Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Munro bagger

There are 283 Munros in Scotland (mountains over 3000 ft or 914.4 m) and in my almost 10 years living here you might have thought I'd have made it up at least one by now. But, it actually took until two weeks ago for me to "bag" my first one. However, I thought I'd tackle the biggest one first, so can now tick Ben Nevis off my list. As with all the rivers I've kayaked on I'll post up any new ones I climb and hopefully there won't be another 10 year wait.

There was a small group of us making the climb together, so we made a bit of a Fort William weekend of it by heading up on Friday evening (just making it in time to see most of the Olympic opening ceremony), climbing of Saturday and leaving on Sunday. We stayed at a very nice and new B&B called MacLean House.

On the day of the climb we started with a good breakfast before driving the short way to the car park at the base of the mountain. As well as being the highest of the Munros the Ben Nevis climb also starts from close to sea level meaning you do have to scale the whole height. The weather hadn't promised to be very good, so we just headed up the main route rather than tackling anything more challenging. The ascent was interrupted by showers of varying length with occasional breaks of sunshine that sometimes lasted long enough to dry you off. The showers got noticeably colder as we climbed though. Near the summit there was a lovely break in the clouds, but on reaching the peak the ice cold rain returned and the wind picked up. We got our photo taken, but didn't hang about long!

Soon after starting the decent we found a slightly sheltered stone circle in which to have our lunch. We then attempted to get down as quick as possible. This took its toll on my legs and hips, with the bottom third (after passing the lochan) of uneven rocks being particularly tough. In all we made good time with the doing the climb in about 7 hours.

That evening we dragged ourselves on our aching legs for dinner that the Crannog seafood restaurant. The food was great, but tired I wasn't able to make a big night of it as tiredness over took me.

It feels good to have achieved my first Munro climb and I hope to tackle more in the future, but I nay not take on Ben Nevis again.