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]

Thursday 10 May 2018

Glas-Charn (NM846837; 633m)

Wednesday 9 May
Distance: 3.7 miles
Ascent: around 600m
Weather: a bit of rain to start, then increasingly fine.

In the context of hills or backpacking, I'm an early bird. My preference is always to start early. Sometimes I find myself wishing I'd set out later (e.g. when the cloud clears just as I get back down into the valley); sometimes I find myself wishing I'd set out earlier (e.g. when rain hits half way through the outing); and sometimes it's just not logistically possible to get the early start I'd like (e.g. when we're at a campsite in Bunree and have chores to do and errands to run, as well as a bit of a drive to the day's objective).

Today there was another incentive to set out late: the weather was horrible for most of the day. Even running from Bertie to Morrison's (about 20 yards) was unpleasant.

However, the MetOffice said that the rain was going to clear Mallaig by 4pm and Fort William by 5pm, and as my hill was in between the two, I reckoned I could probably set out at 4.30pm.

We duly arrived at my start point at 4.15pm ... and I set about doing some knitting whilst the rain drummed down. At 5pm, as it continued to drum down, I started to get myself ready to go, figuring that in all sensibleness, if I wasn't out the door by 5.30pm, I couldn't go at all.

At 5.30pm I stepped out the door and was heartened to be able to see the tailing edge of the weather front heading towards us, with blue sky beyond. Off I set up the hillside.

The route I'd planned involved walking along the road for about a kilometre, then taking a hydro-works track up to around 250m, where it ends. That would have involved walking 2 sides of a triangle (not to mention a horrible walk along an A road), so I opted for the third side of the triangle instead: up the hill to intercept the end of the track.

It wasn't until I got back to Bertie that I looked up the hill at where I had been and realised that it would have been perfectly feasible to take an even more direct line - the line I'm looking down, towards Bertie, in the his snap:

There's not much to say about the walk. It was easy-enough going, through splendid surroundings and in increasingly good weather (although I never did get the wall-to-wall sunshine promised from 7pm), although underfoot was comedy-wet, having rained all day. I'd opted for my mesh trail-runners, so I had a fresh shoeful of water on pretty much every step of the way.

With a little bit of up, down and around the lumpiness that lay in my path, the summit suddenly came into view before me. The landscape around me was fantastic - something I've failed to capture in these snaps:

My descent was more-or-less a retracing of my steps, with just a couple of variations thrown in and I arrived back at Bertie at just gone 7.30. Fortunately I had a very quick and easy tea planned!


  1. I prefer early starts also, mainly so that I van have the remainder of the day/evening to chill out after the exertions.

    1. That's another reason why yesterday's hills may have seemed harder. Having finished the previous day's hill at 7.30pm and then set out again before 8am, I didn't get my usual afternoon and evening of rest.

  2. I do believe I contoured that there lump on the first day of my Challenge last year...