Friday, 3 June 2011

Buachaille Etive Mor

What a week it's been, and verily a heady mixture of good things, and lets say....a wee shake-up for me.

The good things:-  I left home on the Tuesday and had a lovely drive around Aberfeldy before heading to Killin and then on to Lochearnhead where I picked up Digger, the black Labrador and we headed off to bag Meall a'Choire Leath, my last Munro in that area.  A nice afternoon if one can class knee-deep peat bog for the first mile as being a pleasant experience.  However, the best part of the walk is looking behind you on the ascent to the beautiful Tarmachan Ridge.
Then that evening, a lovely beer and meal in Killin.

Lillitroll and  Digger with An Stuc in background

Next morning, I set off for Oban to visit a potential Hobbit site and enjoyed a trip down memory lane as I was there once to prepare for a gig and was well impressed with the sound system that had been set up and the amazing lighting.  It transpired that all this was for the Saw Doctors and we were in the lounge bar adjoining the hall.  Big mistake on our behalf.

I then headed over to my favourite place, Kinlochleven, and as normal, could not get booked into a Hobbit house so pitched my tent and went off with Gary to the Caledonian Hotel and had a lazy late lunch followed by siesta.   Then over to the Bothan Bar that evening...and myself a gig for next Friday.  RESULT.

Next morning, after checking the weather forecast, which promised the cloud would lift at 12, I set off to tackle a beauty I have always envied from the safety of the A82, The Bookle, or to give it's proper name, Buachaille Etive Mor.

This is how I usually see her, but it was shrouded in cloud from 1000 feet when I started out.  I managed to overtake 3 walkers at the top of the coire, which is very relevant as they would play a part later in my sorry tale off woe.   As i headed for the summit of Stob Dearg,visibility was down to 20 feet, and upon reaching the cairn, there was no chance of the view down to the road that I longed for. So, I turned 180 degrees and headed back along the ridge to tackle my second Munro and met my 3 walkers on their way to the summit.
The next time I was to meet up with them was the turning point of my day.  

About a mile along the ridge towards Stob na Briog, I must have veered about 20 feet off course, and next thing I knew, I was carried downwards into a gully on looses scree and estimate a tumble of around 250 to 300 feet. Luckily for me, my walking poles were on my back and not on my wrists.  By the time I stopped, I was totally disorientated, and had a quick 'body check'. Thank goodness, only slight cuts and grazes and nothing broken.

The trouble was, I was now not sure where I was, but luckily had just taken a compass heading just before the tumble, and as ascending the slope I had fell down was not an option, I walked along a while, then started the climb to a ridge that I was fairly sure I would pick up a path on.  
Just as I was reaching the top of the ridge, blessed be, there was my 3 walkers appearing ghost-like through the mist.

What a laugh I had when they asked if I had got to the second summit before them.  I told them my sorry tale, and must admit felt a bit silly in addition to have given myself a hell of a fright.  That being the case, they invited me to tag along with them to do the 2nd Munro, an offer I was only too happy to accept. as Maria produced a tub of fresh strawberries and raspberries at the summit, I shared my jelly babies and we had tea and sarnies.  Then it was time to do the walkout, so we descended to the col, then followed the stream into the Lairig Gartain and back to the cars.   Pics of these 3 wonderful people to follow when they e-mail them to me.

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