In terms of Munro count, this was a satisfying day! I'm up to 86 from 81. It was also a fairly big day, but now I have a solid fitness, that doesn't seem to matter much. Glen Ey is an area of little lumpy Munros, a bit of a contrast to the immense Cairngorms directly to the north. I'd done three of the five Munros in the past, but the other two hadn't been done and it gave me two completely fresh ones to add to my count (the first time this had happened on the Round since Ben More on Mull over a month ago).
I planned an early start but I had the inevitable lie-in and got going around 8am. Only a couple hours later than planned... A bike ride brought me up Glen Ey to Alltanour Lodge at the end of the track. From there I was on foot in an anti-clockwise direction, so Carn Bhac first. (which it turned out was #82 - 200 to go, although I only realised later)
For the first time in a while I was very edgy all day, half-expecting not to climb all the planned summits. The reason was that the weather forecast had suggested possible thunder, and the thought of thunder on the hills scares the willies out of me. So although that part of the forecast didn't transpire, it sure as hell kept me on my toes.
The hills were a great moorland romp. These hills seem to get a bit of a panning, but I really like them, especially the cluster around Loch nan Eun.
On the way to Beinn Iutharn Mhor, I nearly (accidentally) speared a ptarmigan (maybe a grouse?) with one of my trekking poles. I got a hell of a fright when it exploded into action to reveal a cluster of eggs in the heather. I hope it returned to them afterward...
Carn an Righ was #3 and thankfully a short climb from the bealach. On the way up, I met Anne and her friend (forgive me, I forgot your name) and we had a short craic, and then again on the way down.
The day followed a pattern: I'd speed up to the summit of a Munro, look around at the skies to see if there were any thunder-bearing showers coming. On each one, I'd think "phew, at least one more hill then". It was an exhausting game to play, but retrospectively it was also fun: the adrenaline gave me one hell of a boost! It was only as I made my way from #4, Glas Tulaichean, to #5, An Socach, that I thought I'd definitely make it. I get too worried about thunder for my own good....
I did An Socach fairly fast, then headed off the hill and back to the bike at Alltanour Lodge. A freewheel down the glen brought me back to the car, and I drove back to Braemar to meet Hazel McDonnell who had some food waiting for me.
All in all, it was a good day - thankfully successful and also a bit nervy for quite pathetic reasons! It clears out a big area of the Grampians and leaves me with a large swathe of summits now climbed in this region. The Glas Maol 6 tomorrow will only strengthen that. Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch are outstanding, but everything is going well and I feel really good. Things should just keep on progressing. In a couple of weeks I'll be well on my way to finishing every Munro south of the Great Glen. What a thought!