My Brothers, My Sisters, and My Granddad Monty

SNC01310

Statistics

Area: Loch Duich to Cannich

Munro’s: Aonach Meadhoin, Saileag, Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe

Date walked: 10/09/2011

Time taken: 8.15 hours

Distance: 21.6 km

Ascent: 2120m

The Route

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Introduction

I was slowly getting a reputation for moving quickly across the munros. This had come to the attention of one Andrew Doggett. Now Andrew is a tough and fast hillwalker and he was looking to walk with me on a munro or two. This is Andrew’s story. I have to add the fact that I had far too much to drink the night before the walk and in fact I think I was still heavily under the influence when I was rudely awakened on the morning off the walk. This was not the best preparation for any walk and I submit this fact in mitigation of my poor performance. Enjoy the read haha.

“So we’re in the pub at the Kintail Lodge Hotel on Friday evening; ‘we’re’ being some of you lot and me… And somehow I get challenged into a walk off with Monty on the Saturday… I’m thinking this isn’t a good idea; he’s pretty fast as you all know; and I’ve previously promised my good lady I’ll do these hills with her; but everyone else seems keen for the match up, so what the hell, I’ll go along with it… And sometimes where women are concerned it’s a whole lot easier to ask for forgiveness, not permission… So forgive me Vicky, but I had to make sure Old Grandad was okay in the high winds…

The Walk

So at 08:00 I’m picking Monty up who’s just about ready; Stretch (thanks) makes me a coffee, and then we’re off up to the Cluanie Inn for the off… It’s shelving it down with rain on the drive up; and the forecast isn’t great; never mind what’s a bit of water right?

So we’re off, the weather influenced a waterproofs on decision which was a mistake… It’s a punishing start to the day; slopes rising steeply from 200 meters all the way to the top of Aonach Meadhoin, and Monty is off at a decent speed opening up a 20 meter or so lead. Dig deep I say, this always had the hallmarks of a punishing day… In not much over an hour we’re at the summit; having a quick bite before making tracks for Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg Munro number 2 of the day…

As we carried on across the brothers the weather wasn’t too bad; enough of a wind to keep from overheating; and the clag came and went… My legs were now warmed up we’d picked up the pace and I was thinking today wasn’t shaping up too badly after all… The ridge was looking good and fairly straightforward with the ascent of Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg a couple of hundred of meters or so of climbing ahead..

Monty felt like some energy juice so before the ascent really kicked in we ducked out of the wind and he cracked open a Red Bull… Red Bull without Jagermeister; this was all wrong I thought…It didn’t take too long to reach the summit with the final fifty meters or so an awkward crossing of wet slippery rocks, but nothing difficult, and it’s an impressive cairn when you get there…

Onwards then to the final brother, Saileag… As we’re walking I’m thinking this must be a sensational walk in sunny conditions…..Looking back along the ridge the views look equally as stunning; the rain has still abated; although the wind had picked up a bit. But at this stage we were thinking, this could clear up you know…

It wasn’t long before we arrived at Saileag; a bit of a nothing peak in its own right, but on a good day the view of the sisters from here must be something else… Monty had spent much of the morning trying to convince me his poles were red, but they’re not, they’re very pink…  The sisters were threatening to reveal themselves… But managed just to keep their most precious parts covered up…

We made fairly short work of the descent to Bealach an Lapain; the going easy; but path finding still difficult for Monty…  By now Monty was starting to feel the ascents and we were taking it pretty easy on the ascents to avoid cramp setting into Old Grandad. I did the decent thing and told him what happened on the hill would stay on the hill… We carried on…  The Sisters were looking better and better… And the ridge becoming ever more interesting…

And Monty was looking in fine shape… Don’t believe a word of it if he tells you he was tired, or hung-over or otherwise not in tip top fettle…

And then it all started to go wrong… What should have been the most stunning part of the walk became the site of the worlds heaviest rain outside of a monsoon… The winds picked up; the clag came in; and Monty kept stopping to enjoy the view of the clag and eat…

At this point news comes in from the troops on the South Ridge… Seems like they’re having a tougher time of it, and only three of the nine are continuing on… On the second summit of the day, we’re feeling quite virtuous with only two to go…

As long as they’re enjoying it; Polly clearly is… The text arrives… “Having a ball in the sunshine. Get off to feed antelope. Stretch’s sandwiches were stolen by a flock of golden eagles. On our second summit.Can’t wait for more of Monty’s knicker wetting jokes”

It’s fairly slippery on the descents with the wet rock but we’re up and over Sgurr na Carnach and heading down for the final ascent of Sgurr Fhuaran when the cloud finally begins to lift, and the rain stops… One to go Monty; head down and get your ass up there

It’s a steep climb to finish but nothing uncomfortable… We don’t stay long at the top, there’s nothing to see, and it’s cold in the rain and the wind, so we begin the descent… It’s a decent path and the main route takes you over toward Sgurr nan Saighead..

It had properly cleared up now, and the descent looked like we were going to be free of rain… The scenery was stunning, as is so often the case in Scotland..Even the sun made an appearance…On the descent it was hard not to stop and just keep turning around to absorb the view..

Mind you Monty didn’t mind stopping too much; he’d been doing it all day; more bananas, salt, liquid, chocolates, oh yes he used all the tricks… Still I did enjoy our little conversations…

Andrew Taking the P…. out of me as usual:

“Me: So Monty how many is that now?

Monty: 191 he says…

Me: Not many left then?

Monty: No, and there’ll be one less if they downgrade that Fisherfield one…

Me: Haven’t you climbed those Monty?

Monty: Yes

Me: So how will there be one less for you to climb then?

Monty: Well 283 less 191 is 92, and 282 less 191 is 91…

Me: Errr, don’t think it works that Monty, they’re taking away one you’ve climbed so you’re total goes down too…

Monty: No there’s definitely one less…

Me: Not to worry I’ll get you an abacus for Christmas…”

The rest of the descent is straightforward; Monty falls over a couple of times; I take a slide on some adverse camber steps that only have been built by a senseless non walker  And we’re done, a pub to pub time of 8 hours and 10 minutes for the 21.6 km with 2120 meters of ascent…

I ordered my beer, Monty his cola; and watched on as he died in front of me as the sun set over Loch Duich…”

 

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