Since my knee operation a few weeks ago I have gradually been regaining strength and stamina, mainly by not following doctor’s order to rest, which has seen me getting out on the hills. Two weeks off work saw me climbing Ben Lawers (Scotland’s 10th highest mountain) and Benn Ghlas (twice) and a few trips up Ben A’an in The Trossachs, including a race to see how quickly I could climb it - 38 minutes – which saw me arriving at the top in a sweating panting mess. The upside is I now hold the record (on the Strava App) for the quickest climb for my age group, but since many don’t use Strava, I need to put my pride back in its box. I have now climbed Ben A’an ninety-nine (99) times. I’m going for the ton (100) soon.
Anyway, this has got nothing to do with the Wee Boochle (Buachaille Etive Beag - BEB - one of the Glencoe Munros). Mid -week, September 4th saw me leaving the house at 2.30am and heading for Glencoe to climb BEB. Plenty of time to get there and get up top for sunrise, so I thought. Drove up Loch Lomond side on the A82 only to find the road from Tarbet to Crianlarich was closed for road works, a 51 mile diversion via the Rest and be Thankful and Inveraray, along Loch Awe and rejoin the A82 at Tyndrum. I’m now well behind schedule.
Arrived at the car park for BEB at 5am, with sunrise projected for 6.40am, this is going to be tight. Climb a Munro in 90 minutes. Gear on and the race begins. 1 hour and 36 minutes later I arrive on top of Stob Coire Raineach (one of the two Munro peaks of BEB) just as the sun crests the horizon across Rannoch Moor.
I’m pretty shattered from the climb but no time to rest. Tripod out, camera mounted and away we go – that gap in the clouds on the horizon won’t last forever.
It was a great morning, low lying mist across Rannoch Moor out past Buachaille Etive Mor with Schiehallion (The Fairy Hill of the Caledonians) glimpsed on the horizon.
As the sun, rose shafts of light came streaming through the clouds lighting up the constantly changing views of the landscape. It was one of those mornings where it didn’t seem to matter in which direction you pointed the camera there was always a great view in any direction.
I took the obligatory ‘Man on a Mountain’ selfie shot, following my ‘selfie rules’ of no close ups, never look at the camera and try to look heroic even though you’re completely knackered from the climb.
By 8.30am the morning mists and low cloud began to roll in, up and over the mountain peak. Time for my morning coffee and Jaffa cakes.
By 9am it was time to pack up and head down. The first person I met that morning was when I descended into the bealach (valley) between the two mountain peaks, then lots of hill walkers puffing up the stone steps at the steep part. 10.30am back at the car and the drive home.