Things have been getting busier and busier. I can just tell they're going to reach a head sooner or later.
I've made great progress this week in everything to do with the Munro Round and I continue to stumble toward the finishing blocks with my university work. I thought I'd take a minute out from that to fill in the gaps.
Last weekend, I went for a long drive all around the Highlands. I'd pre-prepared boxes of non-perishable food and set off with just short of 20 in the back of the car - in the back of an Aygo they take up more room than you think.
On Saturday, I stopped by the Rumblie in Laggan (a nice B+B) and they were happy to take one. In Aviemore, Hazel happily took 4 day's supplies to be delivered later to Glen Shee. I stopped in Boat of Garten for a cup of tea and bacon roll, and Fiona and George took a package which will later see me over the western Cairngorms.
But I had to head to the northwest, out of soft eastern hills with their spacious skies and colour, and to Kinlochewe where towers of sandstone were accompanied by cloud and a bit of drizzle. Typical.
So much happened in the following 24 hours. I talked mountains and life with Gerry in Achnashellach for 45 minutes; stopped for a drink at the Kintail Lodge Hotel, deciding whether to make a booking for July (I did). I drove up to the Cluanie in the moonlight with snow-streaked summits and cloud tearing at the tops. Rain was pelting down at the Cluanie, dark and windswept. They took a package very readily and this helped me a lot, since they're the only building for miles.
That night I slept in the front seat of the car at the Glen Garry viewpoint, and set off to Kinlochhourn in the morning. That's another desolate stretch of road: it starts in pleasant leafy driveways; and ends in steep bends among shocking contortions of rock for the final descent to Loch Hourn.
|Stag on the Kinlochhourn road. They're some of the first I've|
seen who don't scamper at the sight of humanity.
It was 9am on a Sunday morning. Joe, who stays there, had the cafe open. We talked about rock music and hills over tea I left a parcel with him (which, like Gerry's, was made mouse-proof) and headed south to Fersit, between Spean Bridge and Laggan. I left a parcel with a house there, then went down to Kinlochleven for another cup of tea and some ice climbing. I also gave James three parcels to keep in Fort William. Final packages went to Glen Etive, Bridge of Orchy and then I headed home.
Two days away and I felt like I'd been gone a week. The Highlands are like that.
|The Ice Factor, Kinlochleven. Awesome.|
Recently, the upcoming walk has felt a little bearing down. It's a challenge I look forward to, but it's always there and I'm keen to get some miles under my feet. I've cut back my walking recently to fund and gather momentum for this upcoming trip, and it means I've forgotten a little what it really feels like to be on a mountain.
|Buachaille Etive Mor looking great as ever. In a couple of weeks I'll be up there.|
On the way home, I took a quick walk up Meall Mor, a small top on Rannoch Moor. It's a small hill but high enough to feel like your really up there among it all. Rannoch Moor was spread at my feet with my upcoming route wrapping around in every direction. That one small hill was enough to remember how much I love doing this, and that once I'm on my way, the stats, worries and calories should wash away in a daze of fun. As long as that core love for the activity is there I don't see myself having a problem. Just keep fuel in the tank, eat well, sleep well, and don't let the schedule rule the roost.
Just five days to go and it's looking good.
|Meall Mor on Rannoch Moor. A great place to refresh the mind.|