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Day 26 - 27

April 28 2023 – Day 26

Cr282 spent a comfortable night at Killin campsite with good facilities except for a faulty wifi. Only the heavy drops of water from overhanging trees on the metal roof of the van disturbed the peaceful setting. Overhanging trees on a wet night had been something the novice campervanner – the commander - had warned himself about after an earlier experience of just such a thing. He must remember about where to park the van next time. (Clearly an age thing – The Editor.) While he washed the few breakfast dishes at the campsite block, he also thought the water was so hot that minor surgery could be carried out with the washed cutlery given the sterilising temperature of the hot water. On this occasion, the obligatory yellow “Caution Hot Water” above the sink should have been heeded. The campsite will certainly feature in Cr282’s top ten of campsites as will Killin the town.

This was the first “big” site which Cr282 had visited for a week or two and the normally reserved commander (In early morning, he could be seen by some as unsociable – The Editor) was still taken aback by the repeated cheerfulness of fellow campers in the heavy rain and low mist. Nevertheless, he politely returned their greetings while still mystified at such good humour in the circumstances.

The starting point for what potentially could be a big haul of 5 Munros was a return to the Ben Lawers car park where heavy cloud shrouded all the slopes around. The forecast was getting better but at 8.30am, Euan set off with wet weather gear on. He was wearing a set of gloves acquired the previous day at Killin Outdoor Centre. A hefty chunk of admin time that day was spent at this treasure trove of all things the walker, climber, kayaker or biker might need or merely lust after. The only others at the car park were the “smoky” dormobile of the previous day and a National Trust car with a warden/ranger inside. “They wouldn’t check for our non-existent parking ticket, would they?” thought the commander.

Ben Lawers Range

Beinn Ghlas – Greenish/Grey Hill

Ben Lawers – Hill of the Loud Stream

An Stuc – The Peak

Meall Garbh – Rough Hill

Meall Greigh – Hill of Horse Studs

After some research, the name Meall – pronounced “myowl” – seems, according to one expert, as having a bad press. He describes some sources as defining meall as lumps, knobs, heaps, hills, eminences, mounds, swellings or even buttocks. So, the next time you see Meall ?????, spare a thought for the mixed personality which is meall.

Euan made a traverse of the Ben Lawers range and descended to Glen Lyon at Inverar, a small collection of houses and an estate lodge. 5 Munros bagged, total 68, 19k covered, time 5hrs 30mins, 4957ft of ascent,5770 descent. He reported it was a straightforward walk with no “fairlies” – not Euan’s words but it means in north east parlance – an oddity, a wonder or a curiosity. Just a good word, nevertheless, so expect it to be used again and you, the reader, will need to understand its meaning without the writer reminding you of its meaning. Euan almost immediately moved into the next 2 days planning and how best the next Munros could be tackled – something over the weeks the commander had become used to and he kept a notebook and pen at hand on these occasions.

On arrival at Inverar, Cr282 found it impossible to park without infringing the one of many parking restrictions. This location on a single-track road was 6 miles from any sizeable village and had an enforced no parking on the verge policy. The small carpark was closed due to the danger of falling limbs from diseased ash trees – how long this had been the situation is unknown but no other parking was provided by presumably the local estate. Given this is the start/end point for many walkers, the indifference shown by the estate is lamentable. Inconsiderate parking will doubtlessly have occurred but surely a resolution could be found. After this mild rant – you don’t want to read a full-blown rant- my faith in estate attitudes was partially restored when the owner of a neighbouring estate stopped at Cr282 and advised the commander not to park on the verge because a fine will be levied. This was delivered in a friendly tone and he was interested in the challenge and had seen Euan on the hills from afar. He went away with a flyer tucked into his tweed jacket. Perhaps the restrictive parking regime prompted a local car owner to adopt a bizarre addition to his Austin 10 vintage car. This very small black car was being driven along the road by a fierce looking older man with a long white beard and with a gaily dressed passenger. Not worthy of comment, you might think but he had mounted a large set of antlers at the top of the front windscreen! The commander reflected on how one day the owner of this car must have thought – “I know what my little vintage car needs – a set of antlers.” Even the commander failed to speculate how else this man could top this eccentricity.

