Leaving Perth at 06:30 we arrived at the small 'layby' on the verge of the A82 between Tyndrum & Bridge of Orchy at 07:50 (the parking spot is just before the signed turn off for the Auch Estate and holiday cottages), and were suited, booted, partially waterproofed and on our way for 08:00.
We started off down the private road on the 5 mile hike up the Auch glen just to get to the bottom of today's target hill. With hindsight a bike would've be a great idea.....oh, and a pair of wellies, but it is a lovely walk on an excellent track, even if it does have a tendency to disappear under a body of water every so often. The weather to the West was not at all encouraging. Low, black, foreboding clouds, shrouding the top of half of Beinn Dorain immediately to our left. However, over to the East things were much more positive, with the low, early morning sun trying hard to break through the clouds. Continuing on down the track we soon reached the crossroads where the route cuts across the much more trodden path which forms part of the West Highland Way.
To be fair the first of the day was only a few inches deep and ran over a section of concrete 'sleepers' which alleviated the added complication of any rock hopping. I was feeling confident I could negotiate the stream coming down from Glen Coralan without too much risk to life or limb. That was of course until Wullie's dog Indie, waded nonchalantly into the water. She, like me, must have underestimated the strength of the flow and was immediately flipped 'arse over tit', and washed over the small fall. I didn't laugh. Not because it wasn't funny, but for fear of inducing some form of malevolent karma which would seem me drown further up the glen !
"Bastardineous Waterum Leviosa". Nothing.
"Riverum leveleous Descendo" Diddly squat.
Water spirits "Getyerseltofuckius Showerum o Bampoterosas". Boom. The heavens opened, oops !!
The next crossing was slightly more problematic, more so because of the width rather than the depth of the water. There were just enough submerged boulders that meant you could pick a route across with the tops of your boots just about staying above the water. Again, I managed to manoeuver my way across successfully, albeit with the speed and dexterity of a sloth playing hopscotch !!
Rather unexpectedly we managed to complete the rest of the crossings without any major dramas befalling us...or the dog. Happy days.
What followed was a relentless slog up the calf-high grassy and featureless slope. The ground under foot was better than expected but the soaking wet grass was bloody slippy. The rain, driven on by a fierce squall was equally unrelenting, which resulted in the ascent being about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist.
We stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat by the bridge at the foot of the hill. I had barely managed to get the top back on the flask when the heavens opened again. In the end I had to accept that in these conditions I wasn't going to be able to finish my cuppa.....not because I'm some kind of 'sugar lump', it was just that the rain was filling the cup faster than I could drink the bloody contents !
A very damp number 97 was in the bag and thoughts were now turning to hitting the big 100, would I manage it on the next outing ?