Day One (5th July) Beinn a’Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair (48 & 49)

Hello,

and thank you for coming to read my post. I don’t often reblog my own posts – being a modest sort of dog – but here’s a pertinent one from 16th July 2018 when I was climbing my Munros  (Ben’s challenge)

AND, also…

“… musing over the fate of my cousins on the continent, as Brexit negotiations nudged toward something not very conclusive at all…”,

So, what’s new? I do worry a lot about every doggie’s papers being in order so we can all live harmoniously together.

Love Ben xx

Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws

Friends, collies, homeless dogs,

Morning broke over the mountains with a choral symphony of birds serenading the new day.

Or so we presumed!

Me, and the person breathing next to me, were deep into zzzs, making up for the long hours of twisting and turning during our first night away in my van this year. Though the hour of 5.30am had been witnessed, through a clink in an eyelid, it was quickly obliterated by just one flicker. Thoughts of an early start to beat the pulsating sun, took a back seat in favour of – in my case – more dog dreams.

Finally, an hour later, we prised ourselves from slumber and, at 7am, were confidently able to predict a return of no earlier than 3pm; my person always being at the upper limit of the estimated walking times for any route. Of course, I could have done a quick run around…

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Munros 2019 – August 26th – The Easains

Friends, collies, homeward bound dogs,

(If are new to my blog let me, Ben – a young Border Collie – say a huge welcome. I’m absolutely elated that you have chosen to read my post and not been put off by that old chestnut about people attributing human characteristics to animals!! My blog is all about the trials and tribulations of a young dog – and their person – on a v. v. v big challenge, climbing lots of mountains in Scotland, called The Munros. You can find out much more about it here Ben’s challenge … the story continues)

The last Monday of August 2019 announced itself, in the central highlands of Scotland, like so many, many, mornings have over the centuries. Ubiquitous clouds assembled in a mass gathering that drew curtains across the dramatic stage behind. In other words we couldn’t see a thing!

I would like to report that B woke up every Munro morning, absolutely raring to go and put more Munros in our bag. That would however, be a v. v. v big lie. Today, the lowering cloud, the later start (we had overslept by an hour) and the thought of a five hour drive, following seven or eight on the hills, weighed heavily on her. As for me, well, I just go with the flow. It took longer today to get some life force pulsing through B’s old body and, therefore, the start of our walk was of the sluggish variety. She did utter our tried and tested mantra, “We’ll just see how far we get” but somehow, it didn’t hold the conviction that we were going far at all.

Stodgy, best describes the mood and ambulation as we diverted from the track beside Loch Treig, and took to the hills on an increasingly muddy and boggy path. This was, to say the least, unfortunate. B is at her absolute worst when tramping uphill with feet sinking into squelching quagmires. I did suggest she might take a lesson from me, going barefoot, because she would be better without those heavy boots dragging her down, but that suggestion didn’t seem to go down too well for some reason.

Plodding through bog while looking at an imposingly steep climb, as banks of cloud obscure the two Munros beyond, isn’t – I learnt today – the best way of raising one spirits. Still, I’ll give B credit for one thing – perseverance. We had been robbed of yesterday’s walk, because it was just too hot, and we weren’t going home without achieving today’s Munros.

Once we got to the steep ascent rock began to replace bog, so it wasn’t all bad news for B. For me, of course, it’s a win, win, situation. Out of the bog and onto steeper slopes B’s verbal ticks went from moans and groans to huffs and puffs. Alongside these exclamations of exertion comes the need to stop and draw breath and, this is where I come in. My best empathetic glance, and unspoken encouragement, demands edible rewards – obviously – oh, happy days. We eventually got to the top of Meall Cian Dearg and still nothing of our two Munros had revealed themselves.

However, though the cloud clung doggedly to the summits, the wind – hurtling through the glen – was having a rare old game. Tumbles of grey and white summersaulted across the mountains in the most dramatic salsa and sometimes, where seams of shade collided, the sun – protesting against obscurity – sent down shafts of light to create hillside galleries of the sky; elsewhere it danced in gay abandon, skittering across the  ruffled waters on the surface of Loch Treig.

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As we continued light and dark pirouetted in their familiar tango, with brighter forces gaining brief victories, before submitting to the elemental force of stormy clouds. Traversing the sinuous ridge above the loch we saw our first Munro clearly ahead, in a brief moment of clarity, but then it’s summit’s crown was lost again before we claimed our own victory.

Thus, my photo a top Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin took on that old familiar aspect of… not much at all. Looking ahead a moment later we could see our immediate direction of travel but nothing yet, of the second prize we were pursuing. The sky-scape continued its wafting and then, suddenly, the long arched shoulders of Stob Coire Easain were visible, urging us on but, by the time we got to the summit cairn of our 84th Munro, visibility was a thing of the past.

