25th May 2012.
I`m a creature of the dark winter months as far as hillwalking goes.I really don`t like the heat one little bit.Give me a a raw winters day over a day like this anytime. It was stupefyingly hot and it didn`t help that we had a late start necessitated by the opening time of the shop in Inverie.I`d drank everything I had the previous day.I bought 4 litres of fresh orange juice for the day ahead 🙂
The day started with a violent steep hill out of Inverie.It doesn`t take me much to get off and push a bike at the best of times.My usual rule of thumb is that if I approach the stage where perspiration is imminent I dismount 🙂 Once out of the cooling shade of the trees and on to the Mam Uidhe the heat was relentless Bob of course was loving it,reminiscing about how hot it had been on the GR20 in Corsica.”Warming up nicely.! ” he shouted out to me which made me crabbit..more so than usual 🙂
The Mam Uidhe.
We parted at the junction of the tracks at NG 766 027 and he disappeared into the distance on his bike tour of the Knoydart peninsula.In the trees once more I pedalled along slowly, enjoying the shade while it lasted before dumping the bike at the forest edge next to a stream with such a humungous Gaelic name that I haven`t the energy to type it up but if you look at the map you can read it for yourselves 🙂
It was now “warming up nicely” indeed as I lathered myself with suntan lotion.Being Scotland I`m still using the one I bought in Utah in 2002 🙂 The river was low,very low,allowing me to cross at the junction rather than waste precious energy diverting up to the bridge to the east.It was so low I just walked across in my trainers.A well made stalkers path leaves her up the side of the Abhainn Bheag passing some nice pools and waterfalls.
Some nice crags for climbing further up as well.
About half way up to the Mam Li a large boulder lies to the east of the path.Having had enough by now of Bob`s precious “golden orb” I collapsed in a heap on the shady side and finished the first two litre carton.I was enjoying the solitude when a lean speed machine sprinted past me about 100 metres away on the path clad only in shorts,trainers and carrying a fleece in his hand in case of a sudden deterioration in the weather down to 80 degress or something like that.Well,I thought,there goes my only chance of a sociable chat for the day.Gibson and Lynne had been up here the day before and the campsite was fairly empty.Forced myself out into the cauldron again and determined that I would reach the pass before stopping.Which I did 🙂
Lo and behold the lean speed machine was admiring the view as I gasped up onto the col.This was at the point where the map indicates a large lochan.Either the map is wrong or it had evaporated over the previous few days 🙂 I got my sociable chat with Dave from Wiltshire who was quite an interesting guy.He`d been coming up here for years and was renting the house at Airor for a week.He planned sustainable woodlands for a living and had first visited Knoydart in the dark old days of the previous ownership when he was learning his trade.Very nice guy to meet on the hill.Of course anyone who tells me to drop in at his house after the hill for a wee dram I consider up there with the best of them 🙂
Now the chances of meeting anyone on this hill on a midweek day must be quite slim you would reckon,eh? What propelled this into the bounds of the extraordinary was the following.Now don`t ask me how the subject came up 🙂
We were talking about Africa and I was recounting how an old friend had went out to Cameroon in 1948.Things were diferent in 1948 in Cameroon.It took her two weeks to get to the place where her husband was working via lorry,boat,something with four legs and eventually walking.Bearing in mind that this 20 year old girl had never left Dunoon before this was quite an epic 🙂 I was recounting to Dave the tale of her pregnancy and how she was transported in a wheelbarrow for days on end across the border into Nigeria to the nearest medical facility.
“Ah” said Dave ” that would be such and such clinic.I worked there for a year as a volunteer.” Talk about the six degrees of separation !
Dave departed back down the way he had came as his wife was waiting for him with the land rover back at the river ( my kind of woman ) and I wended my way up Beinn na Caillich.Had a small detour first to a liitle top that looked like it would have a good view and anyway,who could resist a top with a 666 metre contour ring 🙂
A zoomed shot over to the Graham Druim Fada with some heat haze thrown in for good measure.
Point 666 and Beinn Sgritheall.
Zoom of Beinn Sgritheall.
From the summit I could see Sabhal Mor Ostaig,the Gaelic college,over on Skye where my friend Alistair pretends to work.I turned my phone and gave him a call to rouse him from his slumbers but he must have been out for the count as there was no answer 🙂
Self timer on the summit.The sun had played havoc with my usually perfect complexion as you can see by the leathery look of my neck .
I found myself a wee nook in the summit rocks and spent an hour or so looking across the Sound of Sleat.
Summoned the energy for one last push and headed of along the ridge to the minor top of Meall Coire an t-Searraich and then straight down making a beeline for the confluence of the two steams at Easan Buidhe where,if anything,there was even less water than the mornings crossing.Even though it was around 5pm the heat was terrible at the lower level and it was with great relief that I reached the bike and a bit of shade.
View over to the An Diollaid top at the west end of Ladhar Bheinn from the descent.
A couple of small inclines up to the junction of the paths and then it was all downhill more or less to to the Old Forge for a few beers .
Went back down later for a few more into the bargain 🙂
More Knoydart sunshine in the next post too.Just tell me if you are getting bored with it 🙂