I headed off to other areas: Crianlarich, Killin, Glen Lyon, Loch Fyne and Loch Lomond, and piece by piece worked through every other Munro south of Rannoch Moor. In recent days, I reached a point where Bidean could hardly be ignored any longer, and I came back today to get it done.
In the last two days, Dad and I had a magnificent trip to Glen Lyon. I climbed seven Munros in perfect weather. We headed home last night, and today, I took mums car up to Glen Coe so I can work my way back down the A82 and finish the remaining Munros.
I didn't get started on Bidean nam Bian until 3pm today. I had a forest-fight to begin, but it didn't last, thank god. I was out on open slopes soon enough. Skies were thick with cloud, but there were breaks every so often and the cloud base was at least far above the summits.
I started from Glen Etive istead of Glen Coe primarily becuase I wanted absolutely nothing to stop me from getting to the top. I'd seen photos online from others who had climbed Bidean in recent days via. the Lost Valley. There was snow there, and it didn't seem to pose a threat. But I wasn't taking a chance now. Anyway, Glen Etive would be an interesting way to do it, and in retrospect it was so worth climbing Bidean from this side for the strange and refreshing prespective it gave me on a glen that I now unfairly associate with the stress and uncertainty of the walk's early days. Ben Starav stole the show: with Beinn Trilleachan on the opposite side of the glen, it forms the most complete, eloquent U-shaped valley I've ever seen anywhere, and even has a ribbon of loch to fill it's base.
From the steep slopes above the road, the broad open hillsides of Stob Coire Sgreamhach opened out and I headed steadily towards the top. This side is very, very unlike Glen Coe: no narrow ridges or steep coires, just open slopes that are much more in keeping with the rest of the Highlands. On top I shot a panorama, and without much pause, headed off to Bidean nam Bian.
This bit was easy, since there's a well used path between the two hills. Wee spots of rain were the only disappointment in terms of weather. To stand on the summit of Bidean nam Bian was only sweeter as it had held me back previously. I'd seen nobody all afternoon but for distant figures on Stob Coire nan Lochan, and the weather seemed to be closing in.
I headed back over Stob Coire Sgreamhach (missing out the summit) and back down the slopes to Etive. Starav looked a lot darker than it had when I first arrived in the glen. The air down low was humid and still - it would be perfect midge weather if May hadn't been so cold. I was happy to be back at the car four hours after setting off, especially so as I felt physcially great all the way, if a little quick to tire. I left Etive for the last time this trip, and drove down to Bridge of Orchy where I am now.
Tomorrow, I'll be doing the four Munros of Ben Lui with Andy Brown. It's looking like it'll be seriously wet once more, so most likely it will be a heads-down-and-get-on-with-it day. After that, it seems like it'll brighten up again, but I can't complain: recent hill days have given me very good conditions. Although May hasn't been a great month, the last week or so (especially the Glen Lyon days with dad) have more than made up for it.
I have a few big days ahead: the Lui 4, Blackmount 4 and Arrochar 4, each in a day. For now I've just got to keep myself fed and rested as usual. I've still so long until Ben Hope in August, and it's still a little overwhelming (trick: don't think about it), but I'm now on course to have completed a month, on schedule, and that feels really good. Just repeat that twice more! Success is far from certain, but surely it would take a really good reason, or something big, to stop me?