Sunday, 8 May 2011
A Weekend at Bridge of Orchy
The rest of the team have now departed for home after a successful 'bagging' weekend for Alastair.
A smooth journey with Sue on Friday, via Glasgow Airport to pick up Lyn, found three of us (Alastair was following close behind) enjoying fish 'n chips at the Real Food Café in Tyndrum. That was excellent, a word that cannot be applied to the bunkhouse at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.
However, the hotel staff were friendly enough, and were happy to take in a TGO Challenge food parcel for a week or so.
Once the brainless Glaswegian rabble that had kept us awake for most of the night had transferred their reign of terror to the West Highland Way in the direction of Kings House, calm descended and we enjoyed the rather average hotel breakfast before setting off down Glen Etive.
It was raining - the forecast for the whole weekend was pretty dire.
Leaving Alastair's car at Coileitir at 10am, we headed east to an unrelenting 700 metre ascent. Luckily it stopped raining before we started up the hill, but it was hard work anyway. The pretty pink flowers of creeping azalea were hard to miss as we climbed steadily with eyes to the ground, where young frogs were also jumping, friskily.
Elevenses were taken (pictured) with a pretty excellent view.
We lunched in the lee of the wind before heading on up to the summit of Stob Coir an Albannaich - Munro number 201 for Al. Despite the MWIS forecast of 10% chance of a view from the summit, we nearly got one! (1.20pm).
Heading east for 500 metres, we came upon the small cairn that indicates the ongoing route - steeply down to a col at 754 metres. This could be tricky in winter.
After that, it was an easy stroll over Meall Tarsuinn to our second Munro summit, the grassy hump of Meall nan Eun (2.40pm). This summit was completely clear of cloud, with fine views. A leisurely descent down Glen Ceitlein got us back to the car by 5.20pm, in deteriorating weather with thunder echoing around the valley.
We had met just five people all day on this 18km stroll with about 1300 metres ascent - 7hrs 20mins.
Saturday night, thankfully, was much quieter, and we all slept well after a good meal in the hotel and a very sociable time with JJ and Viv, who turned up by chance on their West Highland Way jaunt.
Today (Sunday) was forecast to be better weather. It wasn't. After waving goodbye to JJ+V, we embarked on a five minute drive to Achallader. A path to the south of the river led us into a forest and over a railway footbridge. The path then ran boggily beside the railway to the edge of the forest, from where another unrelenting ascent took us to a grassy col below Point 961, from where Beinn a' Chreachain was ascended up a blustery ridge in driving rain. A splendidly coloured pair of ptarmigan paid close attention to our progress.
The rain lasted for about three hours. It was windy, but visibility was pretty good. The stroll along the ridge of Beinn Achaladair was pleasurable, especially the scrambly ascent from a col at 813 metres. We headed on to the next col before descending back to Achallader, with fine views north to Ben Nevis.
Today we met just two people - at the start, half way, and at the end. They did the same 21km walk with 1300 metres ascent in the reverse direction (sensible in view of the wind direction), taking, like us, 7hrs 20mins for the two Munros, the same as yesterday, but we stopped less today.
The others then left and I joined them at the Real Food Café for chicken curry and chips, before returning for a third night in the bunkhouse.
I was to start the task of naming waypoints on my downloaded GPS route for next week's TGO Challenge, but I couldn't find the maps. I think they are still on the desk at home after my hurried manufacture of a web page on Friday. This is a mildly distressing faux pas on my part.
Hopefully Sue will post them to our B+B in Oban...
...and hopefully she will note the details of that B+B before she posts the package, and let me have those details.
Tomorrow? I have a boot full of packages to courier around Scotland, and a possible rendezvous with some proper long distance walkers.
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