The past months have been a slog for me. Job uncertainty meaning I have had to work 2 jobs, regular 16 hour days, no days off, meaning I had had about 2 days off in the past 2 months. I decided enough was enough and booked 10 days off both jobs, I await to see what this may mean, but for my health and sanity, I had to. There was only one place I wanted to go…HOME!
I have seen pictures from up west all summer and Autumn, and been incredibly jealous, and typically, once I came up, it was wet and windy. I had given up on hills for my trip, until I was begged to go out in the hills with my partner for the South Cluanie Ridge, Rab. I was very angry, to discover that he had been out late the previous night, and was unable to get out his bed on the Sunday morning for our climb, so off I went by myself.
First, a fact that will make you laugh or jealous. I forgot my kilt! Panic, I can’t be the Munrobagpiper without a kilt! I looked out my old kilt, from when I was 16/17! It still fitted, well, just about haha. Crisis over.
For some reason, I was really feeling unwell at the start. A week of holiday living obviously catching up with me! The start of the walk didn’t help, as it is basically, a “get to the top” kind of slog. You just keep plodding. Every so often I would sit and take in the wonders of Glenshiel, thinking about the rich history of the land. Unbelievable what has happened in years passed.
I got to the Bealach eventually, and was rewarded with the full view of the 5 sisters, already bagpiped last year. It is fantastic being able to look at these ranges now and know that I have been on them!
There was still a lot to go to get to the first summit, well at least it seemed that way anyway. My legs were already struggling. Winter training is essential!
Saileag was reached, and for being called an “uninspiring” summit by many, its surroundings were far from it! Wonderful views of Glenshiel, Glen Afric, Cluannie Ridge, the Five Sisters, it was all too much to take in. Words cannot do it justice. It was added pride for me, that this was the land of my upbringing. Looking over to the hills behind Glenelg and Arnisdale, and further. Proud of my roots.
The route ahead looked quite intimidating, and I was aware of fading light, but off I trotted. It took longer due to constantly taking in the views, stunning!
Now I had only one more Munro to climb, but looking ahead, it seemed like 3! The two tops beyond aonach meadhoin didn’t look inviting. Deal with that when I have to I guess.
With cloud coming in, and light failing, I started to rush, eventually getting to number fifty. To my rage, after setting the cameras and playing a tune, both camera and phone had died due to the cold! I was furious!
Not to be beaten, I managed to get my pictures on the top beyond, with a great backdrop. I DID IT!
I took a moment to FaceTime my girlfriend so she could share my 50th Munro. In the grand scheme of completing all 282, 50 still seems a long way behind, but for me, it was the first time I have really felt a massive sense of achievement! This was a landmark! It is a base for me to push on, not just in the hills, but in life, and I really can’t wait to see how the next fifty unfold!
I had the small matter of getting down to negotiate, and this was tough, as I could see the Inn, but it got darker and darker, until I was eventually just battling through bogs in the dark. All worth it as I munched my haggis in the pub, and celebrated my achievement with my mum, couldn’t think of a better person to share this first milestone with.
As for Rab, remember him, the one who went to the pub and was too rough to come out, i hope it was a good night