A huge day and a descent to remember
In which we accidentally climb 2 Monroes
Clapton & Windwood “Can’t Find My Way Home”
[I have added a few pictures that Al had since this was put up.. mainly cos I am in them 🙂]
We got up reasonably early, because we had a BIG day planned.
I had already packed most of my kit, and I headed off with the spade in an attempt to find a suitable location.
I was having a big day too, and I did not fancy scrapping a hole half way up the hill.
I hoped I was not visible as I set in for the duration.
No-one came along (which was a blessed relief in more than one way)
I went back to the Lodge to acquire Tea and Bacon Butties which Mick was cooking up.
More of the usual culprits were there having breakfast.
NO sign of Gerry though.
This was NOT surprising, since along with Pete (Morpeth), I had poured him into his tent at some Un-Godly hour in the morning.
Gerry had attempted the manouvre without undoing the zip.
We had opened the outer for him, but were NOT quick enough to prevent him from attempting the same manouvre with the inner.
Eventually we managed to get him sequestered into his tent and went off to bed.
On my way back from the Spade expedition, I had checked to listen for signs of life.
There was noise, so I went off.
Gerry had enjoyed the previous evening
We had more tea.
Al and Phil joined for breakfast.
It was eventually time to go.
We said goodbye to all the Callater folk, and especially Bill.
Hand shakes and manly hugs were in order.
|Al gives Bill a manly hug (photo Martin Rye, off Al’s Blog)
Next year is the 20th anniversary for Callater, and I promised Bill, that if I did not get a place on the Challenge, then I would go and help anyway.
And so we headed off up a BLOODY BIG HILL.
On the way up, we decided that since Carn an Sagairt Mor was there, it would be rude not to do it.
I often wonder why after a Callater night we always do such huge days.
I put it down to anesthetics.
We slowly climbed the up the track to look back at the wonderful loch.
The weather was quite warm at this stage, although far more overcast than expected.
|Looking back down to the Loch
This is quite a goodly climb, and we stopped frequently on the way up.
Especially as my up-hill speed is faster, I kept pulling away.
At times just seeing Al and Phil as sistant Specs.
Part way up, we met Pete (Morpeth)
Pete was seriously struggling today.
He had had a chest infection for a few days, and so this sort of steep up, was the last thing he needed.
At the time, we hoped it was his chest, because he was seriously struggling for breath at times.
All manner of dreadful thoughts crossed out minds.
By the time we got to the gate, we had decided that we would make sure Pete got up.
Mick had gone off, and Pete was on his own.
We felt he needed some moral support.
Luckily just after the gate I saw Mick, who was waiting.
We had a rest, and then Pete and Mick headed off to Dubh Loch, and we did a sharp left turn to head up to the summit of Carn an Saigert Mor.
Actually, you have done the worst of it by now.
The visibility however, was not good with hill cloud sweeping in.
However, I did see several of these little fellows.
And a bit before the summit I found this
|Remnants of the Canberra that crashed in 1956
There are parts of this scattered around here, and heading down to Dubh Loch.
Here is a bit from last year
|More remnants on way to Dubh Loch 2012
|More remnants on way to Dubh Loch 2012
Al and Phil had now vanished a long way behind me as I reached the first of the two summit cairns.
I dropped my pack and waited for them.
It was chilly, and visibility was intermittent, although it looked like it would clear to a fashion.
Eventually they arrived, and we stopped for a break, and also a photo.
Here is Phil’s timed photo of us all at the summit.
|I still have at least ½ to 1 stone to lose I can see.
I’ll keep at it.
We headed off after a stop to the second cairn, and then we would make our way down, and then eventually up to Lochnagar
|Al and Phil heading off
|View down to Dubh Loch as we descended off Carn an Saigert Mor to the track
It was a goodly hike to the top, passing through a lot of melt water, and also several small snow fields
|Al and Phil heading up one of the smaller ones
The last snow patch was much steeper and bigger, and so I decided to stop and put on the Micro Spikes.
