 & 28 – Good Times!

18 08 2014

I watched the weather from the car window as I drove past Loch Lomond. Dark menacing clouds hogged the hills and intermittent rain showers and bright sunshine had me flipping the sun visor and window wipers alternately, whilst wondering if “it was gonna lift”. As I got to the car park just south of Crianlarich, I headed on. I’d go see what Glen Coe was like. Not in any great hope that it would be better, but you never know and it was at least an opportunity to return to my spiritual home.

I arrived at Glen Coe to be greeted with rain, and more rain. I parked up at the cairn car park (empty) and pondered what to do. I was doing something today, there was no way I was going to be defeated. A couple of cars arrived. I watched as a group of walkers got out got dressed and got soaked as they huddled together consulting maps and guides. I started the car and left, heading back to Loch Lomond to the original destination.

The change in the skies was noticeable when I arrived back the car park. Although still clinging to the tops, the clag had lifted somewhat and the rain had stopped. I geared up and set off. I had taken the decision whilst on holiday that I would make a concerted effort to not get to the top of all the munros by the time I am 55, and that in doing so, I would make  my designated charity. This charity was started by my friend Corinne, who developed septicemia last year and as a result of trying to save her life, she lost both her feet and hands. She is an incredible woman and has turned her life around in this short time and is now helping others to regain their lives after similar circumstances. I will have a just giving page up and running soon.

Beinn a'Chroin, almost at the top with Finding Your Feet

Beinn a’Chroin, almost at the top with Finding Your Feet

A relatively easy plod up the grassy slopes saw me enter the clag and with it came the wind. After about 20 minutes I was needing my walking poles for balance and wishing I had goggles with me as the whipping rain stung my face and eyes. I arrived at almost the summit of An Caisteal quickly and managed to avoid it by scrambling around to the left where I spotted the second cairn summit and stopped for a picture.

I packed my camera away in a rush as the wind was threatening to blow my rucksack and walking poles off the hill and my jacket was being inflated by the buffeting wind and threatening to get me airborne any second. “Why the hell do I do this?” I thought as I slung my pack on my back and headed down towards my next target. At that point, at my most dismal of moments, I could hear something through the noise of the gale, it sounded like a guitar!. Then the wind dropped and I heard it clearer…….. Good Times, these are the Good Times…. Well fuck me it was Chic! I had obviously pressed the music player on my phone as i chucked it in my rucksack, and what a tune to select! I burst out laughing at the irony of it d to let it play a few times as I descended to the bealach between the two hills where I stopped, switched the music off and had some sandwiches.

I set of for the next one, happy that at least if I didn’t make it – visibility was pretty low now and I wasn’t sure if the path went all the way – I had at least started my Finding Your Feet campaign off with one success!

I found it relatively easily, however a view would have been quite nice as I’m reliably informed that these hills are “a nice wee walk”.

Getting a bit windy now!

Getting a bit windy now!

So, having completed both, I headed back down, knowing that a relatively long boggy walk out ensued. It did indeed, not however before I managed to take the wind out myself with a rather sudden meeting with a rock slab. So often the tragedies occur on the descent! I am a reasonably surefooted chap, and I can generally move quite quickly downhill on slippery surfaces, however today, I got it wrong. On a sloping wet slab, I confidently stomped downhill whilst looking into the distance at the clearing hillside. The next thing I know, I’m up in the air, and my back and arse are about to make contact with the slab of rock and boulders. I’m thinking “Don’t break anything here Bobby, it’s a long walk out!” whilst still in mid-air. I landed full force on my back, the wind knocked clear out of me and my back, asre and elbows telling me in no uncertain terms that they had met the rock harder than they wanted to.

I lay for a minute trying to breathe and sounding like Alan Partidge as he vomited all the way through his Dante’s Fires presentation.

When I realised that nothing was broken, I got up carefully and felt pleased that Pete had not been here to witness it. Thankful for my blessings I continued on,both  the valley below and my car were waiting for me in the distance.

28 done now, I need to do 2 a week to get them all done……….. big ask!




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