With the crap weather we had been having in the new year, getting out on the hill was doubtful and to say the least low down on the agenda od things to do !
On the last day of the holidays there was a window not to be missed so alarms were set and plans for an early start made !
Alarms did not go off and early starts drifted off like spindrift in a gale !
With time constraints in mind we stopped off at the Ice Factor for a coffee and to consider options.
Plans made we tried to claw back time by driving the single track road up to the Mamore Lodge.
It was all going great till a steep section and some ice stopped us and the only option was to retreat backwards down the road to a suitable turning or parking spot.
As breaks were applied gravity and friction (or lack off) took over and the only option for traction was the grass verge.
This was short-lived as the verge grew into a ditch, the car decided it did not want to roll along the nice top off the ridge and opted for the deep groove to the side, this reduced the clearance between verge and car to about 1cm !
After a bit of thought and hacking with the ice axe we had clearance and after carefull placements of boulders to raise the car we were out and finally parked in a safe place, PTC’s relief was evident !
Striding up the hill we had just spent the last 45 minutes reversing down we soon broke through the tree line and onto the hill-side.
A thick blanket of powder snow covered everything making the going interesting, even on the track.
In the corrie some of it had slipped leaving very evident avalanche tracks.
With the sun shining it felt really mild as we followed the track further up the hill, I was suffering already feeling the effects of 3 weeks of non activity.
We cut off the path heading further up the hill, the sun was already getting low in the sky, the snow carpeting across the heather made the going tough and picking a route was not easy.
We finally stopped just off the ridge to have a cuppa and some food, the wind had picked up so we ducked behind a large drift of snow for some shelter.
Lots of layers were thrown on and we had a brew as the temp and the sun dropped rapidly.
We moved off again for the last wee bit of the ridge, it would be a shame to come this far and not have a look into the next corrie.
The slope was steep, the air cold and the drifts deep !
By the time the two of us reached the ridge we were breathing hard like we had just negotiated the last step on Everest without oxygen, it’s not supposed to be this hard !
Cutting our losses and both agreeing that where we were standing would be a great spot for pitching tents we started off back down the hill.
It feels so long ago that I camped on a high top !
I guess a lot of people have an issue with being on the hills after the sunset, I think sunrise and sunset can the best times to be on the mountains.
My headtorch is great for descending in the dark so whats the rush ?
Back on the track we plodded on, looking down onto Kinlochleven like it was some alpine village in Norway.
No tops, no big distances just a good time in the hills !
The A82 was a mixture of black ice and drifts of snow as we carefully made our way around crashes and other speedy drivers driving at a crazy pace for the conditions.