Wednesday, 29 December 2010
The Cobbler. Well, almost !
As you can see I was invited by our club to go out on the traditional big group outing after Christmas to walk off any leftover turkey and sprouts.After being keener than me Alex pulled out at the last minute due to catching a weather forecast.Heavy overnight snowfalls turning to rain by the time of our visit.Like anyone bagging the bigger hills Iv`e spent years in conditions like this.Can`t say I miss that bit much.
What I do miss though is the banter of a big crowd so I went anyway.I was glad I did as it turned out to be a cracker.You missed yourself Alex.
What made it enjoyable for me and everyone else I presume was dry snow and no wind.For once on a big winter hill I was toasty warm.
As you can observe Alex and myself do have other friends.Ugly lot aren't they? We don`t always spend our time roaming the mountains hand in hand picking daises together :o) No sir, we used to go out on the greater ranges with these rough guys and a few rough girls all the time but it got too hard for our old legs to keep that up on a regular basis.
Hence the blog ,still bagging peaks but in ever declining circles,slowly falling to the big box in the ground with a smile. (separate boxes in different cemeteries by the way that daisy thing was just a joke.)
Anyway,gathered as a team in the ice wrapped car park at Arrochar below the Cobbler and set off.The amount of fresh snow that had fallen in one night was amazing.
This is a quarter of the way up the hill where we could still see.Further up at the lunchstop boulders it turned murky.
After lunch it was decided the curve up to the col was too easy.Were we not cabable men,well equipped ,bristling with ice axes, poles and crampons like a 20 legged porcupine?We would climb up via a suitable gully onto the ridge.
Up we went boldly into the mist.Visibility was down to a stones throw then dropped even further the higher we climbed.
Not wanting to appear too decrepit or past it amongst these young folk I had a tried and tested plan for occasions such as these.Any time anyone pointed at a rock face or steep gully looming out the mist skywards and asked the others if this was the right direction I nodded sagely and declared" Looks as if it will go.I,ll follow you up"
Never let it be said I`ve lost my greater range abilities or sense of bold adventure!
Forth the Gallant crew! Up we went into the murk between barely visible cliffs in a fine caterpillar line of axes, poles,thrashing limbs and in my case crampons.Well,my summer boots are really comfy.The winter ones give me blisters every time and they are heavy.
Up we struggled......then backed down again repulsed by ever steepening ground and crumbling giant slabs of snow.No risk of an avalanche though due to all the large boulders underfoot.Opps!Sorry folks,didnt see you there.My mistake.My bad.My bad!!!
All the way down then a traverse across to the next gully in thigh deep snow.Everyone kept looking at me for some reason.I was good in this stuff at one time but I was out of practice in crap conditions.And there was no way I was taking my warm gloves off to look at a map if nobody else was.:o)
"Looks like it might go boys!" I offered helpfully.
Forth the club upwards into the murk once more.
And met a headwall spider man couldn't have climbed with a superglue tracksuit on.
My old leadership skills came back to me though.I knew what to do next........
And down we went.
After another traverse under the cliffs we came across another gully.No one asked my opinion this time but they seemed to be getting the hang of it by now......up we went....
And back down again.
Who says snakes and ladders is an obsolete game nowadays.
It was great fun but it was not far off nightfall now so we had to admit defeat.Our route thus far must have resembled a drunk man staggering home across a city sized kids roundabout tilting at a steep angles while revolving slowly.
On the plus side it was all good natured with great banter and laughs,everyone returned safely and I don't think anyone was all that bothered about getting to the summit which we would not have seen much of anyway just felt by the increased strengh of the windchill.It certainly got rid of those Christmas calories.
On the negitive side,once relaxed and back at my house I dropped a spare sock on the ground beside the car and had a real job bending down to pick it up I was so stiff and sore.Every part of my body ached.It`s a bugger getting old.
Never mind.First guy down off the hill though.There`s some life in the old skool dug yet.
Thanks for a great day out guys.You know who you all are.