Nevertheless me and B were on top of the world (well, pretty high up in Scotland anyway). From the pessimism of this morning we had ploughed through our dampened spirits to arrive at these giddy heights. As always the ridge we had travelled spoke magically to the soul so that, on our return, we were in 7th heaven, trotting along as if the uphill slog had really been no effort at all, the bog non-existent and the long drive back a mere hiccup, as we gasped the last breath of our brilliant weekend.

For the rest of the afternoon the battle of the sky continued with the cloud lifting higher all the time. The shades of colour intensified where the sun could shine and who could do anything – even a little dog – but gaze in amazement at the splendour of this world.

Then, looking back with great satisfaction, there was the sight of Meall Cian Dearg and the two Munros beyond that had, today, etched the number 84 on our Munro bag.

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Then, after all that, guess what I did on the way home?

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And so to bed!

Love Ben xxAA HeartPawPrint

25th August 2019 – Time out

Friends, collies, meteorologists,

(If are new to my blog let me, Ben – a young Border Collie – say a huge welcome. I’m absolutely elated that you have chosen to read my post and not been put off by that old chestnut about people attributing human characteristics to animals!! My blog is all about the trials and tribulations of a young dog on a v. v. v big challenge, climbing lots of mountains in Scotland, called The Munros. You can find out much more about it here Ben’s challenge … the story continues)

Little did I know that yesterday evening, while I was putting an impressive amount of effort into keeping the old eyelids closed down, my B had been wrestling with the forecast and the fact that we had come all these miles north to do a few days of Munro bagging. This was after nearly two months when the people from the Met had advised us to steer clear, in symbols that communicated only wind and rain. Now, in an unpleasantly ironic twist of fate, a freak day of high temperatures was going to cover the UK which, in our parts, rose from a predicted 24o centigrade to a predicted 29o in the space of 2 hours. There was going to be very little in the way of breeze and the temperatures started rising at 6.00am, from an overnight base line that that didn’t dip much below 20o. Full sun was going to bathe the hill in glorious colours and a roasting blanket of heat. This forecast gave a very clear steer to direct B’s thinking but her disappointment obliterated the obvious. Desperately she looked for alternatives: shorter walks, different parts of the country, getting up even earlier. However, none of them could get around the fact that – no matter where we went, or what time we started out – at some point in the day we would be spending several hours in the v. v. v hot weather and, as proved to be the case – according to the gospel of Facebook – dogs can get heat stroke. Finally, she admitted that the 25th September 2019 was cancelled, having the temerity to blame it on me.

Given that I was unconscious at the time of this wrangling I found the lack of consultation a little hurtful, but my indignation was short lived as I was able to lie in late the next day. Now, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression. I really am in this for the long haul and have all the necessary commitment but, I ask you – honestly – what would you rather do, flog up a 3,000 foot mountain or two, and get heatstroke, or turn around, scratch your blanket up into a nice ball and then flop down for a tad more shut eye?

Last night, once our proposed Munro trek had definitely been written off, B – thinking about how I might like to spend such a hot day – has hatched a plan B.  As it happens, our physical presence in this universe had planted us just a couple of hundred metres from a stunning highland loch, and I had been destined to spend many hours in the cooling properties of Loch Laggen’s sylvan waters. As we had approached the gate, giving us entry to the field which annexed the shore, we could see a heard of cattle grazing nonchalantly, right in our way. Seemingly, these bovines could become enraged at the very sight of little old me and all hell could let loose. Well, I don’t know about any of that but I just wished a stupendous tube of Primular cheese could have been lowered from the sky to distract the cows, granting us a safe passage through the field, so close to the loch. Several times we paced backwards and forwards to the gate but, the cows were not for moving.

So Instead, we spent Sunday in an opaque passing of hours; much of it looking for shade. On a bench under trees, just beyond the Creag Meagaidh car park, B passed the time reading and writing, while I spent it on guard, ready to put in a strong objection when anyone dared to pass by. At these times, the distracting nozzle of my Primular was swiftly placed close to my lips and copious amounts of the velvety substance transferred itself, as if by magic, to the back of my throat. It was a day to treasure.

My friends, who get this post in their e mails, may need to go to my website to see these photos as a slide show – Ben’s website

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Early in the evening some cloud cover dissipated the heat of the sun and we decided to move to our resting place for the night. During our short drive early evening light silhouetted mountains high against the sky as glorious monuments spelling out the beauty of the natural world.

Fersit lies at the end of a minor road leading to Loch Treig. Me and B love to end our day in such sequestered pockets of solitude. Here overlooking a loch  and cradled by mountains, we relished the privileged freedom of roaming the land by day and sleeping in Tanka, our Renault Kangoo, by night.

B told me all about those people who had to do big fights to win our rights and pave the way for us to be sleeping here tonight and climbing Munros tomorrow. First she told me about the Diggers, who in the 1630s occupied some land, objecting about the money people who wanted to take it from them. They were fighting to be able to graze their sheep on common land so they could feed their families. “We are free men, though we are poor”, they said.

