Lucky Loch Lochy escapes the thunderstorms
Area: Loch Arkaig to Glen Moriston
Munros: Meall na Teanga, Sron a’Choire Ghairbh
Date walked: 29/08/2012
Time taken: 3.75 hours
Distance: 19 km
It was January 2011 when Kevin invited me along to my first attempt to bag the Loch Lochy Munros. The day was very cold and there were tones of snow on route. The path up Cam Bhealach was full of snow so we decided to head straight up the steep North slope aiming for the Bealach West of Sean Mheall. Well the snow was deeper and by the time we got to the Bealach I had severe cramp. Kevin continued onto Sron Choire Ghairbh and I dropped down to the Bealach below both Munro’s.
Well since that day I have been looking for an opportune moment to revisit these two and bag them. Various opportunities have passed me bye until yesterday. It just so happens that I was working in Inverness and had finished at 1400hrs ready for the 3 hour drive home. Instead I drove the 45 miles to Kilfinnan and parked up on the small parking area adjacent to the Graveyard marked on the map. It had been raining in inverness and overcast for much of the drive, but to my delight the sun was shining on Loch Lochy. There were rain clouds in every direction however and I knew it was going to rain at some point so it was time to get a move on.
It was 1530 as I crossed the bridge over the raging torrent that was Kilfinnan Burn and headed of at a jog along the excellent Landrover track through South Laggan Forest. I passed a couple with two dogs on leashes and another couple on bikes coming along the track and a short time later used the walkers gate to pass to the other side of a large steel gate blocking vehicle access to the other side of the track. I was feeling good when all of a sudden and for no apparent reason I felt a sudden twinge of pain in my right hamstring. The pain immediately increased in severity and I came to a standstill. I walked on slowly to see if I could isolate the movement which was causing the pain and it seemed to occur during the last movement of a full hamstring extension.
Now don’t laugh but when you walk uphill you rarely get into that full movement and you can walk on the level and purposely stop short of a full extension. It might look weird to an onlooker but there was not going to be any other walkers around on this walk at this time of day hahaha so I was happy to continue on the walk. So instead of jogging I was just going to have to work harder uphill in order to get back to the car and home in a reasonable time. So another 1km or so further on and I take the track into the forest. It’s quite a steep uphill climb but all the better for my dodgy hamstring. After 500m or so the path emerges from the forest.
The rain comes on so I don a waterproof jacket but I don’t bother with waterproof trousers and the rain just drizzles on and off for the rest of the walk. The path is a torrent of water most of the way as it takes a nice gradient along the Cam Bhealach for 2.5km to the Bealach below the Munro’s. It’s now a choice on which Munro to bag first. I chose Sron Choire Ghairbh. It’s about a 300m climb up a zigzag path to the summit. The gradient eases as I ascend and it doesn’t take long to reach the summit.
There are plenty rain clouds in all directions but they are above maybe 1100m or so and the views all around are extensive. There are multiple peaks of Munro’s and Corbetts from the South to the West and to the North with mainly Corbets to the East. I check my email and Stewart has posted a clip on facebook showing thunderstorms in Dunkeld. Nice. After a couple of photos I start the descent to the Bealach and then ascend the opposite path skirting Meal Dubh crossing the boggy ground and onto the final ascent up to Meall na Teanga.
Again the views are good and clear. My hamstring is still sore but not enough to cause any real issues and I am soon half walking and half jogging back down the rocky, water filled path back to the forest and down to the main Landrover track. It’s on the descent that I realize how steep the forest track actually is. Once on the relatively level Landrover track the pain is back in my hamstring and it’s a painful walk out. There are a large flock of sheep in a small field near the river and the sheep start singing to me in unison. Baaaa Baaa Black sheep have you any wool hahaha. I am sure that’s what they were singing. A great opportunity used to the full. Back at the car at 1915 and home by 2230.