Despite having completing my Fisherfield round twice in 31 hours, I really wanted to complete this fine round in 24. I'd worked out that I was unlikely to complete the full 2011 round in 24 hours, and in any case, there was too many out-and-backs for my liking. After mulling the possibilities over for a while, I decided upon a logical line that omitted the long detour out to the eastern Fannaichs and also the rather pointless ascent of Meall a Chrasgaidh. In addition, I replaced the rather tedious valley section from Loch a Bhroin to Fisherfield with a continuation of the ridge line to Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. If there was time I could add in the splendid Corbetts of Beinn Dearg Mhor and Bheag.
|The cloud that hampered the night section (Photo - Ian Charters)|
|A fine day beckons over the Fannaichs (Photo - Ian Charters)|
|Approaching Shenavall (Photo - Ian Charters)|
It is a long way down from the next peak, Ruadh Stac Mor, but I was now becoming increasingly confident that I could make it within 24 hours and I pushed on as best I could in the strong Easterly breeze. The bog was as dry as I have known it at Larachantivore but its still a bit of a slog over the moor and a thrash across the rivers until you reach the haven of the bothy at Shenavall. By now, my feet were sore, my shoes were falling apart and my shoulders were aching from carrying a rucksack, but with just one major hill to climb, the end was in sight and after a feed and change of clothing I set off for the monumental climb directly up Sail Mor. For those not acquainted with this route, it rises 850m in just over a mile of pathless, heather strewn and bouldery mountain wall. The first time it is very intimidating, but having done it a few times, I knew what was in store and just set about pulling my aching limbs upward. Not that this makes it physically easier, but the mental battle has been won. 72 minutes later I lurched over the summit in a gale, and somewhat apprehensively skittered down the scree to the col where the wind was rushing up from the corrie wall, threatening to knock me off the mountain. The mist hung over the towers above rather ominously and my favourite mountain took on a rather more malevolent nature. I changed my mind more than once before going for the pinnacles and in the event, by timing my jumps between wind gusts and hanging on tightly, managed perfectly easily over the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles and the great leaning tower of Lord Berkeley's Seat. Today there was no view of the yawning chasm beneath and in any case, I didn't investigate too closely in the gale. After Sgurr Fiona I just wanted to get back. The dryness of the ground made for an easy trot down the Glas Alt Mor and with 10 minutes to spare I ran up the familiar red van in to which I was quickly hustled to escape the voracious appetites of the midges.
Ian and Pauline's Photos