Wednesday, November 06, 2013

159, 160. Creag Mhor (172), Carn Mairg (91). 02/11/2013

The forecast was a bit iffy, with storms coming in later in the afternoon, so the plan was to tackle the four munros north of Ben Lawers before the weather hit. The fact that we'd been kept off the hills for the previous two days meant we were determined to do some walking though. 

The clear skies lasted almost to the top of Creag Mhor, before we entered thick cloud. Despite not being able to see anything, the conditions were still ok and we pressed on towards Carn Mairg, relying heavily on the GPS. As we approached the summit, it began to snow a little and the ground began to rise a more sharply than expected (the better ascent is from the east) and we ended up climbing steeply up slabs of rock on our hands and knees, but we made it in a little over two hours which made us confident we might get round before the worst of the weather got to us.

Unfortunately, as we began to make our way towards the next peak, the wind picked up steadily until it was a howling gale. The wind was behind us at least and the ground was flat underfoot, so we soldiered on for a little while, but when we were about a kilometre from the top of the next peak, the precipitation had become heavy too and the time had come to abandon. Fortunately there are no steep sections off the sides of these hills, so we just aimed for lower ground to the south and followed the valley back down. This took a lot longer than expected and meant going into the wind for a while, so wasn't the most pleasant walking, but that can happen in Scotland!

We got down to the main valley to discover that we'd interrupted some stalkers, who said we shouldn't have come down off the side of the hill and got a bit aggressive about it. I stand by my decision though - it was unavoidable in this instance, since continuing on the hill would not have been safe. I did also think that stalking finished on 20th October, but it appears that the Atholl Estates continue on into the winter.

They didn't look like this...