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Day 14-17

The Editor - Following feedback on the erratic posting of these blogs and their appearance in “dollops”,readers should be aware that they can only be posted when there is broadband available. The commander has been equally frustrated that he has been unable to keep up to date with world affairs including the latest football results. Readers may wish to canvass the relevant authorities to provide better coverage in rural Scotland.

April 16 2023 – Day 14

Cr282 spent the night beneath the dominant black presence of the dam at Loch Lyon, Lubreoch Dam to give its official name. It was not a surprise that there were no others at this remote spot although a few others were camped in tents and campers scattered along the beautiful Glen Lyon of more later. It was just coincidence that the next start point which Euan cycled to was also close to another dam and power station at Loch an Daimh. This loch lay between the 2 Munros of the day. The commander thought the towering presence of the dam was a bit overbearing but supported the natural energy it produced.

Meall Buidhe – Yellow Hill

Stuchd an Lochain – Peak of the Little Loch

With Cr282 very much at base camp, Euan was able to travel light and fast up the first one in 1hr 40mins – a pleasant change from previous hills. A student from Newcastle, Scott who was attending Glasgow University made contact with the commander and then with Euan later. He asked the coffee sipping commander, with some incredulity in his voice, “Was he (Euan) the guy in blue running down the hill?”. The commander agreed as he showed Scott what Euan had done and was planning to do. A donation to the Justgiving page followed – a generous gesture from someone on a likely limited budget. This meeting was not an unusual occurrence on hills, at camps or pickup points.

Euan had a brief drink and snack and then took the bike the relatively short distance up on an uphill track to the base of the Stuchd an Lochain where he left it. The commander was able to walk and retrieve the cycle and freewheel back to Cr282. “It’s a tough life but someone has to do it”, he thought.

Cr282 met up with Euan at the other side of this hill just 2hrs later. A campsite visit was now required since the van was out of water – a curious event since it had been parked close to millions of gallons of the stuff. Aberfeldy was the choice and both showers and laundry were accomplished before a rewarding visit to Aberfeldy town centre. There was a brief toast to the 34 Munros completed.

The commander had a vivid dream during the night (Is this for publication or can it be deleted now to avoid later embarrassment – The Editor). The water themed dream seemed to be based on the children’s fable of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in a flood defence dike for a whole night to save the local town from being flooded with gushing water. The little boy was hailed a hero….At this point, the commander woke up and even though it was the middle of the night had to visit the campsite toilet block which bizarrely played piped music even at 3.00am. To add a smidgin of relevance and general knowledge to this diverting account, it was discovered during research that dams are wrongly named – a dam has water on both sides whereas a dike has water on one side and land on the other. (Finished? – The Editor)

April 17 2023 – Day 15

Cr282 took full advantage of the campsite facilities at Aberfeldy with 2 showers each in less than 12hrs. Cr282’s water tank was full to overflowing and according to Euan the interior was like a “Chinese laundry” with a big wash hanging from every hook and handle. Leading a sheltered life, the commander had no experience of such exotic places. Restocking took place in the large Coop where armed with a newly found Coop card, the commander no longer required a guide or assistance to locate items.

Getting back to the previous day’s end point involved a return journey through Glen Lyon which must rival Glen Etive as one of Britain’s finest valleys. Euan has spoken of reconnecting with Scotland during the challenge. Glen Lyon with its river, trees and mountains certainly made a strong pitch for remaining in Euan’s memory.

The remainder of the day still allowed a solitary outlier of a Munro to be tackled.

Meall Ghaordaidh – possibly Hill of the Shoulder.

COHN -Committee on Hill Names – (pronounced “con”) seems unsure of the meaning but settled on “upper arm” after other odd animal, colour or usual plain bizarre ones lost out. Besides a couple of ptarmigan and a patch of campion – thank you, blog reader for identification – this mountain was seen off quickly. 5.75k covered in 1hr 45 min with 2467ft of ascent. Munro count 35. Euan subsequently pointed out that he spent a whole 8 minutes at the summit conversing with family via satellite but who’s counting!

Instead of an exact return to the gloomy but quiet spot sheltered beneath the dam at Loch Lyon, Cr282 negotiated its way to a higher point above it. It proved to be a perfect viewpoint in the improving weather. Euan immediately started preparing for a big day ahead. This included adjusting a new pair of gaiters which were bought in Aberfeldy. Who doesn’t like new gear? He also had time to show the commander how to change gear on his hitech bike. The commander watched the run through carefully but wondered what lay ahead the next day which required such detail about gears. Pedals and brakes had been all that was required on a previous outing. A curry and some light refreshment was partaken before an early night.

April 18 2023 – Day 16

Given the exposed nature of today’s Munros, it’s not surprising that their names reflect any sheltering feature which they might offer.

