Today, I climbed the two Buachailles. 4 Munros done, many more miles walked and Yet. Another. Soaking.
When will they stop?!
I worked it out today: out of my 9 days so far, 6 have been absolute drenchings. It's a hell of a rate but likely not unusual. Right now I'm recovering each night with a comfy bed and somewhere to dry out clothes. But it might not always be that way. Perhaps sometime the 'summer' switch will flick on. The Highlands seemed to have a couple months of no rain before I arrived so perhaps that's summer over with!
All in all though, I've had a really good day. I was joined by Peter Dorrington and Andy Brown, both bringing treats and helping me over the hills. It makes such a big difference. Thanks so much for coming up, guys.
The skies were blue and bright in the morning, but the hills looked near and a front was on the way. The three of us set off up the western ridge of the Buachaille. Coire na Tulaich, the normal ascent route, was still snow-choked. So the ridge it was. I didn't want any repeat of yesterday.
Conditions on the top were pretty good. It was a bit cold and there was a little hail. But all in all, it was alright. On the way to Stob na Broige, the weather front hit, and the subsequent hills were climbed in varying states of damp cold. Each summit was reached and the next thought would be "move on". Strangely, despite the weather, I enjoyed myself deeply and every climb felt effortless. I've noticed during the past nine days that the actual walking is the really easy bit. It's just everything else on top that makes the difficulty stack up!
But back to the day. Sadly, Peter decided to bail after Buachaille Etive Mor. His company was amazing, and I'm sure we'll get up a hill again soon. Andy and I headed up to Buachaille Etive Beag. It was the kind of mountain where there was nothing to be gained spiritually. I simply climbed it to stand beside two wind-blasted cairns and tick the corresponding Munros off my list. Again it was fun. But the numbing cold was worming it's way in and by Munro #4, I was well ready to pack up and get out of there. Conditions were only deteriorating. I'm not a warm burner in any case, but I'm currently in the Clachaig (again), hours after finishing and I still have a chill. It's that damp cold...
Tomorrow I'm finishing my Glen Etive Munros with Struan and Andy. The weather looks pretty grim. I'd like to do the Blackmount traverse on Sunday, which would conclude my first big area - Bidean nam Bian excluded. I'm quite happy toughing this weather out while it's bad, but an improvement some day would be nice. I didn't realise I had it in me to stand so much rain, day after day.
I've also discovered my fitness on the rise in the last couple of days. At first I was cautious to tread beyond 5 hour days, but now things are ramping up and I feel I'm coping well.
Last of all, I had an a stunning quote from Dave Macleod swimming around my head all day, and I'd like to share it. It provided some comfort and direction in the midst of challenge, and for me, it gets right to the core of what I'm doing. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing.
"Having completed this route, if I had to give up climbing tomorrow due to some disaster, I’d be satisfied with my effort. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt that. Climbing it has confirmed in my mind something I felt for the first time after climbing Rhapsody; We can really do anything, and I mean anything we want. Circumstances are indeed barriers, but never impenetrable ones. We are limited only by knowing exactly what we want and having the pure motivation to find it. I always heard this idea from ‘motivational types’ in the past. As a sceptic I’ve spent over ten years trying to refute it by repeatedly trying seemingly impossible projects. Every time the result is the same – Tasks you are not truly motivated for may always remain beyond your reach, tasks you are deeply motivated for take you on a long and convoluted route around the barriers that circumstances create. Sometimes, in the thick of the maze of circumstances, you realise your motivation is not deep enough and its best to try something else. But when the motivation remains through deep frustration, the results are always… always… just around the corner.
How cool is that."