Beinn nan Aighenan - 960m
Meall nan Trì Tighearnan - 892m
Glas Bheinn Mhor - 997m
Sunday 5th May 2013
Weather/Conditions: In the morning, I had dry overcast, occasional sun beating down - almost too good to be true, but it seemed on the cusp of change. The front hit on the top of Starav - wet out to Aighenan, then I swam up Glas Bheinn Mhor on a raging tailwind, getting soaked the whole time. My lower arms, legs, feet and face were saturated - to the bone. Became too cold for comfort here and descended to the glen instead. Rivers were raging and entire hillsides were under water, rain hammering out the sky. I didn't bother getting the camera out again!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 21.7km / 2000m / 8h
First of all, I see I appeared in the Scottish Sun today! (page 31 for anyone wondering). It's a really nice short article. It seems I was the last to see it, too - too busy being up mountains.
I mentioned in my last post, that today I'd go for the 5 Munros of Starav. Dad left me in Glen Etive last night, and I pretty much got straight to sleep.
This morning, I came around and realised that yesterdays wind had died and the rain had stopped too. Looking out the tent, there were even wee scraps of blue sky. Too good to be true, just about - I packed my bags and got going while the weather was still good.
Walking into Ben Starav was excellent this morning. The sun was out, the old pines glowed and the rivers roared and twisted over granite slabs. Old-school Dream Theater in my ears. But I was anxious too. A hot sun beating down seemed almost too good to be true. In the gaps between the mountains, cumulus domes sailed past on a brisk wind and the blue sky beyond was unnaturally deep. Yes, the weather was good, but it seemed on the cusp of change.
Starav was a long plod to the top. I went to the Tri Tighearnan bealach first, then up the ridge to the top (I couldn't find a bridge to get access to the normal route, the north ridge).
Snowfields and mist met me on top and dad phoned: he said rain was moving in. Two minutes after the phone call, I touched the summit cairn and the first drops of rain spat.
The following two Munros must be the most drenched I've ever been. I plodded up Beinn nan Aighenan (Munro #2) in thick mist. It was honestly quite boring. But it's a remote one, so best get it done today.
I swam up Glas Bheinn Mhor (#3) on a raging tailwind. I'd been getting soaked the whole time. My lower arms, legs, feet and face were saturated. That's with waterproofs on! The conditions were absolutely vile yet as I came over the summit, I became convinced for the first time during the day I really might make the last two Munros - if I could keep my head together. It would be nice not to have to return for them. I also realised that although I was soaked to the skin I was actually enjoying myself a lot. It was a warm wind, so my movement was without urgency unlike the day on Cruachan.
As I began the climb to Stob Coir an Albannaich (#4) I stopped for food and drink and realised how cold I was getting. Rain was hammering out the sky, carried by a brisk wind blowing up the coire from Etive.
I enjoy the rough conditions, but it's always time to turn back when the damp cold stops me from getting warm. If I hadn't stopped for a drink I might have gone all the way to the summit. A moment's pause let me realise the scale had tipped. I'd reached my limit and it was time to go down. No guilt, no turmoil. A simple decision that enough was enough. Anyway, considering the conditions, I'd done pretty well.
I'll return for the last two sometime later in the week.
I walked back down to Glen Etive. Rivers were raging and entire hillsides were under water. I got back to the tent, dried off, and got straight into the sleeping bag for some heat. Mum arrived an hour later.
I'm in the Clachaig now, I've had a meal and a drink and I'm heading back to a place in Ballachulish for the night. So much for roughing it!! (that's for later) Tomorrow is Beinn Sgulaird and the day after is Beinn Fhionnlaidh and Sgor na h-Ulaidh.
The weather has been pretty awful in the past few days but hopefully it will dry up soon. I've not really noticed the weather though. I'm in a mindset I hoped I'd be in - whatever happens, happens. And the result is that suddenly I don't mind walking through sheets of rain.
That's all for now!
(0.00) 7.40am Glen Etive
(3.25) 11.05pm Beinn Starav
(4.57) 12.37pm Beinn nan Aighenan
(6.20) 2.00pm Glas Bheinn Mhor
(8.00) c. 3.40pm Glen Etive