I had initially planned on heading North for a wee ‘bike n hike’ to tackle one or two of the many Cairngorms summits I still have outstanding but by Tuesday the MWIS forecast was suggesting that the whole country was likely to be bathed under blue skies. Fantastic. However, with the whole playground being open, I inadvertently found myself with the quandary of choosing where to go. As is often the case, I had to rein in my ambitions somewhat, mindful of the fact I would have to be back for the wee man getting out of school. Due to the distances and travel times involved in getting to a ‘new’ hill it was apparent that wherever I would end up heading would require another ‘stupid o clock’ start. I really fancied heading back to the Mamores but most of the Walkhighlands route options were 7-9 hour estimates, coupled with a 5 hour round trip of a drive, probably pushing things even if 99% of the time I do manage round at the lower estimate or quicker. In the end I plumped for the much closer Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraig, from Dalrigh, despite the dreaded and much despised bog at the start of the walk.
Ironically, it was ‘the bog’ that ultimately saw me have another change of heart (I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure !), and indeed saw me heading West to the Mamores after all. Turns out although I’m 43 I actually have the bladder of a 83 year old, and even the mere suggestion of caffeine after about dinner time will undoubtedly result in having to get up in the middle of the night for a pee. I headed off to bed on Tuesday night having loaded up the rucksack all ready for a quick getaway in the morning. The alarm was set for 05:30hrs but that coffee the wife ‘grudgingly’ made for me as we caught up with Sunday’s episode of ‘Baptiste’, caught up with me at 03:15 in the bloody morning !! ‘With adversity comes opportunity’…according to some fortune cookie I discovered down the back of the sofa many moons ago, and whilst in…ehh…mid-flow, I considered that I was effectively ‘up’ and could use these additional hours to get to and from Kinlochleven and still be home in time to avoid the ‘son abandoned at school gates by selfish father’ berating !
It may have been a ridiculous hour to be on the roads but the one massive plus point was I essentially had them all to myself. The only vehicles I encountered between Perth and Kinlochleven were two delivery lorries who both graciously let me pass them in true 'Smokey and the Bandit' style without so much as me having to change gear. The result was I found myself in the car park adjacent to St Paul's Church after only 1hr 45 mins.
Tearing myself away from the view I carried on up the grassy slopes to the minor summit of Sgurr Eilde Beag and its cairn marking a spot height of 956m. From here the route was clearly laid out before me. It was simply a matter of following the broad North West ridge until I reached another large cairn this time at a mighty 1062m, still no Munro bagged yet ! Not far to go though.