Having been disappointed to have had such dreich weather on my previous round and having seen what a good circuit it made, I wanted to repeat the experience in better conditions and hopefully in a time much closer to 24 hours. So just over a month later, I set off from Loch a Bhraoin Bothy at the early hour of 4:30 am. with the promise of fine weather and being suitably psyched for the adventure.
|Loch a Bhraoin - start and end point|
Video 2 days later
By Cona Mheall the rain had really set in and on Beinn Dearg the wind rose to about 40mph making me cold, wet and a bit miserable. The prospect of a night in this was not appealing. However, food and a change of clothing awaited at Loch Droma, which I anticipated would take me through the night. By now I'd be on the go for over 18 and a half hours, but I reckoned I was on target for a 26-27 hour completion.
Unfortunately things didn't work out that way despite a good start up Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich. I soon entered the mist and dark and could see very little. the rocks were hideously slippy, I was having to watch the compass all the time and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. The previous night I had slept very little in the bothy and it was finally catching up with me. With no support, there's little you can do. I tried everything - soldiering on, stopping for a quick nap, eating, drinking, slapping my face - nothing seemed to work. All I wanted to do was to lie down and go to sleep. So in the wind, rain and dark I did just that. I slumped to the cold ground, made a cocoon and for a precious time allowed myslef to enter the land of nod. I must have been tired as I actually fell asleep three times on that windy, damp plateau, buffeted by the wind. In between I was reduced to a slow walk over the glassy rocks, peering into the gloom.Zombie-like I plodded on, seeing nothing, just feeling the wind and dampness.
The dawn brought no real relief. I was still exhausted and could only plod slowly on in my little dream-world. The peaks seemed to take an age, the slopes got longer and longer. Nothing was short. Nothing was easy. But eventually the tops were bagged and the day brightened. By A Chailleach the sun had come out and it was a nice day. The irony was not lost on me, as I dozed on the summit. And then it was over. Not the trip I had really wanted, but I am in no doubt that this is a classic round, worthy of a third visit? I think that the route could be improved and probably shortened a little. Let's see.
Photos (from the following few days)