It was pouring all night I was up at 0500 for the two and a half hour drive to Lochnagar I nearly had second thoughts about going as my cold is still with me. It was still heavy mist and even heavier rain as I drove over the Lecht in heavy mist no views at all just the wipers going. There were the odd Black grouse, hares and deer about as I wondered what am I doing here on a day like this! After 40 years plus on the hills I can pick my days now but Hazel Strachan was completing her 100 Munros in June for Scottish Mountain Rescue and I wanted to be there to meet her.
As I drove into Ballater it stopped raining but the cloud base was really low and it was then up the windy road to Loch Muick car park. Helen was leaving at 0930 and I am slow nowadays so wanted to get ahead and meet her on the summit. The car park was quiet just a group hoping to climb Lochnagar for the Cancer Charity “Clan “They had some young ones and I thought not a great day for an introduction to the hills, but good on them for coming out on such a day!
It cost £4 for the car park but I paid lucky I had coins in the car and was quickly off carrying a bit more gear than normal this is a strange June with so much rain and wind but thankfully no midges. I left on my own and met another
walker Derek and Hamish his black Labrador / Rottweiler Hamish. We stayed together all day and I was glad of the company he was from Peterhead and his accent was magic. There were few views just a heavy mist and dampness but it was good to be on the hill again and though feeling rough the dog Hamish was a real character! Derek can talk nearly as much as me but we kept going as we got higher it got wetter and the waterproof jacket came out and the gloves and hat. This is June but it was cold maybe it was just the cold I still have. There are some wet boulders/scree on the way up to the beleach and we took our time and were soon on the ridge! The mist was so heavy and with the rain no views at all! The wind was not as bad as forecast and we followed the path normally I follow the cliff edge but not today we were sheltered on the path and we just kept going. Visibility was poor we saw no one else it was ghostly quite and I had a few thoughts for Mark and Neil two great pals who fell her in The winter of 1995..
In the mist it was poignant but we were near the top and I wrote” well done Hazel “in the gravel with my ski pole in case we missed her. The rain had stopped and it looked like it would clear but it did not, no views today!
On the top we stopped got out of the wind and then after 15 minutes heard voices it was the Charity walkers for Clan they had all made it and we had a good chat. Well done all especially the 10 year old boy that was a big 3 hour walk in poor weather. I waited for 45 minutes for Hazel even with lots of clothing it was a chilly wait worth thinking about ?
We wandered down for about 10 minutes and met Hazel on her own in the mist she was going great and despite never meeting before we went back to the summit while Derek and Hamish continued down via the waterfall path.
Hazel wa going great after 30 days on the hill and 100 Munros done all for Charity in varying weather. We were soon on the summit a few photos, her media bits done and she did not stop for a break and we continued down. We had a great chat she was going so well and had that “at one on the hill” with her effortless movement on the mountains that continued hill days bring! She was happy the trip was a success and had used her knowledge well to get hills done despite the weather. It was great to hear her talk about her adventure and she is on her 8 th round now of the Munros!
We caught up with the other group as the weather cleared and we got a small view at last of Loch Muick and the waterfall and were soon down at the path and the gear came of for the road walk to the car. It is a lovely way off and the path is excellent.
It was then a quick change I was pretty wet and then say goodbye to a smiling Hazel then the long drive home just as the midges arrived! The drive back was wet and misty back over the Lecht a road and lay-byes I know well after Yvette Charity cycle to John O Groats I know every lay-bye now! It was then home get the gear washed and dried a bath and food. I put the fire on and had an early night the body now suffering from the dampness I walked like the” tin man ” old age !
Today I am off to Badaguish to help Outfitmoray for a week with a kids “Respite week” in the Cairngorms ! I hope my body manages it and the weather improves.
If you would like to donate to Hazel please find her Justgiving page for Mountain Rescue the lassie did well! It was great to meet Derek and Hamish and the Clan group, so many good folk about !