I had carried the bleeding things all the way from Tulloch, and I was bloody well going to use them
|Al and Phil putting on Spikes
So with spikes on I headed across the last patch of snow.
I found that they really helped on this last bigger, steeper section.
But Al had hefty Scarpa boots, and I had shoes, and I think with shoes the beneficial effect is more significant.
The next 3 pictures are Al’s of me on the snow on the way up to the top of Lochnagar
|Al and Phil just coming to the end.
|Distance shot of us c/o Willem Fox
After this, the ground was grass and rock.
I took of the spikes immediately to preserve the spikes against the rocks.
As we got to the flatter ground we saw a Dotteril?, or MAYBE NOT as I am later informed.
So…Day 11 QUIZ
Is this a
1. Dotteril (however that is spelt)
3. Golden Plover
4. Another BIRD
I am not good on birds of the feathered variety, and sadly have few if no opportunities with the other kind.
So we continued our journey heading nearly but not quite to the summit of Carn a Choire Bhoidheach (thanks to Al for that correction – I have fixed the map roughly too) and then we continued our journey over to the Stuic, where we had fantastic views down to the Lochan.
|Al and Phil
|Phil’s picture of Al and I
As we stopped here for a snack the people who we had seen in the distance arrived.
It was Willem Fox and Marianne Grootveld.
I had sent Willem some information about B&B’s in Dornie.
Unfortunately just before he was about to stay there, there was damage to the roof in a storm, but they managed to find alternative accommodation.
I was MUCH TAKEN with Marianne’s pole lights.
Perfect idea for use with a Trailstar.
The white light on the central pole for illumination.
The red light on the door pole for guidance and also hazard warning.
Just held on with cable ties.
“Sheer Genius” I told her, “Why hadn’t I thought of that?“
|Willem’s picture of us on the Stuic
And what has happened to me?????????
What is really EERIE though is the fact that I appear to be being followed by another ME.
I was NOT at the time aware of having an out of body experience
But since I saw this photo, I keep looking over my shoulder
And it isn’t helping my neck get any better.
OOOOHH Cold shivers………..!!!!!
We stayed and chatted for a while, and then we set off.
|View down as we traversed round to Carn Mor.
This was NOT a bit of snow to go and walk on!
|Another View Down
It is a surprisingly long way round to Carn Mor and Carn Beag
|The cairn at Carn Mor
I arrived here well ahead of Al and Phil (again).
Some great views already, and a far cry from the visibility back in 2006.
|Back in 2006
Well, I thought that this was going to be much clearer, BUT as we shall see, the cloud cover increased quite a lot, very quickly, and quite soon.
|Al and Phil arriving in the distance
We did not dally here, but headed across to the main summit at Carn Beag
Fantastic views all around us.
|Al and I on the summit
|Looking down to where we had to go.
|Looking back across the the Stuic
|Second Attempt. The Temperance 3 at the summit.
|Cloud rising from the Valley
|Willem and Marianne on the way up
Just as we were leaving, Willem and Marianne arrived.
They had left their packs a bit further back.
It was about 16.00 now, and we still had a mighty long way to go.
On the way down, we met Vicky and Toby heading up.
They were first timers.
Vicky had posted some sensible questions on the message board, and been shot down by a select few in the normal way.
I had sent her an email with information, and also to say to ignore these people.
We stopped for a chat.
As the remainder of the Challenge continued, we got to know them both well.
They are a great couple, and made of JUST THE RIGHT STUFF.
The sort of younger blood that we need to perpetuate the true spirit of the Challenge.
Well, coming from me, that has probably damned them….Sorry!
As we had been sitting on the summit, the cloud had been closing in.
We could see the mist coming up from the valley.
By the time we had started the descent over to Miekle Pap, visibility was declining rapidly.
We dropped off the side of the hill and descended.
Meeting up with Willem, Marianne and a young chap from Finland, whose name I temporarily forget.
BUT… Thanks to Maria I now know, it was Antti. He was a nice guy.
His Blog is HERE
, but you’ll need to be able to read Finnish.
