Thursday, 27 June 2013

Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach, Jun'13

It's mid-June and Manny led a group up Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach - the two Munros above Loch Quoich.

On Gleouraich
A dry morning with rising cloud set us off up the superb stalkers path from Loch Quoich-side with a few deer watching us suspiciously. The group were surprisingly spritely for already having had two hard and very wet days in succession, and Brian’s perpetual banter quickly distracted most from the very steep start to the day. Angela took the front and led us at a terrific steady pace up the first 1500ft onto the south ridge with Isobel happy (for a change) to hang back, just a wee bit! A few pauses for jackets on/off/on/off and general breathers kept things relaxed. John was always moving strongly and drifting to the front, but we all wondered if it was to get away from Brian’s patter? Our first summit was topped in less than 2 hours and the clouds had gradually lifted throughout the morning, allowing magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, especially to the south with Sgurr Mor, Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan, climbed in the previous two days with little in the ways of views! A good chance to eat, drink and photograph at the top eventually ended when some mist rolled in and the temperature plummeted.

Summit done !
We were quickly warm again moving east along the fine ridge and peering down into the huge corries below. The group remained steady on the steep decent to the bealach but Violet perhaps hirpling a wee bit with a sore ankle and Sandra starting to sound like a set of bellows! Brian’s laughing tirade of “windbag” and all the rest, did not help when her leg was pulled about the whereabouts of the second and final peak, Spidean Mialach, and an early false top nearly resulted in a world record dummy spit-out! John eased tensions with a strategic “Ach, it aw’ flat fae here – get oan wi’ it!” Of course we had virtually reached the top and only a few minutes took us to the cairn where there were mighty high-fives and deserved fixed grins at getting through a hard weekends walking. The cameras took a battering as the team made up for lost time in the mist on the other days, with Angela starting a cairn-topping trend and Brian insisting on the ever-patient Violet taking at least 14 photos as he struck his best mountaineering poses!

On Gleouraich
The decent and walk out was lovely and soft for most of the way and only interrupted by the distant mechanical thundering of three huge rock-breakers digging out the hillside in preparation for an impending mini-hydro development. It was tired but happy feet that finally plodded through the colourful Rhododendrons and back onto the tarmac to the cars. The group had worked well all day, encouraging each other along the way and it was a pleasure to share their company over two fine hills.