Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Personal Escapology

The rarest commodity is time - that's why the best birthday present I get most February's is the promise of a week free of children - which I use to escape to the hills. I can do so confident that Boris, Norris and Doris are safely in the hands of their Grandparents (London variety). Personal escapology is a wonderful thing and for me that isn't about runing off to find the real me, more having a break from the reality of them! Actually I was hugely entertained by a cartoon in Private Eye which featured a man running in sheer terror away from an exhibit entitled "Come and discover the real you!" But I digress..........

The rainbow I saw as I drove to Glen Affric was the last decent light for photos all day, however it was a great hill-day in an area which is new to me.

The car park at the end of the dead-end Affric Road, has a view-point which tantalizes the taste-buds of anticipation with glimpses of tops and ridges, far above the Loch and the Affric River which issues from it.

Getting up onto the long ridges on the North side of Affric involves several miles of walking, but in the early morning sunlight, with deer, squirrels and countless singing birds for company, in fragrant woods ringed with high peaks, such walk-ins are all delight, and never a chore.

Beinn Fhionnlaidh lies off the back of the ridge, an outlier projecting Northwards from the predominant east-west line of hills which separate Loch Affric and Loch Mullardoch. The hazy-sunshine allowed long-views down lonely Mullardoch from Fhionnlaidh, I hadn't seen a soul all day, and basked up here on this distant mountain, in splendid isolation. 22miles, and 2500m of ascent is a long day, and failing to find the track back to Affric Lodge, involved a leg-numbing detour along a road too. Driving back to the hostel at Cannich I thought I had earned my Curry and Pint of Ale, which I got duly stuck into after a self-indulgent doze!

I didn't walk that far every day. On some days a combination of foul weather forecasts and my own tiredness meant shorter or lower level walks, like this one down towards the Plodda falls.

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