Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Pushing the boat out or ...

... making the most of the daylight!

A week in Scotland in March to climb Corbetts. These are the Scottish hills between 2,500 and 2,999 feet. The idea was to see if my partially torn right tendon would stand up to the strain. I was constantly limping for the last four months of last year after using my zero carbon lawn mower. I got my foot at an awkward angle and loaded it too greatly when I pushed on the heavy machine up our steep front lawn.

The first week of a four and a half weeks holiday was a gradual toe-in in this great outdoor playground and wilderness. Well, that was the theory. After my first full day in Scotland taking in the little bump that overlooks the Kessock bridge, the second was going to be a slow ascent of my first Corbett of the year - 887m in Beinn Eighe NNR up the Mountain Trail. However, it went so well, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to do the next Corbett, that looked so near. Unfortunately, not bothering with any guide book or even properly studying the Landranger map, meant that I went quite the wrong way up a steep, scree slope. Eventually, I came round the high crags to the only gap through the encircling cliffs of Ruadh-stac Beag 896m. Quickly up through the narrow opening, over the summit plateau to the cairn and back down the only steep exit of loose rock. I then returned the correct and much pleasanter and safer ramp at the foot of the Corbett's near neighbour. This was an unusual geological feature I had never seen before. If I had studied the map more closely, I would have seen what a delight this route would have been for the ascent, too. When I reached the Mt Trail, I turned left. If I had bothered to look at the map, I would have seen the quicker way was right! I did that section the next evening in 3 hrs on my rest day. My first full day of gradual return to Corbett climbing, turned out to be one of 9.5 hrs and two big summits! No rain, cloud scraping the Munro summits and moderate wind and temperatures.