Musings about wanderings

Month: May 2012

Glencoe 4MAY12 – 6MAY12 Pt3

Up early again on the 6th. Mainly due to forgetting to pull the blind across the skylight thus the sun at 5:30am was bright and filling the van.

After a quick breakfast, it was time to break camp. The awning came down pretty easily but was a little damp from dew so some time was spent drying it with a towel. It will need some airing.

I was pretty much ready to go about 8:30am but I don’t like leaving the site without saying goodbye to the wardens. So headed off at the back of 9am.

The road was pretty quiet with most of the traffic coming towards Glencoe, people heading for the hills.

The weather did turn nasty with rain, hail and snow. And there were the usual set of mental overtaking manoeuvres. At one point a car overtook a horse box on a blind left hand bend and I had to stand on the brakes to let him back onto his side of the road.

But nothing more that that (and the usual crawl through the M9 roadworks, the signs should say delays inevitable). Home by noon and van unloaded by half past.

A fantastic trip and I’ll be back to Glencoe when I can. I got the weather and the scenery.

Glencoe 4MAY12 – 6MAY12 Pt2

Woke pretty early on the 5th. It had been pretty cold overnight. I’d left the heater on and the combination of that and my new sleeping bag (good down to -2C) meant that I was comfortable. Got up around 7am and got ready for the main event of the holiday, the climb of the Pap of Glencoe and Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh. I had a path from Walkhighlands and could see it from the site. The site had a fantastically simple but effective idea. They kept forms in the office so you could tell them where you were going and when you’d be back so if anything did happen, they could call the necessary services. So left the form and walked into Glencoe village to the start of the climb. At first the going was steep but not too bad but then the scree started. I reached the base of the dome of the Pap without too much difficulty.

However, at this point the path that looked clear vanished in the loose rocks. As a novice hill walker, I was concerned about climbing this and, tail between my legs, headed down. It would have been somewhat embarrassing to have mountain rescue called out on my first proper Munroe. As I headed down I met someone following the same route. I hope he had better luck than me. The other plan for the day was Sgorr. I found the path leading up and again it was scree city. But onwards and upwards I went and made it to the plateau at at the top. A quick check with map and compass and I achieved the summit to find someone had nicked the trig point. But there was a small shelter built of stones from the hill so I took off my pack and spent an enjoyable few minutes taking photos and generally enjoying the view. It was well worth the climb.

Time marched on and the temperature must have been around 0 at the top so down I went. Here’s where it all goes horribly wrong. What navigation skills I have deserted me and I picked the wrong path off the summit. This led to a scree filled gully (Clachaig Gully) that appeared to be the way down. I was lulled into a false sense of security by a couple going down the path ahead. They obviously had more experience than me as I ended up crawling off the hill on my backside. After 40mins of bowel looseningly bad scree I was at the bottom and miles from where I started.



But there was a hotel ahead of me and I got a seat and several nods of respect for the way I came down. The hotel is the Clachaig Inn which is famous for its “No hawkers or Campbells sign”.

A glass of orange juice and a bottle of water later I headed back to the van and a hot shower. Dinner was cooked and Dr Who was watched.

Everything we do is a learning process and here’s what I learned.

  • I need experience on smaller hills before tackling the Munroes.
  • I need to learn and practice navigation skills. The book on navigation I have states that most problems on the hills start with navigation errors.

But I survived and lived to tell the tale and got some lovely photos into the bargain. But some learning needs to happen.

Glencoe 4MAY12 – 6MAY12 Pt1

Took a half day Friday from work for the first weekend away in the season. I’ve been wanting to try this idea of taking a half day holiday to get a full weekend away.

So loaded the van and headed off. First stop was for fuel. And here it went a little off the rails. I managed to splash myself with diesel. Trousers and shoes covered. Luckily the petrol station was close to home so back for a quick change and then a restart.

I had a reasonably clear idea of the route to the campsite and thus the sat nav and I had a difference of opinion at a couple of points during the journey. I won and got to Glencoe in about 3 hours. The trip was pretty uneventful apart from the usual set of suicidal drivers and bikers. Some spectacularly bad overtaking manoeuvres were witnessed but reaching the A82 brought forth some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen. It truly heals the soul to see such wild beauty. The A82 passes to the south of Rannoch Moor which is something I’ve wanted to see for a while.

Signed in and pitched up. The first test of the holiday was to get the awning up. This was less hassle than anticipated and in about an hour after arriving I was starting to cook dinner.

Dinner was potatoes and chicken, with the chicken cooked in the Omnia oven. I’ve said it before but this is a fantastic device that lets you oven cook on a hob. And dinner was extra tasty in the fantastic surroundings of the campsite.

The campsite itself is easily up to the best of Camping And Caravan Club standards. Lots of hot water in the dish washing area and loos and everything was spotless.

The temperature dropped with the setting sun so the oil filled radiator was put on and set to take the chill off the air. Early bed as I wanted to get an early start on the main endeavour for the weekend, the Pap of Glencoe.

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