Sunday 18th November 2012
Weather/Conditions: Wild conditions - lots of sun but always weak as it is at this time of year. Cumulus getting blasted through the sky along with spindrift on the plateau. Brilliant and absolutely thrilling conditions!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 16.9km / 800m / 4h 45m
But Maoile Lunndaidh awaited. This day wasn't so dark as the previous, but there was a bleakness in the pale blue skies, as the cold wind blew cumulus over the mountain summits. We headed out over the moors from Glenuaig in the direction of Maoile Lunndaidh. It didn't take long to reach the snow line and we plodded up to the northern flanks of the hills, passing beneath the massive Fuar-tholl Mor.
It was a pretty magnificent morning - I just felt so out there. I could see eastward, down to the greener parts of Scardroy. And yet that place, and any kind of fertility in land, felt a million miles away. We did not inhabit the same existence anymore. As tough as the Monar trip was, this was the lasting memory - one of feeling so far out there I seemed to lose any sense of what civilisation meant. The cold and darkness of the mountains reigned, and we were just to survive in it. All in all, very powerful things to feel.
Maoile Lunndaidh's summit just added to this sense - cumulus sailed past and the wind shot spindrift across the plateau. I have a video form the summit that shows just the screeching of the wind and the violence of the spindrift as it fires past. It wasn't practical to look into the wind, thus we couldn't do a roundtrip of Fuar-tholl Mor: we elected to head straight down the way we came.
It was a wonderful thing, to come so far into the wilderness in the depths of winter and see these mountains in all their grand desolation. I am very fond of Maoile Lunndaidh as a mountain in light of this trip - it's quality is one of just being way out there.
Some time after our trip, Maoile Lunndaidh's height was surveyed accurately and it's highest point was found to be Creag Toll a' Choin instead, some 750m away from the old summit! Nonetheless, Maoile Lunndaidh remains the Munro for the moment, and having finished my first round I needn't go back to 'correct' it. :-)
We headed back to Glenuaig under sunny skies, a gentle and enjoyable walk. It was a nice way to end the trip. Now we'd knocked off Maoile Lunndaidh, the pressure was gone, we just had to get back to the road. We packed our stuff and left Glenuaig. Struan put up a hell of a pace and I hauled ass to keep up! If nothing else we got out quickly.
We stopped to talk to a guy who was working on the track - he seemed to work in forestry if I remember correctly, and had been working in Glenelg before moving with the work to Glen Carron. Struan and I did the last miles to Craig with the Coulin summits in view and looking spectacular under a dusting of snow. We got back to the car park mid-afternoon in golden light.
The drive to Glasgow was long. I headed straight to Queen Street to drop Struan off at the train, then headed home myself. It had been a long, hard and very fulfilling weekend. I think I'd had my fill for a little while after this!
(0.00) 3.45pm Glenuaig
(1.45) 4.30pm Maoile Lunndaidh
(3.00) 5.55pm Glenuaig
(0.00) 7.10pm Glenuaig
(1.45) 7.50pm Craig