You can tell when summer is nearing its end when I dig out the maps, the books and the hillwalking guides. Since our wee waddle up Ben Gulabin a couple of weeks ago sadly that’s all I’ve been able to do courtesy of a wedding, family gatherings and series of ill- timed party pooping lows blowing across the Atlantic. I don’t mind getting wet and quite frankly The Fatdog becomes quite enthusiastic at the odd fur soaking deluge, however the words “risk of lightning” in weather reports did little but encourage me to stay indoors and concentrate on walk planning.
Since I’ve discovered I’m still able to rattle up the odd monster Munro or two and having convinced myself that my struggles with the office stairs of a morning are merely a figment of my imagination, it would appear that there is nothing holding me back from bagging a few more of those big lumpy Munro thingies. How long will it last…I’ve no idea…probably until I start moaning and complaining about it again!
For The Fatdog and I August means the start of Walking Year 5. It was August 2006 when FD and I first set foot on a hill and it was mid-October of the same year when we trundled our way up Ben Lomond, our first Munro. By the end of October we’d conquered Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers followed shortly after by Schiehallion. It was easy in those days…pick the hills with the easiest access and the shortest walks.
These days I’ve tended to concentrate on Fatdog friendly routes and, most importantly, routes with sunshine! Not an easy task you are probably thinking…and you’re quite correct of course. Waiting for good weather has, up until now, slowed down our Munro bagging rate so we’re going to sacrifice a slice of that for a longer walking season. However a thorough selection process will ensure that only crap hills are done on crap days. OK we won’t be entirely happy but…at least we’ll know we haven’t missed much…and, more importantly, we’ll keep ourselves hill fit.
So what will we be getting up to you ask? FD hasn’t done much walking in recent months so we’ll have to take it easy to start with. Most likely will be single Munros and Corbetts until she gets back into the way of things. Near to home we’ve still to tackle Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond) which are ideal as a build up before doing some multi-hill days, as are a couple of the Mamlorn Munros. Then what?
Creag Meagaidh has been on my “to do” list for a while as has a visit to the Laggan Munros. But above all else I must break my Munro “duck” north of the Great Glen. I fancy a crack at the South Shiel Ridge in October though I suspect that I’ll end up splitting that into two, as the whole ridge is possibly too big a day for The Fatdog.
MrP and I will be teaming up for the odd Corbett as he is busy hammering his way through those since his Munro compleation. He is also trying to persuade me that this bothying/wild camping thing is great fun and that we should give that a go. (Sadly – “ahem”) I have none of the required equipment for such an outing…so that may be on hold for a wee while.
Hold that a minute – update– since I began writing this post earlier last week MrP has very kindly offered a loan of all the required articles and has even provided the first route, Glen Feshie to Blair Atholl some 42km incorporating at least 3 Corbetts (with options of another Corbett and a Munro) over the 2 days. This may be cut to 1 Corbett and a single day once my moaning and complaining starts! It will be interesting to test his tolerance level.
Cap’n Jack will be joining me again in a week or so’s time, weather permitting, which will allow him the indescribable pleasure of grumbling his way up yet another hill….though I’m sure he enjoys it really and doesn’t just come along because his mother’s told him that he has to go to keep an eye on FD and me.
So that’s the short term plan. Longer term…I need to go and think about that as I want to do some island and coastal walks as well.