Maybe I should have been in a tent at dawn rather than the kitchen wearing a down jacket because I was up and about before the heating was on. But, the ongoing shoulder issues mean that’s not happening for mean time and besides, we’d had a fun family day on Saturday which only ended after BBC1’s Atlantis which Holly watches through a cushion as it’s on the scary side for her. The mountains will always be there, I’ll choose these kinds of days first every time.
The girls were still sleeping when I was scraping ice off the windscreen although the sky was starting to show some pale blue in it’s inky depths. Time to run.
The sun was up by the time I was on the track, the snow shone pink and the few clouds that there were burned bright orange in the weak early rays. When I was clear of the trees the sun flooded the hillsides and the day was up and running. I’d been second into the Arrochar car park but I knew on a day like today I wasn’t going to be alone. Quite right too.
I tweeted that photie above with the caption – Confusion reigned today when I found myself on a mountain during daylight hours. It was quite true, early hours ascents that didn’t start in a tent don’t happen often to me and it really was kinda fun. The colours went from warm to start blue and white instead of the other way around. Didn’t know whether I was coming or going. So I just went.
The snow was great, crampons went on first, well, second after the grin and my footprints were the first ones wherever I went until I climbed onto the regular path and met a fella with a dug who was just as happy as I was. We had some banter, they climbed on and I ate some cheese while looking around me. I can’t count how many times I’ve stood here and it still thrills me.
Everyone was going to the Cobbler, I could see them on the track far below, but the easy gullies between Beinn Narnain’s sheer crags were getting their first visitors. Glorious.
The top is a strange place, suddenly flat after the rocky drama on the last pull up. Clouds which had crept from the surface of Loch Long bubbled below the crags and over the top of A’Chrois where I was going to head.
It was already enough, the virgin snow, the clear blue above, but those little clouds brought magic to the day. I made a wee home for myself, lit the stove and sat back in the sun.
Met a couple from Glasgow, you’ll see them in some of the photies. They wore the same grin, I think they must have been handing them out at the Arrochar car park and I was too sleepy to notice taking mine. They proved durable though, the old fella I ended the day with hand’t even scuffed his when he slipped on the descent from The Cobbler.
There was a Broken Spectre floating around below me when the wisps of cloud ribboned across the ridge, a perfect circle when I watched it, in the blink of a camera’s eye just fragments of rainbow. It’s just enough to spark the memory.
It’s been so long since I’ve been on the ridge to A’Chrois I don’t think it’s been on the blog, shame on me as it’s a cracking stretch to walk, especially with the snow cover. Beinn Ime’s dark coire looms at you across the glen and as you walk north you feel ever closer to the peaks beyond Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich. Nevis looks like it’s at the end of the street. What joy folks must have been having all over this wee country today.
I wasn’t moving very fast, there was no need. The day overtook me quite easily and the sun had started to sink by the time I left A’Chrois for the twisty descent of its south ridge. Ileft the snow and was back on grass.
Time for a snack, a wee drink and a sit down. The last views before I got too low to see far turned warm in hue to match the warmer air I was a little dismayed to find as I lost height.
There’s always something else though, the stone belly button, the suspicious standing stones probably left by the 1940’s dam builders and the joys of the horrendously eroded old path that goes straight down to the car park. A few years of the new path and this way has gone all to hell. It’ll either turn completely into a burn or grow over. Given that it was there just to support dam building infrastructure maybe that’s just fine, but I think it’s a wee bit sad.
Half an hour and I was home, the girls were all crazy, dinner was ready and my slippers were soft and fluffy. All my favourite things in one day.
One last thought, I marked 1100hrs and wore my poppy all day. The freedom to do what we do didn’t come without a cost.