Feeling a bit jaded I managed to get two days off work. The forecast was good so Saturday at 2 pm found me parking beside Loch Moraig above Blair Atholl.
The path up Carn Liath is quite obvious from the car park. I am not very familiar with Scotland so had rung about deer stalking and have to say the answer was not particularly helpful. Based more on the fact that there were other cars parked and that they don't shoot on a Sunday ( the following day) I went ahead. So two hours later I was on the summit and for all those people who haven't already asked, no its not snow its quartzite boulders.
The light was disappointing for photography but the beautiful ridge beckons you on to the two munros for tomorrow.
In the event I camped just above the col on the shoulder of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhaigan (BCC). The wind dropped and the midges came out forcing a retreat into the tent. Later I looked out to see herds of un- shot dear on the summit ridge silhouetted against the evening sky.
I awoke on Sunday to sunshine and no midges.
After traversing BCC and descending to the col I was on the summit of Carn nan Gabhar by 10 am. I decided to press on instead of reversing my tracks and ended up descending steep slopes above Loch Loch. Cool name, if it was in the Lake district some pratt would call it Lake Loch Loch. (eg. Lake Windermere , Lake Ullswater etc.) Heading for a gill I stopped for my dinner , again herds of deer were in all the hollows on the fellside.
After dinner I had a paddle in Loch Loch then walked out along the east shore. There were two landrover loads of folk having a barbeque at the southern edge. Weren't very friendly when I shouted hello. By the time I had walked around to upper Coire Laggain I was hot and tired. I pitched the tent besides a beck coming down from Airgiod Bheinn. There were more than a dozen ruined shielings here and the place was very atmospheric.
And boy oh boy did those midges go crazy when the sun went down.
I did not bother trying to make tea or eat breakfast next morning but just packed as much as I could in the tent , put on the net and headed out into the mist. As long as you keep moving they can't get you. I headed for the car and hopefully a breakfast in Pitlochry.
I thought they might stop serving breakfast at 10 am so just went into the first cafe I came to in Pitlochry. Full Scottish ? asked the lass. I' m thinking what could be the difference between full Scottish and full English ? I can now tell you : at least £5 dearer (£11.50) undercooked bacon, cheap poor quality sausage, and toast that must have been re toasted as it was as hard as iron.
Lessons learned: lighter less bulky tent needed as this item of equipment weighs at least twice as much as anything else I carry, Innov8s work brilliantly in Scotland ( a ML training instructor told me they wouldn't) , you don't need fancy expensive socks as I just wear ordinary grey nylon ones the same as Ray Jardine, and finally don't go into the first cafe you come to no matter how hungry.
More commitments this weekend meant we did not get out for a walk until 1500 hrs on Sunday afternoon. Luckily Rannerdale Knott is only half an hour away and makes a grand short stroll with good views. There was one place in the car park. It had obviously been a busy day as there were cars parked everywhere and people having barbecues by the lake.
We continued along the ridge before slanting off left to the valley just before the hause. Rannerdale is a beautiful little valley and in spring is carpeted with bluebells. A reminder that autumn is just around the corner as the rowan berries are ripening and the bracken is going brown in places. Oh well it was a lovely afternoon , the company was good and I got to practice with the new camera.
Well I'm still coming to grips with the new camera. My 6MP Pentax istds has served me well but thought I'd try something a a little lighter and more modern so bought a Panasonic G2. I find it easy to use inside when I can read all the screens, but outside it is difficult to see. Similarly the info in the view finder is difficult to focus on when wearing glasses.
We have not been out for a while so decided on a short training walk up Eycott Hill from the Mungrisedale road. This is an interesting area geologically. Various volcanic rocks lie on the Skiddaw slate and are overlain by the carboniferous deposits. The grass was long and wet and we were bitten by clegs. There was an absence of sheep and lots of wild flowers. Maybe the sheep are managed here? I think this is campanula rotundifolia. A white version. Alba?
Had the usual cup of tea on the top and watched a big shower just miss us.
We were a bit worried about some cows in the fields below but they did not move. We have had a herd stampede towards us in the past so were a little nervous.
Well I'd better get back to that incredibly complicated instruction book....