Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Ben Lui and a Chicken Faux Pas

So, after the successful delivery of the High Seas Hobbit, and with a bank holiday Monday calling. it was decided that a walk up Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh was in order. Once again, as I am wont to do, I consulted the ever-so-accurate weather forecast, which after the weekends mini hurricanes promised settled weather in the west and wonderful views at Munro height.

The start of the day was initiated by a severe scolding from Cathy, as at approx 6.45am, whilst taking a stroll around her garden, coffee in hand, I thought I would contribute to the early morning chores by letting out the chickens from their 'fox-free' coop..    Okay, so I forgot about the rooster...oh...and the neighbours in the village, thus ensuing that I was as welcome as a boy racer with a stereo blasting outside a Womans Institute meeting.

Then it was to the freezer to fill tubs with maggots, to be left in an honesty box outside the Post Office for any fishermen that day. Great excitement to be had there, as the maggot selection available now includes a lurid green variety.

Thus chores done and rucksacks packed, off we headed with the first of the days disagreements starting within 5 minutes, as Cathys amazing sense of direction, which puts a top of the range gps to shame, informed me we were driving in the wrong direction.  After pointing out that she was reading the map upside down, and the resultant huff that followed, I realised I should have let her drive us South to Perth and I could have benefitted from a smug grin on my face.

So....heading in the correct direction, we stopped off at the Green Wellie in Tyndrum and a walk around the shop, where she got annoyed that the prices of their biscuits and jams were double what she sold them for in her Post Office.
From there, it was only a short drive to our start-off point, and the weather did indeed seem to be clearing.

Straight away, we had an equipment failure in the form of Cathys rather expensive walking pole that had seized closed tighter than a pretty boys bum on his first night in Saughton prison, but luckily, my much scorned Lidls specials were up to the job, and we managed to negotiate the stepping stones across the river and start the walk proper.

Within an hour though, tempers were flaring again, as I was on 'point duty', when we encountered the peat bogs.
Amusing as it was to her, the sight of me buried to the thighs in treacly black mud, I could see little excuse for hilarity. Running through my mind, was the thought that in 500 years time, some archaeologist would discover my mummified body with one hand stretched out high, safeguarding my very expensive gps navigation unit to the bitter end.   Learning from my mistake, Cathy of course diverted to a route through some pine trees, and got very little sympathy from me when she complained about a few needles getting down the neck of her fleece.

Emerging from the forest...and bogs...we got our first sight of the 2 mountains, and decided to head for the bealach.
Another tiff....Okay, so I was too busy looking at the gps for the turn off we had to take, and admittedly missed the cairn with the dayglo ribbon on it....

It now transpires that Cathy informs me that she needs vitamin B injections every so often, as neglecting this makes her tired and grumpy...both symptoms which were in tsunami-like full flow, and she had missed the last jab a week ago.  Right...so now I'm stuck halfway up a mountain with a chemically unbalanced companion.  It seems like it may be a long...long day.

Things improved though.  We made good time to the bealach, then struck out for Ben Lui, reaching the summit in under half an hour. There are no pics of this feat, as yet again, in came the cloud and visibility was reduced to zero.  So, back down to the bealach, then off to capture the 2nd Munro, which was free of cloud at the summit.   From this one, the views were fantastic, cuing tiff no.7...or is it 8 by now.  We had a 'discussion' about what other mountains we could name from our elevated perspective, and disagreed on every one except for Ben Nevis, which we likely both got wrong anyway.  She also was of the viewpoint that Ben Lomond, in her opinion had gravitated to the East coast of Scotland rather than the West and was not to be budged on that...

So, eggy sarnies finished, we headed back down and had a lovely walkout, which was helped by knowing how to avoid the peat bogs this time.
Back at the car, I was told in no uncertain terms that due to the muddied state I was in, it was a case of strip to the boxers or walk the 20 miles back to Lochearnhead.     Why was the dog, who was just as muddy as I was, and was ponging due to rolling in sheep poo, not given the same ultimatum??

Never mind, we all kissed and made up, ticked off 2 more Munros.  That's Cathy done 96 now, so looking forward to her big 100...

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