How wet a start in the Cairngorms?
I had a slow start in the Cairngorms yesterday and it was pouring as I left and all the way to Glenmore Lodge where I caught up with some old friends. I was not meeting John and Pete until 1100 ( late start) at the Squirrel Cafe at Glenmore. I arrived a bit early and it was still raining and the midgies were in force. Glenmore Lodge is looking incredible and well worth a look round with some great displays of the old and bold in the renovated foyer. I had a look at the weather forecast and it was not great with rain most of the day and wind. I managed a tea and bacon roll in the cafe before my mates arrived and had the cafe to myself, no one was about it was so wet. The red squirrels were out at the cafe and enjoying the free food outside on the bird tables and the birds giving a great display just for me? I just wanted my grand kids with me to see this free show ( one day). It is well worth a visit to the cafe just for these displays.
They were Changing the tow wire in the Cairngorms Ski Lifts and a chat with the Cairngorm Ranger.
John and Pete arrived on time and we had another coffee (I paid again) Both had been in the RAF Mountain Rescue Team with me in my very early days 1972. Pete is 6 foot 4 and they both looked after me in my early days a big kind fellow and John has always been a great mate. I used to shelter behind Pete’s huge frame when I was a bairn in the team in wild weather on call – outs Pete has still 40 Munros left and wants to finish them so it get fit and out there again on the hills.
One for the ladies.
At 8 Stone in these days I was pretty fragile in the big winds or wild weather.Nowadays our combined age is 200 years and much time has passed. It was really wet and misty when we left the shelter of the Cafe and headed up into the mist and rain of the car park at Cairngorm. After discussing all our ailments we put on the” full metal gortex” and eventually headed into the mist and rain. It was a planned walk into the corries or maybe up on to Lochan depending on the weather. We only walked about 2 minutes when we had a 5 minute break as the tow wire was being changed (Health & Safety) in the Ski lifts and the local Ranger had a chat while we waited. He told us of a wet summer and some amount of midgies about, that should have been our point to go back to the cafe but despite the weather we wandered on.
It was decided to head to the West Ridge Of Lochan and maybe onto the main ridge, the rain hammered down and we discussed the usual things on the way. There was few view just the odd Ptarmigan fluttering in the rain, the path is great now and easy walking. Poor Pete’s waterproof trousers were falling down every so often and we had some laughs. My glasses were steamed up but we knew the way and were soon on the ridge the wind was a lot easier than forecast and we met 2 walkers soaked descending at about 1000 metres. After about 2 hours we had enough and turned round into the wind and no views at all. It was a lot wetter and colder into the wind, winter is not that far away and we managed to find a bit of shelter and have some lunch. Pete wandered on after not enjoying John’s butty and we were soon down at the car park meeting Glenmore Lodge just off the hill after a MLC assessment day ( poor souls). It was a quiet car park today and the rain was still very heavy.
Lunch !!! Honest I am enjoying myself Heavy !!!
The boys wanted a coffee but I was wet and miserable and needed to get home so it was a quick change everything was soaked and get home. I felt okay but a bit uncomfortable with my wee medical problem and 4 hours was enough in the rain. It was good to be out even though we saw little but to get the wind and the rain on your face the mountains and the wild places are still magic, especially after a long lay off. I enjoyed the chat the politics ( without venom) plans for the future hills and adventures,plans for losing weight and getting fit. It was also a quick reminder that winter is not to far away and maybe get the hill bag and gear sorted out. The hat and gloves were essential as was the warm gear and trying to keep my gear dry in my bag is never easy. I had a hot flask with me and it was magic a hot drink of tea in the rain great. On the way home it still rained most of the way but it was a fun day in the mountains. I sorted out the wet gear and was soon soaking in a warm bath, just what I needed.
Lucky white heather on the hill!
All the wet gear is on the pulley, dripping over the carpet! even the rucksack was soaked and the bag will be winterised again. I had my big boots on yesterday and will add bigger and spare gloves, buff, balaclava and a few others like check the torch, spare batteries etc. It is always worth getting everything after a day on the hill and checking and drying your gear.
Coping with Glasses on the mountains / See tomorrows blog!