Saturday, 8 August 2009

Away day

Sometimes the lure of far away places drags one away from the Lakes. Much as we love the familiar scenes we know so well, it just gives us a wider experience and is good for morale and training purposes. So with the greater good in mind, we went off in pursuit of a Munro called Beinn Sgulaird. It is renowned for its wonderful views and this piccie of Pete and Bella shows you why. Of course you need the weather on your side and we waited for our moment before embarking upon this classic Munro.

When we pitched our tent at Glen Coe with this short break in mind we did not expect the weather to be so kind or indeed the midges, so our arrival at the foot of the hill with the prospect of good weather was wonderful. The climb itself was quite steep most of the way with cloud covering the top obscuring our objective. This next shot shows me looking away from the summit which is indeed shrouded in mist.

The rest of the way to the summit was rocky with pink granite outcrops becoming increasingly more steep until at last we had the expected small scramble to the summit itself. Quite a large well made cairn greeted us and we thankfully sat down for our well earned bread and cheese lunch (camping is often very Spartan with us) and if you think I exaggerate you should have seen our breakfast! Bella turned her nose up at it as her dog food was much more appetising. But I digress. The summit was 3074 feet high, not too bad but the guide book gave it a time of 3 hours and 10 minutes to reach the top, we took 3 hours and 25. But stopped on the way up to take photos and admire the views.

Coming down we decided to go for the more direct route rather than backtrack keeping the views and that was to lead us into very difficult conditions with long grass hiding tussocks and drops of over 18 inches either side of them for most of the descent. The guide book described it as 'long easy grassy slopes' well I beg to differ; it was vile. Pete was fairly vocal in his descent, but I cannot repeat it here. Neither can I claim to have been immune from some expletives.....I can only give you my advice which is go back the way you came.

That evening the breeze dropped and the campsite was becalmed and dark before rain clouds hovered above us, this meant a retreat to the tent. In the morning decisive action was called for, as the midges were putting their bibs on outside awaiting their meal. Unsurprisingly, Bella could not be pursuaded to be the forlorn hope, so Pete made the sortie and after a mug of hastily made tea we broke camp with alacrity.

The result was worse than the cricket score, I counted at least 15 bites and poor Bella had a tick. Pete has been coy, he has not revealed any damage.

In conclusion, we decided that it was not a good idea to camp in the midgy season and combine it with the rigours of Munro bashing. Probably that is a condemnation of most midge repellents which never (believe me) do what they say on the packet.

1 comment:

Tess said...

Ruddy midges! Such tiny bodies, yet killer teeth! Hope you've all recovered now. Lovely views though, look forward to going to Scotland to do some routes, but obviously not when it's the midge season...