We dropped down into the boulder field.
A descent that in good visibility is not a problem.
But today, in cloud, with bloody great packs, and slippery rocks, was less than kind to the knees nor the mind.
The following pictures are C/O Willem, who kindly emailed them to me.
They are NOT in the boulder section though.
It was not the place for snapping photo’s
|Me somewhere in the boulder field
We followed the cairns down, although at times it was hard to spot where they were, and the rather large drop that was somewhere to the left was a focus of concentration for the mind.
Also this was NOT the place to break a leg, or turn an ankle over.
We very slowly as a group descended until at last we met the flatter ground and made our way to the track that comes over from Gelder Shiel and goes down to the Spittal.
I was walking with Marianne at this point and making a good pace.
Too good as it happened, because Willem caught me up to say that Al had stopped for a rest quite a long way back, being pretty knackered.
I stopped, dropped my pack.
Said goodbye to them and waited for Al and Phil whilst playing the Harmonica on the rock.
Have I mentioned the Harmonica.
I am no Waggy, on a harmonica, but I can knock out a bit of the Blues.
Mine was in A, a small Blues Harp.
It must have sounded like some ethereal noise whining across the hills.
The call of the Banshee, as they descended the track to me.
We set off again.
Of course, in NO TIME FLAT, I was away on my own.
I carried on.
They were big boys now.
We knew where we were going.
No one was going to get lost
AND.. I had the others in my sights.
By the time we got to the river crossing, I had caught up to Willem and Marianne, and also
Vicky and Toby were there as well.
Just as we entered the woods, Toby had taken a spectacular tumble, on the mud and tree roots.
He was perfectly ok, but I has awarded him 8 out of 10.
I continued my meander to the Spittal talking to them.
And then we were at the visitors centre at the Spittal.
Gear was littered about.
I dropped my pack, and we chatted as we waited for Al and Phil.
They arrived surprisingly quickly.
We went in and lay down on the floor or any seating, and had a Hot Chocolate, since all the Soup was sold out.
Vicky & Toby and Willem and Marianne headed off.
We stayed a while longer….
It was warm and dry.
AND my feet were really complaining today.
They had had enough of this bloody pounding and wanted to stop.
It would have been easy, but we needed to get over to the Sheilin, or at least a good pitch nearby.
We had to head off.
It was a chore.
Part way up, before the little bridge we saw Willem and Marianne putting up their Trailstar.
Just nearby was the Finnish chap, and a bit further on, or was it back????
we had seen Mr Boulter (James).
We chatted briefly but had to crack on.
As we got over the bridge to the top, the Snow was right down over the river, forming a bridge (not weight bearing).
I have never seen the snow like that here at this time of year.
We skirted the snow, and just before the very top, we cam across Pete Shepherd again.
He was in his Akto.
Mick was LONG GONE again.
We had a chat, told him where we were going to pitch up, and said we would wait for him the next morning.
We intended to leave about 8.00am
We carried on.
At the top before the nasty haggy bit, there are some reasonable size pitches, and we stopped to put up tents.
The wind had seriously picked up by now.
I got the Trailstar up with a lot of effort, and then discovered that the Peat soil was too weak for even the longer pegs.
I had to move it another 2 feet to the left.
And there was only about 2 feet of usable space.
Phil turned up and helped hold the pole while I stuck the inner up.
He had come bearing Whisky.
I so needed whisky.
Finally, I got everything sorted.
I needed a meal.
BUT first I popped over to Al with some mind clarifying fluid.
Al was a bit further up, and had gone to his tent for the night.
(As he says, to avoid the snoring)
This was a short visit.
I headed back to my tent in the now very blustery and cold wind.
|Al’s photo of the Camp
Inside the Trailstar it was warm and sheltered.
I made my Bla Band meal.
Mighty fine they are.
Had a nip or three of the hard stuff.
Stuck my MP3 player on
And drifted off to the music of Zero 7.
It had been a Magnificent but long day.
And it was ALL Phil’s Bloody Fault