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]

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

Beinn Dorain (NN325378; 1076m) and Beinn an Dothaidh (NN332408; 1004m)

Mick's route was, weather permitting, taking him over these two Munros today, so I had said that I would meet him at Bridge of Orchy this morning and accompany him.

Based on where I knew Mick was supposed to be stopping last night, and based on him setting out at 6.15 this morning, I reckoned he'd get to Bridge of Orchy around 8am. I was right - it was five past when I saw him approaching along the West Highland Way. I flung opened the door and greeted an exhausted version of Mick.

It turned out that he'd had an 'extended adventure' in getting off the craggy NE side of his second Munro yesterday, adding an unexpected couple of hours, plus a chunk of extra ascent, onto his day. Apparently there was much swearing. "And I fell down a hole!" he reported. He was definitely not up for another hard day today, particularly given that his intended hills were covered in cloud and very frequent heavy showers were passing through.

A while later a chap walked past and, based on Mick's description of a chap he'd walked with on Day 1, I flung open the door and shouted 'Geoff'. He was befuddled at first as to how I could possibly know who he was, but happily came in out of the rain for a couple of mugs of tea and some cake.

The weather led to a lack of enthusiasm for anyone to move, but eventually the bull was grasped by the horns and off went Mick and Geoff, together for the short distance until their paths diverged. A while later, at 11am, I'd tidied up and got myself together and off I went too.

I'd not got too far before I looked behind me at the two Corbetts which had also been contenders for today:

Compared with what was in front of me...

...I wondered if I'd made the right choice to go ahead with the Munros. In fact, almost every hill I could see was cloud free, unlike the two to which I was heading.

I was where I was, though, so onwards I went.

Sunshine and showers accompanied my ascent, alternating between the two with such regularity that it wasn't feasible to shed the waterproofs at any point, but I was far too warm each time the sun came out.

Can you make out the rainbow, spanning the ridge?

I'd opted to go up Beinn Dorain first, so at the pass between the two hills I made a right turn and plodded on up, past the big cairn (that is surely only there to try to con people into prematurely thinking they've reached the top?) and on to the actual top.

The cloud had cleared (yay!) giving me fantastic views

I might have paused for lunch up there, except two chaps had already nabbed the most obvious sheltered spot. Five minutes later I was glad not to have stopped, as a passing hail shower made the temperature plummet. It was much warmer where I did finally sit myself, further down.

At the pass for the second time, straight across I went, up towards my second objective, which sits only 260m higher than the pass, and not very far distant, so it was a quick and easy walk, even if less interesting than Beinn Dorain.

The view across Rannoch Moor from the summit was better than this snap suggests:

For no good reason I went to visit the more southerly of the three tops whilst I was up there and cutting straight down from that top gave me quite a pleasant grassy descent until I picked the baggers' path back up just after a big boggy section (it rained a lot over the last 24 hours and, unlike any of the bogs I encountered last week, this one was wet)

Back to the pass for a third time and my direction was now firmly downwards. Passing a couple who I'd already seen twice, the chap asked me what time I'd set out that morning. I told him, to which he exclaimed that I was a machine. I took that as a compliment, as even though I'd found the route quicker and easier than expected, I hadn't felt like I was moving quickly most of the day.

Typing this an hour (and a cold shower*. Bracing!) after I got back to Bertie I've just peeked out in between the latest batch of showers and see that the summits are once again shrouded. It seems that I timed my outing right today, for which I thank Geoff and Mick. Left to my own devices I would probably have been out so early to have been back before the time I set out today.

(9.1 miles, 1200m up)

(* there's nowt wrong with Bertie's hot water system, I just couldn't be bothered waiting for it to heat, and as it was so warm inside when I got back, I went for the cold option.)

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