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]

Friday, 4 May 2018

Beinn na Gucaig (NN062653; 616m)

Distance: 6.5 miles
Ascent: about 640m
Weather: low cloud and constant mizzle
Start point: woodland walks car park at Inchree (NN 02989 63436)

We awoke this morning to find the cloud base at around 50m, which was about the same as yesterday. Combined with a grim mizzle, it did not look like a day to be going up a hill.

However, when we found ourselves in the car park at Inchree for lunch*, I figured that as I needed to go for some sort of a walk today (to keep the Fitbit happy) I may just as well walk up this hill - the one I chose not to go up two days ago in good weather.

The bike didn't come out today - far too dirty a day for that - so instead I took the popular route up the SW ridge. I knew that I would find an ATV track leading that way, and it proved to be easier (and less wet) than expected.

It was to my great surprise (and his) that I met another hill bagger (Grahams in his case; he's already completed the Munros and Corbetts) as I was on my way up. Neither of us expected anyone else would be daft enough to be heading up such a hill on such a day, and both of us were doing so for the same reason ("needed to go for a walk somewhere today..."). We also agreed that it looked like it would be a lovely walk in good weather.

He warned me that the ATV track ended at the first summit, but the going was easy enough over to the second, higher, summit.

Turning around after the obligatory summit selfie, the wind was now blowing the mizzle straight into my face. Urgh!

But, it was a comparatively speedy job to get myself back down to the forest track, where I found that the cloud base had lifted, now sitting at a lofty 150m.

As walks conducted almost entirely without visibility go, this was probably a pretty good choice, with a line to follow most of the way and a gentle gradient. The use of an audiobook to entertain me, in the absence of anything to look at, also helped.

Unfortunately, there aren't any similar unbagged hills in the immediate vicinity, as the weather forecast for the next two days is similar to today, ruling out the hills I had intended to tackle next.

(*we'd stayed as long as we could at the campsite, which is just across the road from Inchree, but had to leave at noon. Aside from the fact they are fully booked over the weekend, so we couldn't extend our stay further, the price shot up today from the £17.50 per night we've paid for the last three nights to an eye-watering £30 per night).

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