Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ben Challum

Even on a generally dreary day in the Scottish Hills - there's something to see. Like many other people I was fooled by the wonderful weather predictions; and enthusiastically made my way to the hills to enjoy the promised temperature inversion and "superb visibility". Of course, what we actually got was traditional Scottish cloud, and icy winds. Any disappointment I felt about the weather was offset by moments such as that (sort-of) captured above - just magic!
I took the 'trade-route' up Challum's southern flanks above Kirkton Farm, skirting the farmhouse on the West Highland Way, passing the site of an ancient priory and two graveyards, before crossing the railway line into open country. Much of the ascent is fairly featureless, and is criss-crossed by fences which need to be climbed over. Some of the route up is marked by a row of fenceposts, with rusting strands of wire tangled around them
Earlier this year I blogged about the demise of my old walking boots. Today, my new boots were given a baptism, not so much of fire, but of mud! This photo (snapped with my phone), is of me and my new boots, out for our first proper date; at the summit of a Munro.
The summit of Ben Challum, wide, expansive, glorious views ........ not!

Every year I start thinking that this will be the one in which I really get into the mountains and walk well over 20 Munros. Today has almost certainly been the last one of the year - and my total for 2011 stands at a miserly 8. As the light from the sun dropped below the skyline (it was only mid-afternoon!), I turned round and looked back up the path towards Ben Challum. Tracks like this have a drawing power that is all their own, which seem to engage the eye and then lure the senses. I can't wait to get out again! Actually, I am quite achy after my exertions today, knees, back, joints and muscles al protesting about their working conditions. I think I need to reward it with a hot bath and a fine dram.

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