Pap of Glencoe.

A weekend away with our climbing club to Blackrock Cottage in Glencoe.The usual routine on our trips is to leave after work on Friday,arrive at the hut around 9 or 10pm,get the fire going and get the alcohol out.Friday is usually party night as was the case this trip and I eventually staggered to bed at 3am which some considered to be wimping out.Up early the next morning and out with Bob but more of which anon when he gets his ISP sorted out.Saturday night is usually a more subdued affair as you can well imagine.Well…afraid not this time.!

Our friend Jamie had sold everything he owned and probably some things he didn`t own into the bargain, accessed loans and borrowed the rest to buy the old aluminium smelter in Kinlochleven and turn it into the worlds first ice climbing centre….the Ice Factor. As you can imagine he doesn`t get much time off but he wangled the Saturday night and came down to Blackrock.When he does have some free time off he likes to party so it was a jam session and major swally until 4am.Well,that`s when I crawled off to bed anyway.!

The Bad Boys have a fag break outside the cottage.Scott,Jamie,Alan,Jules and Gavin.Gavin doesn`t smoke but likes to hang out with the Bad Boys 🙂

Up at 7am again …hardly worth going to bed,was it 🙂

A cup of coffee outside in the cold of a beautiful morning soon brought me round and unfuddled my brain.

People were going here,there and everywhere.Bob was going up Beinn A`Chrulaiste and some were going to the Buachaille and further afield.I`d last been up Beinn A`Chrulaiste in December 2007 to witness a fantastic sunset achieved by not setting off up the hill until two in the afternoon,so fancied something different.

Sunset over the Buachaille in December 2007…

Jamie was going back home to Glencoe village so Jules and I jumped in and got dropped off further down the glen for a walk up Sgorr na Ciche otherwise known as the Pap of Glencoe.Another blue sky day in the offing although bitterly cold in the shade.No easy walk in here…straight out of the car and onto the steep stuff….

The views opened up as we gained height.Beinn a`Bheitheir in the sunshine….

Looking back into Glencoe things weren`t looking too promising for the rest of them up there with the clouds boiling around the glen…

The advantage of a steep path is that you gain height quickly though in our hungover state we failed to fully appreciate this at the time 🙂 All good things come to he who waits though and we soon had our reward.

Jules looks down onto Loch Leven….

A wee bit of cloud had drifted in as you can see but it would be a fool who would complain about that in November in Scotland. The fresh snow was lying to a depth of about six inches and made it quite awkward crossing over the boulder field below the summit cone.
Jules on the last lap to the summit….

Garbh Bheinn from the summit…

There wasn`t a breath of wind up there so we relaxed and wandered around.I was hoping to wait and see if the clouds would lift over the mountains of Ardgour.For a minute or so the sun came out we were treated to the crisp views that only winter brings….

A severe case of the drouth curtailed our otherwise enjoyable stay so we headed off the opposite side of the hill in the direction of the Clachaig Inn for a refreshment.Bob was going to pick us up here at 2.30ish.We were soon down and a half hours tarmac bashing saw us ensconced in the bar 🙂

Heading to the Clachaig…

Back at the other end of the glen we dropped into the Kingshouse to pick someone up.The deer here have taken to mooching around the carpark for titbits.The stags are very wary but the hinds are quite approachable at the prospect of a free lunch…..

As this was the first time I had touched a drop of alcohol since Italy in May this year it took me almost a week to recover.We`ve just had news that the hut we have booked for our next trip up to Elphin in Sutherland has been flooded by burst pipes and thus cancelled.Bad news for the club but good news for my liver I think 🙂

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