So end of term, time to get cracking on all the things I didn't do last year, including some of the things I said I would do One Day.
I saw a geology course based in the Cairngorms, an area I don't know well, and decided to book on it and having to travel a long way, to do a few other things as well. The One Days on the list were Suilven and Buchaille Etive Mor. The Lairig Ghru was nearby, indeed I drove past the start on my first day, but I simply couldn't find a way to fit it in.
The course was cancelled but the trip was planned, accommodation was booked so we went anyway.
Instead of learning about the mountains I decided to climb them anyway. The weather forecast was for sunshine, light breeze and little cloud, perfect?
I left my husband and do with relatives and drove to the ski centre car park near Aviemore. I set off to walk to Cairngorm itself passing above the Northern Corries on the way. An out and back to Ben Macdui was also mapped as an optional extra. The heat was incredible, the sun shone all day, reflecting back off the granite ensuring all round sunburn. The breeze was so light as to be undetectable. I decided to give the second highest mountain a miss this time. However the views got better with every step making the effort worthwhile.
Looking far into the North of the Country over lower ground and back into the heart of the Cairngorm Massif, stopping so frequently to look at it all slowed me down almost as much as the heat. Pausing for lunch at the edge of the Northern Corries a thin cloud covered the sun whilst I ate, but soon returned. The final pull up to the summit of Cairngorm was short but boy was I glad when it was over. The route back down windy ridge to the car park was steep and recent work on the path made it really difficult to walk on, like many others before me I ducked under the rope to walk on the old path beside it. So lovely to have an iced coffee before facing the oven that would be my car. The temperature was 24 degrees. Whatever happened to the temperature dropping with altitude?
Cairngorm is a Munro, so I increased my count by 33.3% from 3 to 4, creeping inexorably towards the total of 282.
If you have seen the film 'Edie' you will know of the mountain Suilven. It sits in the county of Sutherland, apparently rising vertically from a plateau. Driving towards it along the single track lane which is the A837 it certainly looked formidable. Overnight we worried about the weather, if the day was to be as hot and sunny, then the expedition was not going to happen. Fortunately it dawned grey and overcast. We could not see the mountain as we drove around it and then approached in on a 6 mile walk in along Glen Canisp. Indeed we did not see the mountain at all that day. A long walk in, a steep climb, a short walk between lochans then a longer steep climb and we made the saddle, the low point on the summit ridge. Turning right we continued to climb, passing an impossible stone wall (however did they build that!) until suddenly the cloud was below us and we could see the top was within reach. Once there the views were interrupted by the cloud, but there is something about a cloud inversion which beats far reaching views any day.
Feeling very smug we ate our lunch before facing the steep downclimb and long walk back to the car. The day was completed with fish and chips overlooking the harbour at Lochinver.
Suilven is neither a Munro, nor a Corbett, merely an amazing hill in an amazing area. A One Day done.
The weather changed to thunderstorms and torrential rain. Buchaille Etive Mor, our next mountain is not one to be climbed in such weather. We drove home early.