Sun blazed down on the tent. It was 6am. Time to review my surroundings without it tipping down with rain. The bright red tent 100 metres away must be Stefan's. He soon appears. All muscles and underwear. He set off from Spean Bridge at 5pm last night to join the International Gathering that others missed. Arriving at midnight, Stefan was also on the tardy side. I shouldn't complain - I'd completely forgotten his commitment.
We spent a while catching up, before Stefan adjourned to prepare a lavish breakfast of black pudding, white pudding, sausage and pitta bread, with a pot of fresh coffee nearby. I expect he also had a carton of eggs! This may be the German's last Challenge for a while - he recently married his childhood sweetheart and they are expecting a mini Stefan. Congratulations to all concerned.
It has been a lovely day. One of the best Challenge days I can remember. I saw no other Challengers (tomorrow will be different) but there were a few folk on Creag Meagaidh and several walkers and mountain bikers on the track up to the lochan I'm camped beside.
The route up Creag Meagaidh from Annat (Turret Bridge) is long but very well graded. It was a delight in today's benign conditions. I took my time. Vistas of snow dappled mountains opened up in all directions. A pair of amorous ptarmigan completely ignored me. I dumped my sack and popped up Stob Poite Coire Ardair. Sod's law dictated that my camera battery expired during this excursion, so some opportunities were lost before I could return to the sack for a spare. No doubt Sue and I recorded similar scenes when we walked the entire ridge during the 2009 Challenge.
Up on Creag Meagaidh, Jim and Davy were celebrating Jim's hundredth Munro. Well done Jim!
The descent started gently, past the spot where Liz's gloves flew away a few years ago. It wasn't so windy today. My lack of research let me down once I reached a point below 700 metres where the substantial wall I was following turned right. I headed on down over pathless rough terrain with rock bands. There must be a Munroist's path somewhere but I didn't find it. So it was a tired man that ambled up the track to Lochan na h-Earba, and a relieved one who found a spring nearby and a brilliant camping spot at the end of the lochan.
Today's picture is from the ascent of Creag Meagaidh just above The Window. My attempts to photograph a flock of plovers (I think) and small mushrooms and butterflies were less successful.