A drive past Lochcarron (the place) led to lovely reflections on the mirror-still waters of Loch Carron (the loch).
A 10.20 am departure saw all five of us trudging up past Achnashellach Station to ascend Coire Lair on a now gloomy day dominated by High Pressure Cloud.
Dave O finds an excellent gate through a deer fence
Julie soon retreated from her planned hill, Fuar Tholl, leaving it for a day with a view. She ambled on with Di whilst the rest of us shot off up the Coire, pausing briefly for Essential Business en route to the 620 metre col.
By Loch Coire Lair
After lunch in a sheltered spot (it turned out that all spots were sheltered today - the wind was on holiday) we ambled up occasionally steep ground to the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor - 926 metres (2pm).
This was Dave S's 200th Munro.
Well done Dave.
Reluctant to linger on 200 he left us here to shoot off to Sgorr Ruadh, number 201.
Meanwhile, Dave O and I ambled slowly along the 2km ridge, bidding our greetings to Harold the ptarmigan and his wife, Heather.
Three people appeared out of the mist on the 3rd and final summit. They had climbed Liathach yesterday, and were staying at Kinlochewe Bunkhouse. Crampons had been needed on Liathach, but on the lower heights we have frequented there has been hardly any snow, let alone the need for crampons.
The ice axe I carried today was strictly for Essential Business and use as a toilet trowel.
The descent back into Coire Lair was steep. "Oh no, oh no, oh no, me pooer nees" whined Dave. I ignored him, especially when he decided to bathe them in the river. "It's a bit like putting on an ice pack" he wittered....
Nearly back at the car, we chatted to Hilary, who runs a tea room at the Station House at Achnashellach. We discussed the TGO Challenge, and she looks forward to providing teas for challengers in early May. Scottish readers may see more of her sometime as the tame pine martens in her garden have attracted media attention. Earlier, Julie and Di had been her first customers this year - she opened last week.
A scary journey in Dave's painter's car was followed by another catering miracle, with my wounded kitchen assistant ('fingers' Dianne) being replaced by 'disappearing Dave O'. "Can't we use that 500ml of left over cream from yesterday" he exhorted, when I produced a fresh carton; he failed to realise that the chocolate bread and butter pudding he was anointing with the new cream already contained all the old cream.
Dave O has now retired to bed after his cholesterol fuelled apoplectic fit!
Here's today's route - 15km, 1130 metres ascent, taking 6 hours 45 minutes, including about 1 hour 15 minutes of breaks. Naismith would have taken 5 hours.