Two more from GLEN ETIVE

   Date:  14th August 2016

Distance walked: 14.6kms (8.8mls)

 

Myself and Karen had originally intended to do these two earlier this Summer but for a variety of reasons it didn’t happen. We drove up Glen Etive and we both made mention  of the blue sky and the fact it was forecast to be a good weather day, a rarity in Scotland. Having reached the parking area we were surprised by the number of cars already parked up, even as we got booted we saw several other cars struggling to find space on the steep grassy verge.

Initially headed down toward River Etive before making an ascent up Glen Ceitlein and towards the first objective of Coirean Riabhach. It was a good path initially but it seemed to disappear as we got higher and as usual I just went straight ahead rather than heading around the hill. As luck would have it we found the path again and in good time found ourselves on our way towards Meall nan Eun making sure that I stayed well right of the bealach at 633mts. After  drinks and a quick snack (banana and double decker) we continued to climb but in these perfect conditions (sunny with a small breeze) we made good progress. We managed to work our way around the rocks and reached the summit of Meall nan Eun at 1.20pm.

Despite the clear conditions we didn’t hang around for very long and walked off in a Westerly direction towards Meall Tarsuinn. We initially dropped down to about 790mts before then re-ascending to reach top of Meall Tarsuinn. We continued and dropped down to the 754mts bealach marked on the map before Stob Coir an Albannaich. The banter was flowing and the time and the ascent seems to pass without too much effort. We reached the summit of Stob Coir an Albannaich at 3.10pm and had some more food. The pork pies made an appearance and when I offered one to Karen she was a little wary after her illness in Cairngorms a month earlier. After her initial reluctance Karen finally accepted and there were no rep0rted side effects.

After leaving the summit we headed down across a rocky terrain but not too steep. We were looking for the good wide path off the Southern shoulder of the Munro which we had clearly seen earlier that year when we had been descending off Glas Bheinn Mhor. We plodded around for a bit and after a few minutes we found the excellent path which would take us to the 738mts bealach between the summits and our route back to the car. As we descended I could see another couple of walkers, the first we had seen all day despite all the cars we had seen earlier that morning in Glen Etive. We reached the bealach and turned right on the initially dry and solid path adjacent to the Allt Mheuran. After the first couple of kilometres the path just became a bogfest for the next kilometre. My boots had been fairly dry to this point but they were now soaked, as were my feet. As we got closer to the car the dreaded midge started to make an appearance so we started to make plans to get into the car quickly. Walking sticks were tucked away and Karen got car keys at the ready. As we reached the car at 5.50pm Karen opened the doors, we threw the backpacks into the boot and ran into the front seats. We then looked at each other and just laughted. We de-booted in the front seats and were off soon after.

A really good day. Weather held out and views were decent if not spectacular. Having arrived back at Ballachulish we went straight to the pub (again) and replenished the spent calories. Thankfully Karen has offered to take my boots and place them into the drying room at her B and B so tomorrow they should be reasonably dry. Tomorrow ‘hidden Valley’ excited.

 

Great, Great day in Glencoe and the Hidden Valley

Date:  15th August 2016.

Distance Walked:  12.7kms (7.6miles).

_____________________________________________________________________

Karen picked me up from the Ballachulish Co-Op car park and we headed straight for the car park and the start of our walk off the A82 Pass of Glencoe. We knew the car park would be busy and hoped that we’d manage to find a space, but we shouldn’t have worried as there was only 2 other cars parked up. The initially downhill section is very short before the hard work begins. There were no worries as the sky was blue and the views as we climbed higher were fantastic. It was a hot day and sweat was pouring down. Just ahead of us were a family of four and we’d catch them up before too long. The steep but excellent path continued until we reached the Lochans at the foot of Stob Coire nan Lochan. We stopped for 5 minutes to take in some food/water and the views. Saw several walkers headed up the left flank of the hill but after a short discussion we decided to head to the right to pick up the ridge near Aonach Dubh. Although it was definitely longer we both agreed the views and the experience would be better and we were proved right later that day.

