No blog last week due to Dorina & I enjoying a wonderful 10 days in Scotland relatively midge free & good weather most of the time. I enjoyed showing Dorina as much of the Highlands as we could fit in & she loved it all apart from the an hour or so when daggerred stares were clearly being focused on my back!
Having done a 9 mile run on the shores of Loch Lomond, followed by the great ridge ascent of Ben Lomond & then another 8 mile run along Lomond’s shores all within 25 hours my increasingly dodgy knee also got rather upset with me but thankfully as I packed the running shoes along with the tent away for a few days it slowly began to recover to allow us to enjoy some stupendous drives through Sutherland & more casual walks along some stunning & isolated beeches.
Having behaved for 6 days we arrived in Aviemore for 3 nights, soon the Roclites were out of the bag & to my relief a quickish 7.5 miler was completed without a major hobble on Wednesday evening. This was then followed on Thursday in perfect weather with us summitting Ben Macdui, along with Cairn Gorm & 3 other peaks. I had first set eyes on Ben Macdui nearly 4 years ago but despite a glorious morning on that day a 70 mph January storm was steaming in & Neal & I sensibly settled for 4 peaks & pulled out of the long out & back traverse to it’s huge domed summit. Great to have bagged it at last.
Now back to those daggers, having seen at close quarters a large group of Deer which included 2 White stags we reached our final summit of Lurcher’s Crag. A late lunch was enjoyed, I studied the map (I like to think I’m quite good at this) & concluded there’d be a path straight down it’s ridge before a level traverse back to the car park at the Ski Lift. All went to plan until half way down when the feint path decided to disappear, no problem, great visibility ‘we’ll just do it by sight Dorina’, ‘but there’s a path well over there to the left Paul’, ‘yes but that’s a long way round when we’ll need to head right at the bottom of this ridge, there’ll be a path that we cut into lower down’.
As the ground got trickier Dorina’s energy seemed to drain, don’t think my right leg disappearing into a bottomless hole up to my waist helped ensue her confidence in what we (well actually ‘I’) were doing. Eventually I conceded to aiming left & aimed towards the super highway type path of Dorina’s desire when low & behold a new path heading right & direct to the Car appeared ‘it’s obvious Dorina this cut through is the direct route from the super highway to the Ski Lift’. The path was clear & good until at a line of stones it simply stopped but we were now somewhat committed.
The next 45 minutes were some of the least pleasant minutes I have ever experienced in the mountains, I didn’t fully explain to Dorina my comment of ‘Now stay very close to me through here’ at the time but it was basically said because there was a very real risk that one of us was going to step into a bog (there was more bog than terra firma) & would need the other to pull them out. To make matters worse we would need to descend, traverse & then re-ascend to reach the car park including cross two small rivers & a number of tributaries. Thankfully nothing serious happened, the weather & low water in the rivers helped but it did take a bit of gloss of an otherwise wonderful day in the Cairngorms.
We are laughing about it now but I still sense a glint of a dagger in my Angel’s eye when she talks of having to remove her boots & socks to wade across the final icy river!
We arrived back on Friday afternoon in time to help Gaby at the Cafe on Saturday morning where the BBC presenter Matt Baker together with 40 or so Children in Need volunteers were rendezvouing first thing. Morning coped with but when will Dorina ask Gaby? By this I mean I had entered the Petzl Coed y Brenin Night Race starting at 6:00 pm & wanted Dorina to come along & support me, surely Gaby would have no problem with my logic ‘Gaby you know we came back 2 days early to help you with the BBC, surely we deserve an early finish on our first day back’.
With Dorina showing no enthusiasm to ask the question I picked my moment (no knife in Gaby’s hands) & went for it! Despite clear shock at my audacity to her wonderful credit I heard a muted yes slip from her stunned lips.
The Petzl race itself was simply great but I’ve prattled on enough for one blog so watch this space later in the week if you want to find out more.