The reason for our Northern Gothic trip was to hunt hills. In this case it was a winter excursion down Glen Strathfarrar to collect the remote Corbett of An Sidhean at the very end of the glen, halfway down Loch Monar. As it's a private locked glen we had to phone in advance for the security access code to the padlocked gate at the start. Munro baggers come here to collect the Strathfarrar big four and sometimes do Maoile Lunndaidh from here as well. It's the only time I've been down here to do just that and I remember a miserable night spent shivering in an orange plastic bivi-bag in a cold gully waiting for sunrise to claim this isolated and hard to reach solitary Munro.
" Best of luck boys. Have a great day! "
" You're not coming up the hill?" They exclaimed. "C'mon. It's character building!"
" I,ll set up base camp here in case of emergencies." I informed them, getting out my Iron Bru and almond slices, then a big Mississippi mud muffin bun. They had both been walking at a frantic pace to eat up the long miles into the hill and complete it in daylight hours whereas I had eating of a different kind in mind... now I had a lovely view down the loch. " Thankfully, my character was built up years ago on the Munros. I like honey and sunlight now. That's my addiction." I recited my and this blogs mission statement....
" Stay away from grim conditions if possible. Find sun and shelter on trips outdoors instead of murk and rain. Try to climb exciting jaggy hills instead of boring featureless lumps just because they are on a list somewhere. Have fun, Keep Warm. Always attempt to turn winter into summer where possible. "
" It's a shame you cant enjoy this". Alex implored. " It's not as bad as it looks. It might clear."
"I,ll meet you back at the car in six hours. I,m going to explore the glen later after an extended lunch."
And then there was one. I happily watched them speed march along the bleak shoreline into the grey distance. It seemed a long way.