Stob Coire nan Lochan summit.

Stob Coire nan Lochan summit.

Arriving at Stob Coire nan Lochan we saw several other walkers already enjoying the fantastic views. We had more water and food, took the summit photograph and then moved on. At this point we met up with a couple of girls, who sounded like they were from Australia or New Zealand. We’d bump into them several times during the next few hours.

Less then 40 minutes  later we were stood on top of the un-named top at 1150mts. We then continued to descend to the bealach before the final ascent up to Stob Coire Sgreamhach, we had discussed leaving the packs here but decided against it. We bumped into the girls yet again but only one of them decided it was worth the effort of reaching the Munro’s top at 1072mts.  Another quick drink and summits shots taken and we were off again. Views all around were just awesome but as usual I couldn’t recognise any of the other hills despite having been on the top of most of them. After having descended back to the bealach we had our first look at the infamous gully. Karen having read the Walkhighlands walk reports decided to stay on the left but I just zig zagged on what I thought was the easiest route. Just in front the Aussie/NZ girls were using 5 points of contact (their bums being the 5th) as both they and Karen bum shuffled their way down. The way eased off and we reached the ‘Hidden Valley’.

Not long after we met a couple who had European accents. The girl had boots but no pack and the guy had a small pack. As he passed us he said ‘Where does this path go to’ Karen answered and then we moved on. What followed was a 15 minute chat about the safety of walking around Scotland. I don’t want to look like a walking snob, I’m definitely too common to be a snob about anything. I have noticed that particularly on good weather days people go walking with very little equipment, whereas my pack varies very little whatever weather conditions might be forecast. Clearly this couple had very little equipment. For example if one of them happens to have an accident do they have the necessary kit to call for help (whistle) and do they have a basic first aid kit or are they relying on the help of others to provide this. I’ve carried an emergency shelter and other equipment in my pack for possibly thousands of miles and several thousand metres of ascent/descent and never used them (hope I never need to) but I’ll still carry them, ‘Just in case’. Sorry,  for the rant but that day I found it annoying that somebody ill equipped to be on a Scottish hill has to ask another walker where he is going to.. Unless I’m lost (it happens) then I always know where the path that I’m on is going.

Not just the two of us.

Not just the two of us.

Lots of people milling around at the bottom of the hidden valley so I knew we were close to the road. The final 2 kms was easy going along the Allt Coire Gabhail back to the A82 for 4.30pm. After changing footwear, we said our goodbyes and I began the short drive South to Tyndrum where I intended to park up and spend the night before moving on the next morning.

Martin 282

Date: 13th August 2016

 

Distance walked today: 10.2kms (6.1miles)

Following on from the atrocious weather of yesterday I was hoping that today would be better. I woke early and hung around waiting for Karen to pick me up. Together with Andy and David (who I kept calling Chris) we made our way to the ferry terminal. 45 minutes later we arrived on Mull. Short drive to the foot of Ben More where we met up with the rest of the group which included Martin, his 3 children and grandson Jude.

After all formalities were completed we got suited and booted and were off just before 10am. The weather wasn’t playing nicely for Martin’s completion party but we were walking whatever the weather could throw at us. It was pretty wet underfoot and not long into the walk Martin’s daughter (name escapes me) slipped crossing a small river and got a soaking which meant she’d spend the next 5 hours in wet clothes. We continued walking on a fairly decent path and reached the cairn about 12.30pm. Martin reached the top last which I’m told is tradition, we held our walking sticks aloft for Martin to walk under, another tradition.

Foot of Ben More, Isle of Mull.

Foot of Ben More, Isle of Mull.

