Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Glencoe Part 2.Ardsheal Hill.

This is a continuation from Alex,s Pap Of Glencoe Sunday blog posting a few weeks ago about wot we done on our first outing with our old club for a while.We actually liked our weekend that much we,ve been out with them several times now on the hills since then but with my computer being kaput  for over a month I,m just catching up.In the best Hollywood tradition this here's the prequel.
Early Saturday morning saw the befuddled and bleary eyed club members ,who had been so full of beans only the night before(Damn them, keeping a living legend like me awake til 4 in the morning!) crawl out of sleeping bags into the pale dawn light.Rain and sleet hammered off the windows of Black Rock cottage under the shadow of the big Buachaille in Glencoe.
I admired my young hutmates dedication to their chosen sport as they pulled on waterproofs and set off to bag the unseen storm lashed heights.
"Well done guys." I voiced."You are doing the club proud!" I then turned over and went back to sleep again.
I,d seen the forecast the night before and knew it was heavy rain all day til a possible sun window over Loch
Linnhe around three o,clock.
When I awoke for the second time only Andy and Alex were left in the hut, us veterans taking advantage of modern state of the art weather development.ie we,d watched the TV at 6.50pm.The younger team had  no doubt seen it as well but bad conditions never put them off.They like it rough on the heights.Good weather is  just wasted on the young anyway.
We sat happily in the living room of the cottage(this was taken the night before) munching biscuits and crisps and reading books and magazines from the Ladies Climbing Clubs varied selection of books in the library.The place has a lot of history and old photos of past and present members.I myself  favoured the small collection of women's magazines and was engrossed in an article  about how to lose a stone off your bum in under a month.Alex and Andy read the climbing books.(Yawn.)
On the way up seen this nifty plug in deer in a tourist hot spot.Then saw a real one in the Kingshouse car park.Spooky or what,how the hell do you tell the difference?

Around lunchtime, a by now bored Andy ,set off in the rain to do a hill.Alex and Myself continued staunchly festering awaiting the golden moment of opportunity.Folk think its easy finding the sun on the bigger hills.It takes years of practice and dedication to fester properly yet still keeping concentration levels high.I concentrated on a  packet of jaffa cakes and Katy Perry,s ample bottom.It would be a crying shame if she lost a stone from there I mused.
At 2pm we set off for the Clachaig Inn at the foot of the glen and met some of the rest of the club in the bar,by now chased off the hills early by grim conditions on the upper slopes.Preferring instead this cosy watering hole.
There used to be a cheeky wee robin that came right in the bar and stole your nuts.Maybe this is him.
With the rigors of the hill  still ahead of us the two oldies had a coke each. We take our mountaineering seriously!
"Are you two old duffers actually going to do something today?" Various club members inquired."
"Yup" Said Alex,admiring their sodden gear steaming beside the big log fire." Just waiting for the sun to arrive".
"Good luck with that then." They said.
By 2.30 it had stopped raining so we set off.
No sun in Glencoe yet but it was lifting steadily off the hills on the road round to Kentallen.Alex,Mr Mountain picker extraordinaire,Had his eye on a little cracker called Ardsheal Hill above this hamlet.It had extensive views over the islands in Loch Linnhe and up towards the Corran Ferry area.
At 3.oopm exactly a hole appeared in the clouds and we raced up for the sunset.It got dark by 4.oopm so that gave us an hour to reach the summit.No problem to such dedicated mountaineers.
What can I say?When we reached the upper slopes our gamble had paid off in style with mist and grey skies lifting into a stunning evening window of golden warmth.
This is the islands of Shuna and Lismore I think.We also had a vivid rainbow right above us and great views towards the Corran Ferry.
Then a sunset of lingering beauty to remember.

Worth putting in the extra time asleep in bed and so much determined festering in a warm cottage.If its a tough job send for tough men.
As it was still early back at the car  we set off for the Ice Factor at Kinlochleven where our old pal Jamie(see Alex,s link on Pap of Glencoe entry.) has his  jaggy  castle.
Alex had been up for a visit several times but I,d never seen it yet due to not getting away for weekends much for many years and restricted opportunities.Jamie was away on business when we arrived but his wife Tracey showed us around and gave us a quick tour of the numerous facilities.

There was a dry tooling competition in full swing on one of climbing walls so we had  tea and a sticky bun watching the action.The most intimidating apparatus though was the huge and very high summer outdoor climbing frame which gave us the heeby jeebies just thinking about walking along the top rails.
We said our goodbyes and drove back for another night of singing,howling,guitar spanking and assorted party games.
As luck would have it Jamie arrived after dinner ,a big smile on his face,beer,banjo and tin whistle  in hand to join the entertainment.He has lost none of his energy and verve and was into his stride with Julians guitar as soon as he was through the door.His playing has improved a lot since the last time I met him,(It was always pretty good even back then) but sadly his admiration for the Corries folk duo,s repertoire of songs remains undiminished :o)
A good night was had and another morning hangover beckoned.
Oh dear! Now I remember why I became an abstaining recluse.


Anonymous said...

Ah...no substitute for experience!

I think my best timing ever was on Cam Chreag when we had a late start 'cause the forecast said it would clear early pm. Cap'n Jack was most impressed as we approached the summit in cloud only for it to disperse completely as we dumped our bags at the cairn. Magic!

Sadly no pub involved.

bigvally said...

Cracking pics Bob! And I was one of the foolish "young" ones who went out in the rain on the Saturday. Unfortunately I wish I could still claim to be young :-(

blueskyscotland said...

To Ken.
Aye, its us older ones who still know a few tricks on the hills when we need to pull a cute weather rabbit out the hat.
To bigvally.
Rubbish! Yer still a bouncy pup!
By the way Have you had implants?When did you become bigvally? :o)

Robert Craig said...

Looks like a nice Marilyn! Going up a hill in the rain is overrated. Makes the pint at the end taste better though!

The Glebe Blog said...

When I was a youngster setting out on the alcohol trail in true Scottish tradition,one old pro gave me this advice.He said that if there were any rhododendron bushes handy,a half hour in amongst them would cure any hangover.
I can't confirm whether it works or not,but judging by the drunks I've seen under said bushes,there might be something in it.

These are fabulous pictures Bob. Scotland's scenery is second to none.

reformed badboy said...

Are you the Alex formerly know as uncle Fester

Alex. said...

You an old Clachaig member Badboy ?


reformed badboy said...

That i might be but now living far in the west :)

Alex said...

Would you be being a Ness man yourself then Badboy :)

reformed badboy said...

No Uncle Fester cos that who you be i'm abad boy reformed from Dunoon


blueskyscotland said...

Hi Scott.Hope you are still enjoying yourself and haven,t reformed too much :o) bob.

Alex. said...
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