Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 2   11 comments

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Normal service resumed. The promised bad weather had arrived and was happily splashing everything with a soaking rain when we roused ourselves for breakfast. Plenty of time for a leisurely feast and long discussions about how best to use a wet and grey day in the middle of nowhere that is the Southern Highlands. The forecast had been evolving and it seemed to promise a ramp-down in the rain in the afternoon. In fact by the time we had re-assembled in the car park to continue the discussion in a colder and less hospitable environment the rain had pretty much stopped. While others went to bag munros and dreary corbetts, a select band chose an altogether more unprepossessing route

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A horseshoe around the hills behind the hotel, taking in Ben Inverveigh and Meall Tairbh. We hoped their modest height would keep us out of the cloud and although that didn’t quite work out, it was in the end a pretty enjoyable day – of sorts – and challenging in its own way

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The lower slopes, so often a real grind in these parts was overcome by the West Highland Way and a decent path that took us most of the way to the top. The views weren’t all that bad and we took comfort from the fact it was nowhere near as bad as the forecast from the previous day

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We reached the snowline and wandered across the wide ridge taking in small outcrops and cairns as we went. When the mist came down we amused ourselves with baiting each other with the political and social issues of the day.

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After a brief rest below the first summit we pressed on over a col that on the 1:50k map had no contours over a quite wide area – never a good sign in Scotland. In fact it was drier than expected (for that read, extremely boggy rather than a lake disguised as dry land) and interesting in its own way.

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I found a small and very soggy, wet stream to enliven the climb to the second summit and celebrated its ascent with a fruit pie from Tebay services in the snow (they are well worth a stop on the M6 to stock up for a weekend I can tell you).

The summit of Meall Tairbh was bagged in a white out followed by a long plod down a very boggy ridge and back to Inveroran on the shores of Loch Tulla. I have great memories of this spot. You can park up and pitch on the grass where the road crosses the Allt Tolaghan and we did so many times for winter mountain bagging, retreating to the pub a short walk away to eat and drink. They were happy days. Who am I kidding they were cold days and I much prefer a warm B&B to a cold tent and frozen milk on cornflakes for breakfast. I was kidding they were memorable and fun weekends with a huge number of stories from the archive

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It was a day that vindicated making the effort. Little in the way of views but good company and a fine walking challenge. I would have drawn you a map to show how far we went but Bing seem to have removed that functionality. Looks like I’ll have to pay for some maps. The cheek of it!

 

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11 responses to “Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 2

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  1. Snow! I’m ready for spring now!

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  2. Despite the weather, I’m sure it felt good to be moving around outdoors.

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  3. It’s always a little difficult to get motivated on a not so good weather day, but I’ve always found that it is always totally worth the effort. Our group say, “There’s never a bad day’s hiking!”
    Seems like the case here. Total contrast to the previous day but still wonderful in its own right.

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    • When I was younger I used to go out in all conditions and I can definitely recall some days that would qualify as a bad day’s hiking!! 🙂
      Seriously, I know exactly what you mean, just getting outdoors no matter what, always something of benefit even on the wettest days. We were still lucky this day that stayed relatively dry although the views were a little less impressive!

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  4. We bought the rotten weather with us. Still, like you say, very enjoyable. I thought it was an interesting round and would probably be worth a look on a better day, although in that case there are a lot of tempting alternatives! Have you negotiated a good deal for next year yet?
    Was I too forthright with the EWO? I think I’m a bit too ‘robust’ with my oldest friends sometimes, in a way that I wouldn’t dream of being with anybody else.

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    beatingthebounds
    • I’m very conscious of straying into debate on sensitive topics with anyone other than close friends for fear of upset. I know I can debate/disagree with any of you knowing that there is never any offense and that 5 minutes later we’ll be talking football and complete bollocks :). Didn’t seem to affect you talking teaching with EWO for the next 8 hours (or so it seemed) 🙂
      I really enjoyed the day, all about expectations and the pace of the day. On an easier day as it were there is more time to catch and talk rather than it becoming a route march of summit bagging. A day of small pleasures

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  5. Pingback: Around Orain – Beating The Bounds

  6. That’s one thing I don’t like about the Scottish Highlands. When it’s grim weather there is very little to do apart from soggy bog walks in the pouring rain. Something nowadays I’m more than happy to avoid :o)
    Scotland for the English (who seem to enjoy bleak empty barren wastes and crap takeaways in Highland shitholes) – Lake District for the Scots.(who like civilized entertainments of an evening, dry caves in bad weather, easily reached waterfalls, low level rambles, good country pubs, a fine range of shops,quaint historical towns and villages, bespoke tailoring, and cracking fish and chip shops.)

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    Blue Sky Scotland
    • That made me grin 🙂
      One of the reasons my visits to the Lake Districts are rare is that sense of tweeness that I really can’t stand, especially Grasmere and the like. Its becoming hard to find quiet corners. Give me soggy, boggy Scotland and its chippies any day. I pine for haggis pudding (I have to buy proper haggis online and have shipped in in bulk – my wife thinks that’s hilarious. Mind the propensity to deep fry everything needs a strategic rethink. My first experience of a deep fried scotch pie was a real event

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