Less Than One Week to the Big ‘Un

19 Jul

The hols are finished and the dreary return to work has taken place.  The drive up from Cornwall was dreary too.  We’d planned to stop at Slimbridge to see the birds, stop at The Three Fishes pub/restaurant north of Blackburn for tea and then stroll the remaining 3 hours home with effortless ease.  We didn’t stop at Slimbridge…and we were too late for our dinner reservation to venture off the motorway to The Three Fishes.  The M5/M6 traffic was horrendous!  It took us 13 hours to get home with driving time being close to 12 of them.  A real sod of a day.

With the dodgy weather and relentless leg chomping clegs buggering up our limited holiday hiking plans, we ended up doing zero by way of serious walking.  No Offa’s Dyke Path and no South West Coastal Path   I was gutted.  My initial preparations for Mr P’s Munro compleation were in tatters.  I had one week left to give myself a fighting chance of at least getting up Car Mor Dearg with the continuation onto Ben Nevis, a bonus.

Lashing down rain has put paid to Phase 2 of my preparations for the ascent.

Phase 1 went remarkably well as yesterday me and FD strolled our way up the Meikle Bin in the Kilsyth Hills.  A gentle 5km amble to it’s 560m summit, it allowed me to see how my grumbly back and legs would take to the coming Saturday’s mega-test, or at least the first part of the test that would be getting out of the car park.

A familiar sight - the Meikle Bin - and The Fatdog on the trail

You can't see them yet but in a couple of minutes we'll bump into Dave and "the girls"

I failed to make the summit in an hour but would have made it in about 70 minutes when, on the final pull, I met Dave and “the girls”.  We’d met at the same spot almost 2 years ago!  If anybody from ScottishHills happens to be reading, Dave’s username is honey_munster and “the girls” are Tess and Honey, his collie (?) cross and German Shepherd.

The meeting put paid to any more clock watching as Dave turned “the girls” around and we all headed to the summit under Honey’s reproachful stare.

Dave and "the girls"

Honey grabs the spotlight with Maisie and I at the back.

The legs had behaved reasonably well on the forest road with just an annoying hint of stiffness.  Their general heaviness meant I had to put in a bit of effort to keep them turning but once on the hill proper there was a distinct improvement as the power went on.  Slow, steady and no noticeable discomfort…excellent!

There was a very pleasant 5km of blethering on our way back to the cars, though I did notice the inevitable tightening in the calf muscles on the hard surface of the forest road.  This could be a problem on a long 3(?) hour descent.

In fact I was so buoyed up by the walk that on reaching home I promptly shot out into the garden to cut grass and do a bit of post-holiday weeding before heading to the shower.  Impressive stuff!

Phase 2 was to have been an evening walk up The Law in the Ochils; 638m of punishingly relentless ascent.  This would have nicely mimicked the main ascent of Carn Mor Dearg (minus the boulderfield).  Unfortunately tonight’s weather has foiled my cunning plan, leaving only Wednesday after work as a possible alternative timeslot.   I did think of stomping up in the rain but it’s a grass slope which will be a bit on the slippy side and pulling a muscle before Saturday is unthinkable.  So today I’m reduced to a bit of stretching to get the back moving.

Phase 3 will be our normal Tuesday evening circuit class, though because of holidays we’ve missed the past 3 weeks.  That should increase the pain level by…oh…200%!

Phase 4 was to have been an hour or so on Wednesday evening on the exercise bike or a quick dash over to the Cupcacke Queen’s for a blast on the “spin” bike.  I might have to abandon that for the trip to The Law.

Phase 5 – a light session on the exercise bike after the normal Thursday evening shopping trip and a rest night Friday before the Big ‘Un.

I hope you’re all impressed with the mindset and the planning.

This year’s increased problems with the back and legs mean that, for the first time in my 4 years of hillwalking, I’m uncertain whether I’ll complete a walk.  Like most people I’ve turned back on one…but I’ve never had any doubts before I’ve set out.  The sometimes random effects of these sciatic spasms make it a game of Russian Roulette as far as my physical condition is concerned on any given day.

On the plus side I’ve ascertained that I will in fact make it out of the car park…and that I’ve a reasonable chance of making it as far as the start of the ascent of Carn Mor Dearg.  Maybe by Friday I’ll have a bit more of a clue how my muscles will react to the steep climb to the summit of CMD.

***Correction***  I’ve just discovered from Mr.P that we’re not doing the CMD route from the CIC Hut – Whoopee!   Looks like a much easier ascent from Torlundy in the north.


Posted by on July 19, 2010 in General Drivel


9 responses to “Less Than One Week to the Big ‘Un

  1. Dave Hutchings

    July 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Cheers Ken – it was good for us to bump into you and Maisie again on Meikle Bin. Your photos turned out better than mine, managing to get all 3 girls in the frame. I was thinking “bouncy castle” too after we’d come across the hump.

    Pity about the weather scuppering Monday’s training plan. I hope Saturday works out well with clear skies for Simon’s compleation and I agree that the keeping to the ridge for CMD will be much better – but it’s still a long slog.


  2. fatdogwalks

    July 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Dave – good to hear from you 😀 !

    Thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and the girls again.

    Saturday’s weather doesn’t sound too promising so far – low cloud and showers 😦 but I’m sure that won’t deter us.

    Tuesday’s training plan has worked well – I spent an hour on a spin bike instead of doing the fitness circuit churning out a slow, big, gear which mimicked nicely slogging up a long incline. The legs weren’t happy before I started but once pushing on the “bike” the aches melted away. Saturday’s walk is now looking more do-able. Now almost sure of making the top of CMD 😀 .

  3. scott

    July 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Orrabest for the weekend Ken. It’ll be seriously cool if Meikle Bin proves to be the ideal preparation for CMD and the Ben.

  4. fatdogwalks

    July 21, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks Scott 😆 .

    It’ll be a miracle if the Meikle Bin proves to be ideal preparation for CMD and the Ben.

    Today’s soggy weather put paid to any hope of a blast up the Ochils (if you’ll pardon the expression). Ended up going to see “Eclipse” at the cinema – wish I had gone for a soggy “blast up the Ochils”

    Oh…just about time for my stretches…sigh!

  5. Linda

    July 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    The CMD arete is the best and more interesting way to climb the Ben. Hope the weather is as good for you as it was for me when I did it.

  6. fatdogwalks

    July 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Sadly the weather’s looking a wee bit set-in for Saturday Linda 😦 Just hope there’s enough clear air to see at least a bit of the arete…and the dots in the distance that will be the backs of the rest of the party. 😀

  7. Tessa Park

    July 22, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Yes, the weather for Sat looks pants. Did my warm-up walk today on Skiddaw (English Munro). Have to admit not sure about my fitness for Saturday, either. 😦 You certainly won’t be the only one taking it steady!

    Any chance you could PM me your mobile on Scottish Hills so if we get stuck in traffic or anything on Saturday morning, we have more than Simon’s number to let know?

  8. fatdogwalks

    July 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    You cheat! 😆

    I’ve sent you both mine and J’s numbers by pm.

    Have a good journey 😀

  9. Tessa Park

    July 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Cheers, got them thanks. See you tomorrow 🙂


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