I’d carried a bottle of champagne up the hill with the intention of enjoying it with friends and celebrating Martin’s big day but not long after we had arrived it began to rain, light at first but then heavier. We decided to head down rather then hanging around. Less then two hours later we arrived back at the foot of Ben More. The rain had died down a little and we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We spent a bit of time deciding where and what we were doing for food but in the end me and Karen decided just to head straight for Ballachulish and Andy decided that he was heading South to the Lake District as he’d not been able to find accommodation near Glencoe.

After arriving in Ballachulish we headed straight for the pub and ordered our food. I’ve got absolutely no imagination when it comes to food choices and went straight for burger and chips (yawn, yawn), washed down with a couple of pints of Belhaven Best.  Headed back to the van and prepared backpack for tomorrow, the weatherman says that it’s going to be a nicer day tomorrow, hope he’s right.

Friends

Friends.

 

 

 

Wet wet wet,

Had originally planed on walking at some point today however the incessant rain in Scotland made sure that wouldn’t be happening. I’m currently in a small pub in Oban enjoying a pint of tenants and occasionally checking the Internet for any Olympic updates. I’m going to pop into one of Obans many fish and chips shops and get something too eat. Disappointed to not have done any hill walking today but I’m looking forward to seeing Martin, Karen and Andy tomorrow on the Isle of Mull.

Mobile phone post:-

Start: 

Finish:

Weather: Clear blue sky in the morning, scattered showers later in afternoon.
Just attempting to create and send a blog post from my mobile as it’s possible that I’ll be sending from this device during my LEJOG walk next year. Not as many features as there appears to be on the laptop. Try to add media.  

Picture added easier then I thought it would be, wippee. 
Distance walked today:

 

Day 1:

Start:   Lands End              Finish:  Pengoon Farm

Distance Walked today: 11.4 miles

Hi, Just messing about with different fonts, colours etc on the blogs page to see if I can just make it a bit more interesting.

Ben Nevis summit.

Ben Nevis summit.

 

 

Update of LEJOG plans

Hi,
Just wanted to add a post updating my plans for my upcoming LEJOG walk next April. It’s kinda frustrating making plans so far in advance in that it just seems to take forever to get to it. I guess it’s a bit like waiting for Christmas when your a kid. I’ve sent texts to both Combat Stress and MacMillan nurses just to let them know of my intention to raise money for their charity and also request a couple of t-shirts. All t-shirts now received. I’ve made enq’s regarding the sending and receiving of parcels from various post offices along the route and purchased a few bags to help with this particular issue.
Having mentioned this walk to a few walking buds I’ve slightly changed my route in order to try and accommodate them. Not really an issue, it simply means that instead of going through Bath I’m going to walk North slightly earlier and head to Bristol instead, to meet up with Andy and possibly spend a night at his bachelor pad.
I’ve even managed to sell my van which I’m then using the money to finance this trip, that’s thanks to Andrew, my window cleaner.

I’m hoping to be able to start pre-booking some of my accommodation in the next few weeks. I know this is a bit of a risk as it means I’m putting myself under pressure to be in a particular place on a specific date. On the flip side if I don’t book pre-book then it means I turn up on the day at a particular location and get hit with not finding anywhere to stay and if I do then I’m expected to pay 3 times the cost if I’d booked it earlier, if there’s one thing I hate then it’s being ripped off. I’ve specifically chosen to stay in Travelodges and/or Premier Inns as much as possible. There not everybody’s cup of tea but I’ve stayed in plenty before. I’m not expecting or needing ‘5’ star accommodation, all I need is somewhere comfortable to lay my head and wash/dry my clothes. Youth hostels I hear you cry, I’d rather pay an extra tenner and stay in a room of my own and Youth hostels tend to be a bit hit or miss and no longer a cheap option particularly around popular areas.

Colour test

Date:  22nd April 2017.

Start:  Lands End                                          End:  John O’Groats

Today distance: 21.2 miles                                 Total distance: 145.7                              Percentage complete: 14.2%

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