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 7 May 2017

Beinn Chapull and Carn Dearg

Friday 5 May

Beinn Chapull (NM937196; 515m) and Carn Dearg (NM896190; 438m)

Yesterday afternoon's strong wind had reduced significantly by the time I woke this morning and, with another clear blue sky above us, I wasted little time in drinking two cups of tea and eating some breakfast before hauling the bike back out. Given that we hadn't moved since I arrived back from yesterday’s hill, I had to question why I'd bothered putting the bike away.

Abandoning the bike at the road end, I knew where I was headed, but that didn't stop me from striding straight past where I was meant to leave the track, fooled into not checking the map by seeing a good track heading uphill a short distance further on. A short backtrack and a steep pull up some cropped grass took me to a gate adjacent to the top corner of a small plantation, beyond which a reasonable track/ATV track took me up to around 330m. There I had a dither (actually, I found a hundred excuses to pause and think today; I think my legs were a bit tired) trying to decide whether to continue along the ATV track or whether to follow the new fence as it made a 90 degree turn. I did the former on the way up (not that it continued much further, although various other tyre lines through the grass were picked up later) and the latter on way back. There wasn't much to chose between either option.

The ripples in my surroundings meant the high point wasn't obvious as I approached, giving the compass much exercise. Whilst it's no problem taking a bearing from the map on my phone, if I'd remembered to pick up the paper map as I left, it would have been easier.

Having visited the top...

...and made my way back down, I was within 100 metres of my bike (taking a short cut, rather than following the track) when I accidentally part-dipped my foot in a stream. A notable occurence as this is usually a very wet area, as I'd read in other people's reports and as was evident from the ground, but such are the dry conditions at the moment that the accidental stream dipping was the only time any dampness entered my shoes on either of these hills (and I was wearing Terrocs, a mesh trail runner).

Moving my bike by a matter of a couple of hundred meters (to where I should have left it to start with) I took a non-standard approach to pick up the track which leads a good way up Carn Dearg. Why? Because I could hear a farmer rounding up his sheep in the field I needed to cross, so I skirted the boundary, left the field, and made my way steeply up a cattle trod instead. Probably a pretty good way to go, actually.

By the time my feet were on the track it sounded like a serious altercation was going on behind me. I deduced that the dog's name was Jess and that she *really* didn't want to come by.

The track made easy work of the ascent, then I left it and out came the compass again as I made my way through tussocks (with the occasional helpful section of tyre tracks) around lumps and bumps, unable to see which one bore the summit cairn. Eventually it came into view, although not until I was nearly on it.

With the haze, I'm not sure this summit shot really shows off what a perfect day it was, again..., having made my way back down to the road end (by a more direct line than my ascent) I paused on my way past Loch Scammadale to capture the gorgeous blueness of the sky:

This first hill had come in at 4.3 miles with around 500m of ascent, the second at the tiniest margin over 3 miles with around 375m. Five miles were biked.

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