Tuesday 28 July 2015

A' Ghlas-bheinn

I spent a good hour or so last night, preparing a top quality post with hilarious references to Gilbert & Sullivan songs intended to give a flavour of just how wet this hillwalk was last Saturday, and explaining at great length why I hadn't followed through the original plan to go camping. Amongst other highlights, there were clever references to incipient alcoholism amongst middle aged outdoorsy types and heartfelt observations on the unreliability of weather forecasting and the fallout therefrom.

Regrettably, when fine tuning the oeuvre for publication, I pressed the wrong ****ing button and lost it all, so youse are getting some photographs instead.

This hill is adjacent to Beinn Fhada. I mentioned that one a few days back.

In passing, even if I hadn't grassed myself up last time around, and wanted to pretend that I'd done both hills on the same day, Molly's intervening haircut would have rather given the game away. The point being, our story commences from the junction where, on the Fhada walk, you hang a right, away from the main path...

For A' Ghlas-bheinn, the route lies straight ahead, and it's an impressive path that cuts across the hillside, proceeding into a steep sided gorge which eventually leads up to the Bealach na Sgairne.

The fact you can see the notch on the skyline that marks the bealach itself does pull you on a wee bit. Molly still decided to pause and sniff the air just below the cairn that marks the high point though...

...but you soon get there anyway.

It's a bit more substantial than the "sidepath" cairn so it's safe to assume that dog-guide or not you won't wander past the thing and fail to see the start of the hill path on the left that begins to take you upwards. Quite steeply. It skirts some impressively craggy stuff and gives reasonably (if wet and slightly eroded) going, escalating you until the ridge/undulating plateau/endless collection of false summits hoves into view.

As far as I can see, without exception, every report you read about this hill contains lamentations about this false summit scenario. It's hard to disagree; and at least I was favoured with breaks in the weather meaning that I had a vague idea of the lie of the land. I suspect it could be a pretty frustrating day if you had impenetrable clag accompanying your stumbling progress over endless bouldery anti-climaxes. As it were.

On the plus side however, as a gesture of good faith to the vexed hillwalker, the local authority has apparently seen fit to instal one of those fancy infinity pools halfway along the ridge. It certainly serves to break the damp monotony.

Molly approved...

And actually, once you're past that point the views begin to open up properly and there's only about five or six false summits left. Result!

The fact is that you have a properly enjoyable walk from this point on, inclement conditions or not. And as it happened, the constant earlier drizzle, which had admittedly latterly given way to a proper downpour, eased off. I could see where I was in relation to the assumed summit, and it was largely fitting in with my hoped-for timescale. As a huge bonus, there wasn't another soul anywhere on the hill, so I didn't need to pretend to be remotely sociable. I could eat my pieces, take photies of the Big Dug, and enjoy the...isolation.

And actually - on mature reflection - I won't ruin the mood by detailing the torrentially hammering relentless deluge that characterised the walk back down. ;)

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