Schiehallion was meant to be my 50th Munro. My plan was to climb it, pipe, and have my girlfriend Claire there with me. It was to be her first Munro (It may be her last for a while!!!) Sadly, my trip to Glenelg last week, yielded a total of ZERO summits, so this outing would have to be my 43rd.
This hill had long been identified by Claire as the Munro she wanted to tackle for her first time. It had been recommended to her, and I felt it would be a pretty straight forward one to introduce to her.
I became very ill the day before, teaching one of my classes, and put the whole trip in doubt. We traveled to Kenmore the night before, to stay in the Kenmore hotel, and I was really worried about my ability to go out the next day.
The hotel was FANTASTIC. We had a brilliant meal, I had Mussels for a starter, which could have been a main, and a Sirloin steak, probably not the best for the way I was feeling, but when in Rome.
So, we set off in the morning, after a very substantial breakfast, neither of us very enthusiastic, me feeling ill, and Claire just generally nervous. The car park on arrival was pretty full, telling us we were running late, think we got the last space. I advised Claire to take another jacket, which she wasn’t keen to do, but was later very greatful of the advice!
As we started on the path, the hill started to appear, well, a hill started to appear. This was the first target of the day, which seemed easy enough. We met a few guys coming down in kilts (nice to know I am not the only mad man), and a couple of women with dogs. They couldn’t believe I was taking my pipes up, and it was quite funny hearing them talking after we passed them.
We kept on slogging, until we came across the boulder field. I was under the impression this was a small section, and we could see a structure ahead, which we thought was the summit…it wasn’t!
As we got towards the “summit” a group were coming down towards us, and a woman took a tumble on the rocks. I ran across to assist, as it seemed nasty. She cut through her trousers, and cut her knee. We stayed with the group for a little while to make sure she was ok. One of her friends seemed more interested in telling us about HER fall at the top, which didn’t fill Claire with a lot of confidence, especially as the wind was really picking up.
So, on we went, one foot in front of the other, nice and slow, and we got there! The relief, for both of us, was immense. The views were just spectacular! An absolutely stunning view point. I was so glad Claire got to see such a view, and share something of what I experience when I get to a summit.
Due to the wind, we couldn’t spend too long, which was a shame, but the tough descent awaited!
I was starting to wilt, and Claire was really not enjoying still having to work on the way down, this wasn’t part of the deal. But we did it! I was so proud of Claire as she kept on going and made it to the bottom!
We celebrated with a meal in Aberfeldy, not the best, but we didn’t care at this point. All that remained was to drive back to Glasgow…oh, and the 7am to 10.30pm shift in the gym the next day, that was very enjoyable!!!!