It was another great forecast and I managed to get out again on the hills.I had a lousy nights sleep and was awake for part of the night after a two-hour epic at the dentist. I was glad it was planned to be a short day on the Corbett Beinn Liath Mhor a’Ghiubhais it is the only Corbett in the Fannich Group it is an outlier on the Fannich group of Munros. It stands between it and Loch Glascarnoch just passed the Aultguish Inn ( is it ever open) the road to Ullapool and the huge Wind Farm that rises above the Dirrie More road and now sadly part of the scenery of this wild area. One of the guide descriptions is for our planned hill”An undistinguished hill in form, it is a good viewpoint.” I had climbed this hill in 2002 in a wild January day, no views but a constant battering by wind and snow. I remember it being a short pathless but wild walk in boggy wet snow. No day on the hill is ever the same and after my operations I was looking forward to getting out again. During the week I had met an old friend who had not been out on the hills for a few years due to injuries and we had met me limping about but full of the joys of a day on Ben MacDui earlier in the week. I realised how lucky I am to still be enjoying the hills despite the body falling apart and hopefully rekindled her enthusiasm for the mountains and their medicine? Come on Gail lets get out again.
I picked my mate Bernie up it was an easy start at 073o and the roads were frosty and we drove to Contin where we were to meet Mark and Anne for breakfast at their lovely house at Contin. It is for sale and is ideally suited for any lovers of the mountains and with easy access to Inverness and Dingwall is a great place to be.
Well presented spacious bungalow in charming woodland setting just outside Contin. Finished to high standard. Lounge, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, utility room, toilet, porch, bathroom, study/bedroom, 5 further bedrooms (3 en-suite), dressing room. Double garage. Garden.
Larchfield, Craigdarroch Drive, Contin IV14 9EL hspc.co.uk reference 49401
We started the day with Bacon rolls and tea and the other friends John and Mary arrived and we had a social hour and then set off on the 20 minute drive to our chosen hill.
I love an easy start and we arrived at the small car park leaving the mist of Inverness behind with great views of Ben Wyvis and the Fannichs. The problem of this chilled start is that no one really looks at where we are going and we set off merrily on the wrong side of the river. I had gone a different way before further down the road when I did this hill in 2002. My memory (excuse) was vague and even though I had downloaded the new map and route was in another world. In addition I was so interested in the ice formations in the river and the views. It was all my fault as we crossed the river another story and then the new plantations not shown on Mary and John’s map and with the huge deer fences it was hard graft for a supposed easy hill!
The rough ground was hard work after my operations, with the open hillside, deep heather and huge peat hags taking a toll on my body. It was great at last to be on the open hillside, we saw an Eagle and the views all day a panorama of Munros from the Fannich’s An Teallach, The Deargs and its lochs looking incredible. All nearly snow less in late November but icy in places where the sun never reaches and the light was wonderful at this time of year and took most of the pain away.
We had several breaks and the hill was covered in reindeer moss and club moss with the odd bit of scree. The Fannichs with the cliffs of An Coileachan and then Loch Fannich hit by a sunbeam of light, it was wonderful and we all stopped and enjoyed it. It was very chilly and I kept on going, up on to the final ridge and John stopped and was doing some navigation practice with Mark.The views of my old favourite mountain An Teallach were getting better with the height with its jagged ridge dominating the view.
We were soon on the summit lunch with my hot bovril with extra pepper a wonderful tonic to a sore body. Ben Wyvis was now visible and the 360 degrees panorama made up for the walk in! I was looking at these great hills and I have been writing about my North – South Walk in 1976 when all these hills were a daily event and the memories came flooding back. I was asked could I do it again ? It was soon time to go off the hill and a fairly easy descent by the way up I went in 2002 a bit wet later on and a another fence and then the a short road walk to the car. An Teallach was looking even better as I reached the car but a walk at the weekend on it may be too much for a recovering body it was decided.
I had wandered off a bit ahead to get to the car and pretty sore to sort out my body in private! I was a bit grumpy sorry Mary but the pain was hitting me, no excuses.
Lots of lessons learned : 1. Get an updated map of the area. 2. read the guide/walk description again before going on the hill. 3. The memory is falling at times. 4. Hills done 20 years ago take longer! 5. Do not be grumpy! 7. Time for winter boots and more kit in bag.
I still enjoyed the day and the drive back was great but the drive though Inverness to Forres seemed to take ages. I did enjoy my bath and first cup of tea another great day in the end.
It was all worth it the mountain medicine!