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Day 2 and beyond..

April 4 2023 - Day 2

A slightly later start today i.e. not the 5.00am of the previous day but Cr282 quickly returned to Tralee beach so that Euan could start day 2 from the day 1’s end point. Using his cycle again for 17 miles he made good time to the base of his next Munro - Ben Cruachan which would then lead to many more mountains of the required 3000+ feet. Some soup and bread before he carried out a meticulous repack of a larger rucksack for a long hike with overnight camps. His first overnight after completing the Munros of Ben Cruachan and Stob Diamh was on the slopes of Benin a’ Chochuill “feasting” on a diet of beef stroganoff followed by custard after a very wet and windy day. HQ commander wants the reader to know that in Cr282 at sea level his meal of lightly seasoned pasta with… (Enough - The Editor)

It may also be worth noting here how imaginative or otherwise, we Scots were when it came to naming our hills both large and small -

Ben More - obviously the Committee on Hill Names – COHN - (pronounced “con”) considered various distinctive name options but chose to go for the safe compromise after a tied vote - it means BIG MOUNTAIN

Ben Cruachan - CONICAL HILL - because it is….

Stob Diamh - another conical hill but here in the COHN, the animal lobby held sway - PEAK OF THE STAG

Beinn a’ Chocchuill - just as you were losing interest in this excerpt, at last a touch of possible French influence; some toponymists (look it up yourself) suggest - Cockold le Roi -the cock or top of the king as the origin of this mountain’s name but most other experts reverted to type and dismissed any Gallic influence (Reminder - no politics, blog policy - The Editor) hence HILL OF THE RED COWL.

Very wet and windy weather slowed Euan’s progress through this leg. Despite a very high level of fitness and often running or cycling to work prior to the challenge, there was in these early days no substitute for hill fitness. There was though the prospect of better weather as Easter approached.

April 5 2023 - Day 3

At noon, the resource wagon and Challenge HQ, Cr282 was again sitting and waiting for Euan to emerge from the mountains so that he could reset and refuel for more miles in the hills. Perched high in a narrow space on the Glen Etive road, Cr282 had a spectacular view up, down and along this most scenic of Scottish glens. The high, snow spattered mountains on either side of this single track road attracts many tourists forcing Cr282 into frequent stops in passing places. This is the road of James Bond fame and many Daniel Craig poses astride a Glen Etive backdrop were seen. HQ commander was heard to mutter “…..” (Entry deleted - the Editor)

Euan emerged in the afternoon with a grand total of 9 Munro’s completed with Meall nan Eun the last one in this leg. Many deer were seen and a single ptarmigan with some white speckles left from its winter coat. Euan recounted how he had to dry out socks during this trek using the “warm body method”. While in your tent, wet socks are placed on the inner thighs or under the “oxters”. (Scottish for armpits - The Editor) - a very successful technique apparently leaving the hiker with dry feet for the next stage. Euan had dreamed of bacon and eggs on his last Munro and this wish was fulfilled once he had freshened himself up including his socks.

Cr282 parked up for the night at the top of Loch Etive and the end of the Etive road – an idyllic spot with grand views of Ben Cruachan and the sea beyond. Other visitors with vans and tents set up a couple of campfires as children and dogs ran around enjoying some small pockets of beach. We were not sure about one intrepid camper who had the enterprise or image of himself as frontiersman since he had brought a small chainsaw with him. We only hoped that he was cutting up some large pieces of driftwood from the loch and not the sparse living trees.

April 6 2023 – Day 4

There was ice on the outside AND the inside of the windscreen this morning but the strong sun soon allowed Cr282 to see clearly a return to the previous day’s end point. Ben Starav was the immediate target this morning and at 7.30am it looked particularly inviting in sun and clear blue sky. That said as we parked up, 2 huskies jumped out of a parked van. Did they know something which we didn’t know? No fear, the huskies were off duty and on a day out. Euan used his bike to cover the short distance to the base before scooting up to the summit with minimal gear on his back. He returned in just over 3 hours – that is quick. Even though, he looked enviously at several fell runners on the hill who carried even less gear as they seemed to glide along at an effortless pace. They weren’t doing all the Munros.

Ben Starav divided members of the COHN as some wanted the HILL of RUSTLING while others, like the writer, prefer the more fitting a WELL BUILT FELLOW.

While Euan was doing “something else” – cycling to the base of his next Munro – HQ Commander was completing what were called admin tasks. These time consuming and vital tasks could involve necessary communications, note taking or even washing dishes. With no signal for communicating on this occasion, it involved drying boots, gear etc. These items had to be watched closely and turned regularly from a seated position in the increasingly warm sun.

Buchaille Etive Mor which has the Munros of Stob na Broige and Stob Dearg – PEAK of the SHOE and RED PEAK respectively were in Euan’s sights next – a considerable ascent/descent in these early days. This massif attracts many especially as it is so dominant from the road through Glen Coe. Over this Easter weekend in strong sunshine, hikers of all sorts attempted to reach the top, some better prepared than others. Euan despaired when between the two tops, he was asked by a phone clutching tourist directions back to his car! He had no map or compass even if he had the skill to use them. He gave advice to him and his trainer wearing partner and bit his tongue. In the sunny weather, HQ Commander even left watching the drying gear to walk up Coire na Tuilach to accompany Euan back to Cr282.

7 April 2023 – Day 5

Cr282 rested overnight in Kinlochleven – a small community hit by the closure of the aluminium smelter in the past and the more recent closure of the popular ice factory with its ice climbing wall and various leisure facilities. Despite these setbacks a strong community spirit was apparent around the village. Cr282 benefitted from parking in the community run former ice factory car park with adjacent toilet block again run by the community. Euan and the commander enjoyed some spirit of a different nature on the previous evening in the appropriately named Highland Getaway Inn. Kinlochleven was busy as it is a frequent stopping point for walkers on the West Highland Way.

In deference to complaining knees, a shorter day was planned. Yesterday it was Buchaille Etive Mor – the BIG SHEPHERD, today Buchaille Etive Beag – the LITTLE SHEPHERD. There is 50m difference between big and little although Euan may not have thought so. Still he completed the 8.8k round in 2hours 25m. Cr282 then returned to a campsite near Loch Leven where bodies and clothes could be washed in copious hot water.


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1 Comment

Apr 12, 2023

Love all the translations. Stob na Broige - peak of the shoe. - a brogue?

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