Our parking spot for the night was at a site in Drummond Hill Wood above Kenmore. It turned out to be a delight – good view, flat pitch, quiet and the occasional sighting of a tree creeper and a gold crest. Euan knows his birds. A nearby signboard informed visitors that this area was first planted in 1583 by the wonderfully named – Sir Duncan Campbell – Black Duncan of Cowl. Anyone caught damaging the laird’s precious trees would be fined £20, a fortune at the time. One wonders what he would have made of today’s large parking area created by the Forestry Commission which charges £3 for the privilege. Cr282 risked the wrath of the ghost of Black Duncan and for that matter the Forestry Commission. The night was whiled away by listening to the latest “the Rest is Politics” as the remnants of the Speyside malt was finished. Its time it was replenished back in Edinburgh. To be continued.

April 29 2023 – Day 27

Euan woke early as usual to load up with usual porridge, banana, blue berries and honey. He had prepacked his rucksack so Cr282 made speedy progress to the no parking zone that is Inverar. He set off at 7.30am in damp and misty conditions while the van moved down Glen Lyon for an available parking space and a smidgin of a signal.

4 Munros were planned for the day after which Euan planned to cycle to the base of Schiehallion in readiness for a clean start to the next day. This is very much the pattern, climb and then make start on the next stage He would not skimp, however, on the first task of Munro bagging on a distinctly cold damp day.

Carn gorm – Blue Hill

Meall Garbh – Rough Hill

Carn Mairg – Hill of Rust – colour of Autumn slopes

Meall nan Aighean – Hill of the Heifers or Hinds

The writer hopes the readers remembers what the various meanings of “meal” are because Euan thought these mealls were big, cold l…. h……. or even b……. You may fill in the blanks by guesswork or from your newly acquired knowledge. His wet gear had ice forming on it. Even the commander heard Cr282’s sensor ping as the temperature went below 4c on the road far below. Euan met 3 others following the same route as he overtook them. One walker was dismayed as he asked Euan, “It will improve, won’t it?” Euan was diplomatic but equally honest to the guy’s disappointment. As he descended his final Munro of the day, He met another couple who gulped when they saw the ice on his jacket as they still had to go high. They then must have realised what faced them later in the day. The stats - 19.9k covered in 3hrs 59mins, 4612ft of ascent, 4721ft descent at an average of 3mph and a heart rate of 178bpm. Total Munros -72 – now over ¼ of the overall total.

The commander had a coffee and bike ready in that order for the next stage. This cycle run would be cold and flattish as the route descended Glen Lyon for the final time in this challenge. It passed through Fortingall, a historic village if ever there was one with several thatched houses, restored ancient homes and all beautifully kept. Euan didn’t dawdle when Cr282 stopped there to check on progress and offer any food, clothes etc. He then had a long ride up hill to a packed car park which even has an overspill one given the popularity of Schiehallion. The cycle stage was 23k long in 1hr 7mins, 1128ft of ascent, 675 descent and a heart rate of 152 bpm.

There was an urgency to dismantle the bike to store it in the boot of Cr282 since the next parking spot was an overnight outside a house in lowland Edinburgh. Warm full size beds beckoned after showers, fresh clothes and lots of homemade food. This stop over allowed the van to be restocked with water, fuel, some new gear, food and some specially requested home bakes from Euan’s home. The latter had been brought by Eric, the relief driver/depute commander for the next few days. More details to follow.

As creatures of habit, bedtime came not long after 9.30pm.


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2 comentarios

03 may 2023

Enjoy ur R&R in Edinburgh ready to return fully recharged, revitalised and simulated.

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02 may 2023

Well deserved stopover.

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