Tuesday 10 May
Beinn a’Chrulaiste (NN246567; 857m)
There was just one hill on the agenda today, and it was the biggest of the trip so far. Indeed, a Corbett as well as a Marilyn.
Early intentions of following the route given in the Cicerone Corbett guidebook were soon forgotten, as we forged a cross-country line easily over dried-out bog, finally taking to a feint ATV track which seemed to be going in our direction. It was at the point when the coire came into sight ahead of us (which we were supposed to cross to gain the ridge, before coming back on ourselves to the summit) that we had a little discussion and found that we’d both been thinking that a far more direct line looked feasible.
Our sometimes-steep route would likely be hideous for most months of the year, but today we had the current dry conditions to thank for it being relatively dry and grippy.
The final approach to the top boasted a hint of a trodden line, and also featured a sprinkling of water hitting us. The latter was a bit confusing to start with, what with the blue skies surrounding us. It took me a few seconds to realise from where it was coming: the strong wind was whipping up the steep east side of the hill, and depositing snow melt off the remaining cornice onto us as if it was rain.
Having taken the short route up, we opted for a longer descent, following what should have been our ascent route – or, at least, something similar to it. As it went, we dropped off the ridge as soon as was practicable, to skirt just under it, so as to take ourselves out of the worst of the wind. Gosh, it was a bit breezy up there (the forecast for Kinlochloeven had said 35mph today, so it wasn’t a great surprise).
Arriving back at Colin having walked 5.1 miles with 2000’ of ascent, off we headed northwards on the A82 (where the surrounding hills all looked so enticing in today’s conditions), with the intention of spending the night at Glen Nevis campsite – a place where we have stayed many times before.
After a stop in Fort William to sort out the need for groceries, gloves and diesel, off to the campsite we went and whilst I filled in the check-in card, Mick looked at the price list and did some sums. Then we checked with the receptionist that we were doing our sums right. Then we opted to go elsewhere. Immediately before the TGOC last year, the fee at that campsite was £20.50. This year it’s £24 – an increase that we weren’t prepared to accept.
It was probably a blessing in disguise, as there was no real point in us staying near Fort William, as I have no hills planned in that area. Instead, we came out to Morvich, where the continuing summer conditions are so incredible that the washing that I did upon arrival, which didn’t get hung out until 6pm, was completely dry before 7.30! If only this could last for another couple of weeks.