Beinn Heasgarnich – Sheltering Hill

Creag Mhor - Big Rock

Meall Glas – Greenish / Grey Hill

Sgiath Chuil – Back Wing or Sheltering Spot

Ben Challum – Calum’s Hill

Leaving at 6.58am, clad in his new gaiters and dry boots, Euan cycled the first 4k along a rough “landrover” track. He left his bike semi hidden at an agreed spot and made his way up the first Munro. The commander then walked and retrieved the bike at the agreed spot – Euan helpfully left a large boulder in the middle of the track in case the commander misread the map. Pedals, brakes and gears were all used this time as well as the crossing of a ford with dry boots. Neither Euan or the map showed this raging torrent of a stream swollen by snow melt. (By all means make it interesting but keep it honest - The Editor)

Euan met several walkers on these hills but no one was intending to hike all 5 in 1 day. He also noted the gradually disappearing snow in the higher temperatures but there was a chill wind in case anyone was thinking with images of blue skies that Spring had fully come. The temperature and other stats are at the bottom of the ZeroSixZero site.

It is both informative – the writer hopes – and helpful to understand what “gizmos” Euan had. Some have obviously features but a belt and braces approach is a wise one. More importantly, he had an expertise in using them to his advantage in this challenge. Followers also get the opportunity to see and sometimes hear the sights on the way. Thorough planning was also key before any day was started.

Map and compass and the skill to micro navigate using them. No battery or signal needed for these staples of mountain walking.

Satellite tracker which generates your exact position and can be used as an emergency SOS.

Digital mapping and GPS on his phone. Back up GPS in van.

Watch which tracks location, measures distance, steps and a host of other stats.

Cr282 had 2 sets of OS maps and the odd reference book to check what lay ahead.

At the end of this mammoth day, Euan completed 5 Munros, Total now 40, in 8hrs 54mins, covering 34k, 9921ft of ascent, 10583 in descent. These stats are from the gizmos above but let’s not forget the human being who generated them with considerable physical and mental effort.

Cr282 met Euan east of Crianlarich and after demolishing a waiting cup of coffee and his choice of snack, it was off on his bike to Dalrigh near Tyndrum where the van was to be parked for the night. Actually it moved temporarily to the RFC at Tyndrum – Real Food Café where Euan refuelled with excellent food. Not that Euan didn’t cook up some pretty good “nosh” in the van most nights!

Despite Brexit, our European friends remain supportive as was seen when 2 Dutchmen came over and separately donated to Ch282 after hearing about the challenge. An earlier Dutch encounter occurred in the hills of Glencoe when Euan saw a Dutch hillwalker pitch his tent in a wet and windy location when other better sites were nearby. The commander rather uncharitably commented on the lack of hills in the Netherlands which the camper might have practiced on. (Not a very supportive comment, especially given his countrymen’s support and donations – The Editor)

April 19 2023 – Day 17

After a restful night at Dalrigh, the inhabitants of Cr282 quickly slipped out of their sleeping bags – Euan affectionately refers to his one as “The Maggot”, a term which the commander has adopted for no known reason as well. The previous days 5 Munros was nearly matched with todays 4. These hills and streams are the site of both commercial and individual gold mining / panning.

Beinn Dubhchraig – Hill of the Black Rock

Ben Oss – Hill of the Loch Outlet or the Elk Hill

Ben Lui – Calf Hill or some think it refers to ancient lead mine nearby

Beinn a Chleibh – Hill of the Creel or Chest

Euan especially enjoyed the first part of the day’s route through a scattered forest. There were lots of opportunities to pick his Tree of the Day – check out his gallery of tree images when he has often chosen solitary ones struggling to exist on an inhospitable hillside. Euan met a few others on these popular hills and criss-crossed his route with a couple of Falkirk lads who were just beginning their Munro careers. They were very positive individuals who will surely continue to tick these hills off.

Although a bit windy on the tops, Euan said that he enjoyed these hills – a feeling that he didn’t always have. The day’s stats were – 20k travelled in 5hrs 49mins, 5291ft of ascent and 5826 descent, 4 Munros total 44.

Cr282 met Euan at a Forestry Commission parking site which since April 2023 charges for parking - £1 for I hr, £3 for the day and no overnight parking. This wholly commercial organisation did not receive any payment from Cr282 but the community owned and run sites at Dalrigh and Kinlochleven each received the suggested £5 for an overnight, willingly given. Minor rant over..

Cr282 parked up for the night at a free site with 2 portaloos at Kilchurn Castle. Although free, Euan and the writer were a bit dismayed by the number of negative separate notices on the route to and surrounding the castle – no dogs, no litter, no camping, no fires and no drones! This did not spoil our enjoyment of this beautiful location. Honking geese (their call not the smell – The Editor) could be heard as night fell and the sun rose. Traffic and an early morning train – 6.00am -were the only other disturbances.

The train caused the ever so slight vibration even in our respective “Maggots”. This reminded the commander of an early TV series (nostalgia insert about to begin – The Editor). The series, Hancock’s Half Hour starred the lugubrious Tony Hancock who regularly ranted when a nearby train rattled his bed sit in East Cheam and occasionally filled the single room with steam. Cr282 at Kilchurn suffered no such melodrama.


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1 Comment

Apr 24, 2023

Nine Munro mountains in two days, great grit, resilience and determination. I see you are nearly at an end in the south and head northwards. Look forward to next blog shortly. Bydand

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