Friends, collies, sleepy dogs,
Strong winds were forecast again for the next day, our last, but not the pulverising gale force bruts of yesterday. This caused for celebration in the guise of a nice lie in or, to put it another way, B’s idea of a joke. 6.30am is NO WAY, a reasonable time for getting up, as far as I’m concerned. Regardless of my feelings on the matter and before I could say “objection”, we were back at the ski centre embarking on another walk, with a mere 3 Munros the target for the day. Such a feat was helped admirably by the altitude of our starting point so that amazingly, staggeringly, me and B were well into our Munro summit ritual just 45 minutes after leaving the car park and, I promise, we didn’t get the chair lift that goes all the way up. Descending South towards the col, our acquaintance from yesterday, we came upon a curious feature. There was a sign post to the Munro we had just bagged. Never, in all my born days, had I seen a signpost to a Munro before.
From the col we continued Southwards a little and then turned West heading for Carn a Gheoidh, our next conquest. Having finally left the unattractive paraphernalia of the skiing fraternity behind we passed the sequested beauty of a pair of unnamed lochans, their waters rippling sedately even in these untamed winds, cosseted as they are by the protective qualities of the hillocks that circle them; a little amphitheatre set just to the side of our path. I decided these waters of peace needed an identity and so I named them ‘BenzieB’ lochans. I got the idea from a tarn in the lake district, that my peoples’ great nephew Thomas, named ‘Taisie Tarn’ after he and the old girl (Maisie) had come across it, the day Thomas climbed Place Fell for the first time.
Although the winds were still mightily strong the sun put in the odd appearance bringing the hills to life and igniting our senses, making us feel so alive. On the way to Carn a Gheoidh we wove around Carn nan Sac, where we could see directly over to our last Munro for the day, The Cairnwell. Oh my goodness me, what a big drop and steep climb. I was overwhelmed and needed a sleep. After that B told me she was only teasing and, though it would be a great route for a crow flying, we were going to take a longer less arduous route by going back to the bulldozer track and then up to the summit. Phew, phew, phew. However, we hadn’t yet completed our second Munro and so we continued on our march.
One thing I have noticed on the Munros is that, when the weather is bad, everyone just keeps their head down, grunts a little in passing, and then strikes off with their bag. But, when the weather improves it’s smiles all round, comparing bags, lots of encouragement and fond wishes – in farewell – for a good day. Obviously, the good weather greetings are more of a challenge for me, given the opportunity for lunging and nipping but, today I was magnificent. I coped with the meet and greet with astonishing magnanimity, which did wonders in the treat department. What with the sunny weather, the good behaviour, three relatively easy Munros to bag and a full tummy, I was on top of the world, striking out to get to the next summit with joy in my heart and a song on my lips. It has to be said that the composition of dog lyrics are indecipherable to the average human ear but, it could just be, they owed a little to the song we had named our own, on the journey up… ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all.’ Just so.
Coming back from Carn a Gheoidh, we by passed Carn nan Sac and, wanting to leave BenzieB locans in their tranquil state, I didn’t even suggest a swim to ruffle their undisturbed waters. Back at the bulldozer track it just one more plod up to The Cairnwell and then the journey home.
By this time, although we were well back into all the ski clobber, The Cairnwell was – aditionally – crested with a mass of transmitter equipment adding further scarring to the Cairngorm mountains. Today’s winds whipped around and over the masts producing eerie musical reverberations that didn’t harmonise with the song on my lips but sent a shiver down my spine instead. Today had been magical, despite the debris around the ski centre and, once we were back at my van after by-passing the closed cafe, we were homeward bound.
What a weekend: 7 more Munros in our bag, ending in exhaustion and such a lot to tell David when I got home – I couldn’t wait, though somehow I missed the journey back and only came too at the gate of home, around 6.30pm.
A very sunny evening of carousing and general excitement followed so that, next day, it was a lot of hard work for all of our eyelids.