The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 3 May 2010

Day 42 - Gleann nan Caorann to Tyndrum

Monday 3 May
Distance: 13 miles (Tot: 715 miles)

It was a cold cold night (one of those that saw us both putting clothes on in the early hours), but at 7am this morning we were looking down on a very frosty campsite at Beinglas, whilst we were basking in the sunshine. We were definitely on the right side of the valley!

The cumulative effect of the last few days was telling as we set out a while later. My thighs were aching and as we started ascending the steeper parts of the track that sped us towards the lower slopes of Ben Oss they were screaming at me to stop putting them through all of this abuse.

They finally did settle down and understand that complaining wasn't going to change anything. Strangely, the acceptance came as the track ended and we started our yomp up to the col between Ben Lui and Ben Oss (after no small amount of consideration as to whether it would be sensible to just go straight up, directly towards Ben Oss).

We had just reached the col as a snow shower came over. The general theme of the day was fine weather, and that was the only snow that hit us all day, but for most of the morning other passing showers could be seen all around.

It may have been generally fine, but my, it was cold. The wind was biting, although when we were sheltered and the sun was out, it was pleasant indeed.

And the views! Well, they were absolutely stunning for the entire day. It was certainly a day to be up high.

So, up Ben Oss we went, then back down the way we'd come for a few metres, then back up once I'd looked at the map and realised which direction we were meant to be heading...

Then it was the turn of Ben Dubhchraig, where we ditched our bags just before the final ascent (because we knew we definitely were coming back the same way this time), and suddenly feeling like we were wearing helium suits we almost sprinted up to the top. The way we were bouncing along did make me give passing thought to why anyone would choose to carry a backpack up these big hills. My pack has been particularly heavy the last 2.5 days too, as my boots haven't been agreeing with my achilles, so the heavy sodden lumps have been living in my pack whilst I've been walking (cold-footedly) in my Terrocs. (The boots are going home tomorrow - I'm not carrying them over any more hills!)

Our trip to the top of Ben Dubhchraig would have been a very brief affair, except there, in the wind-shelter having lunch we found Martin and Fiona from Stirling with whom we had a chat for a while, until the descent started calling us.

So what descent route did we choose, after Ken's advice in a couple of comments yesterday? Well, we considered the map (and belatedly read the notes I'd made whilst planning the route, which gave a couple of options, but in the end we went with Ken's suggestion. The descent down the grassy slopes towards the bridge by Cononish were undeniably steep, but we've certainly done steeper and less advisable routes off hills (see my post from 10 May last year for a case in point, when we had a failure to navigate off Ben Lui!).

It was then but an easy stroll in the sunshine to Tyndrum, where we would have gone soft and got a room in the hostel had there been one available, but as there wasn't, the tent was soon pitched and after a bit of washing and some consideration of maps, off to the Real Food Cafe we went for tea.

It's a lazy start to the day tomorrow, waiting for the post office to open so that my boots can be despatched, and then a short day. Our legs should thank us!

(Ken - we looked out for a man with a black lab, and talked to everyone we passed, but saw no sign of you. Did we give you the slip?)
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1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid as soon as I saw the name Beinn Dubhchraig my resolve faded into oblivion. The reasons are identified below...

    You may be glad you didn't opt for the cute looking wooded section. Glad you made it down ok...I think there may be a path as last year I met a couple of guys heading up that way as I was heading for Ben Lui. I would have come but wasn't sure which descent route you'd opt to take.