Last weekend I had an unexpected invite from John, who I've known since the 1980s, to go on a trip to Staoineag Bothy, which lies in a remote area between the Great Moor of Rannoch, "one of Europe's last true wilderness areas" and the cluster of 4000 foot peaks surrounding Ben Nevis- at 1345 metres, 4,413 feet, the highest peak in the UK. I jumped at the chance before even knowing what he wanted to do there but Alex hummed and hawed before deciding not to join us. "Too much snow up there, high winds, long walk, heavy rucksacks,"... blah blah blah....etc etc.
I've always been a 'seize the day, think about any difficulties later' type whereas Alex, who I've also known since the 1980s and various walking clubs thinks of these things beforehand and puts himself off. In this case it was justified for reasons I'll explain later.
Above is the Inversnaid Hotel which we passed on the way up. It lies on the less frequented side of Loch Lomond where only the long distance foot path- the week long West Highland Way running between Milngavie and Fort William troubles the woods and shoreline on this eastern, mainly traffic free, side of the famous loch.
"Where are you heading?" one asked.
" Stone egg Bothy." I deadpanned. " then the high peaks behind." I slapped my knee with gusto Dick Whittington style. " I fear it not boys! We're mountain men."
"Good luck." They offered. "Better you than me. Misery awaits. "
" Cheers guys."
And a golden oldie from the archives. Alex on a Glencoe rock climb in summer from yesteryear.
To be continued...