An Cabar (Ben Wyvis) - 946m
Glas Leathad Mor (Ben Wyvis) - 1046m

Sunday 25th July 2010

Weather/Conditions: Dry for most of the ascent but thick cloud base around 600m. Lots of wind and rain up top plus some showers on descent.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 13.5km / 920m / 4h 20m
Accompanying: Michael Kerrigan and Pete and Dorota Swales

A very wet trip.

It's quite a shame that it was so because my willing to bet that Ben Wyvis is a great hill, just not on this occasion. The initial plan was to do two days walking with Michael - Ullapool as our base - but the wet forecast, the cold I'd coughed across from the Western Isles and Michael's weekend tally already of three Munros decided that we cut the plan short and head home after Wyvis.

On the Saturday I took the boat over to Ullapool with family, saw them off as they left for Glasgow and went for a meal with Michael, Pete and Dorota. Michael and I camped in the Ullapool campsite for a comfortable night, although the weather the next morning left much to be desired. Sunday morning in Ullapool is easily depressing and we found nowhere to have breakfast. Cereal in the car then. I was coughing continually, the rain fell hard and cold in the wind. This didn't feel good and we'd almost have gone home to Glasgow empty handed.

But we drove to Garbat to meet up with Pete and Dorota. The weather was a bit kinder, the rain gone but cloud remaining. The hills looked bleak with felled forestry, their grey slopes and a monochrome sky above. Well at least the rain was off - no reason not to go now. My cold seemed to have subsided since the previous day, so we packed up and headed out of the car park.

Physical effort and the relative warmth of the day had us in t-shirts and we sweated our way out of the forestry. Above some hillsides revealed themselves but there wasn't anything to see. We climbed into the cloud, passing a couple others on their way down the mountain. With a "tourist" path to follow and no views to reward effort, the hill verged on boring, although I counted on my old hunch of having early grunt-work paying off higher up.

Sadly the grunt work didn't pay off, but near the top of the rock staircase that makes up the path, the waterworks switched on and we continued to get soaked all the way to An Cabar. The high, flat walk to Glas Leathad Mor was only windier and wetter. By the time we arrived at the top I felt like a drowned rat. And now as the rain continued to fall, we turned around and left the cold grey summit, down past An Cabar and out of the cloud. The horrendous weather eased, but the hill had been featureless and sadly not all that fun.

Nevermind though. A few more heavy showers hit us as we made our way down to the car park. Michael and I decided to pack up and head for home, so we headed back down the A9. In a cruel twist, no more than 15 minutes had passed when the sun started coming out, and within the hour the skies were beautifully clear, with a sunset in full swing from Drumochter to the Central Belt. Such is the deal with Scottish weather.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.25pm Garbat
(1.45) 1.10pm An Cabar
(2.25) 1.50pm Glas Leathad Mor
(4.20) 3.45pm Garbat

Written: 2010-07-27