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Then she told me about the Manchester Ramblers, who did an illegal trespass on Kinder Scout, Derbyshire in 1932, asserting their right to roam over the moors, in order to claim a bit of a work / life balance, after labouring in industrial mills and factories all week. “I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday” is how Ewan McColl phrased their perspective on life. Clearly he had no idea of diversity and omitted woman and dogs from his song about the big march, which is pretty unforgivable.

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After such heavy intellectualising, my head hurt badly and my eyelids were sinking in the direction of my snout. I sometimes think B forgets that I am only a dog when she starts philosophising. I needed zzzs.

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And so to bed!

Love Ben AA HeartPawPrint

24th August Creag Meagaidh circuit

Friends, collies, loch swimmers

(If are new to my blog let me, Ben – a young Border Collie – say a huge welcome. I’m absolutely elated that you have chosen to read my post and not been put off by that old chestnut about people attributing human characteristics to animals!! My blog is all about the trials and tribulations of a young dog on a v. v. v big challenge, climbing lots of mountains in Scotland, called The Munros. You can find out much more about it here Ben’s challenge … the story continues)

Though Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday, had all looked like fair weather walking days, the forecast for Saturday morning was less certain. Light cloud symbols decorated the BBC forecast and the mountain weather information service was ambivalent about the chance of cloud free Munros. So – obviously – B was up early and we were setting off at 6.30am, with the cloud banked low over the summits! She is a creature of habit and bending to the mood of the day doesn’t seem to feature within her narrow realm of flexibility. Seemingly B had a theory. Apparently, the cloud would rise with us as we climbed though, to be honest, I couldn’t find any the scientific evidence to back up this notion. More likely it had something to do with that dubious concept called wishful thinking.

We certainly put in the climbing but look how B’s theory worked out at the top of our first Munro that day, both at the summit cairn and with a 360 degree view.

Not only was our view obscured but high winds, from the south, were blowing us about like paper flapping uncontrollably near to an electric fan. We took shelter in the lee side of the summit cairn – constructed for such eventualities – and B tried to kid me on that the wind was a good thing. According to her second theory of the day, it would blow away all the cloud so we could find our way. Well, true enough, dogs aren’t great on keeping time but I do know this, I was getting v. v. v cold sitting around waiting for this latter day highland clearance, and I still couldn’t see a paw in front of me. Me and B kept having a look back, in the direction of the wind, and the sun was doing its best. At first a tiny circuit of light, the size of a saucer, could just be glimpsed through the cloud; then it became a tea plate and even a dinner plate. Nevertheless, whoever it was that made the cloud must have had the upper hand, because all that crockery never penetrated and waves of cloud kept sweeping across those translucent circles of hope, obliterating the suggestion of brightness.

By this time B had a nice hat on, was sporting some lovely warm gloves and her coat was all zipped up. I, on the other hand, had none of these luxuries and I began to wonder about the balance of power in this special relationship. Just as I was contemplating what rebellion looked like, from a young dog on top of a Munro, the sun performed a feat of magic. With one last blast of wind all the hills around us cleared of the smoke screen that had obscured their curves and crevices and, like a farewell to arms, the sun rose in ascendancy announcing its supremacy. It seemed that B’s theory wasn’t all bad after all, even if it was a bit late in materialising. We set off at a fair pace to warm up and make up for some lost time, embarking on Munro number two. Everywhere around us the great dog in heaven smiled down, Illuminating gently folding contours and raggedly exposed gullies. Our senses were ignited with vistas prone to bring on big releases of endorphins and, despite the lack of wind abating clothing, I knew what a lucky dog I was to be up here, running along with the wind in my fur, close to my person; we were so very happy.

As we continued along the ridge the cloud base continued to lift and patches of blue wove a tapestry of promise in the sky. Nevertheless, Creag Meagaidh’s topknot still remained a shrouded mystery, covered in a circumference of stubbornness that wasn’t going anywhere fast.

8 Circumference of stubbornness on CM

B, on the other hand, was going up there, regardless of the warnings written in the route we were following, “… difficult to navigate in poor visibility, precipices nearby!”. Having come this far, who were we, she said, to let fear of a few precipices stand between us and our third Munro. Personally, I began to think this use of the royal we a bit over used and, what’s more, the butterflies in my tummy agreed.

In the meantime, we still had to claim the second Munro for our bag and, according to our route, it was at the top of the next steep ascent. Well, me and B popped up the next hill, did a big descent and then started climbing, imagining ourselves to be on the way to Stob Poite Coire Ardair. At the top, we came upon a cairn and conducted our usual summit ritual: drop of malt whiskey for B, big hunk of sausage for Ben, full on photo-shoot.

At this point we had ascended well into the cloud and were trying to find a path to the south west that would take us in the direction of the invisible Creag Meagaidh. Why then, we wondered, did the two men who sped past us at this point seem very intent on heading directly west on, it has to be said, a fairly clear path. B consulted our GPS only to find that the hill we had popped up earlier – while waiting for a steep climb – was, in fact, Stob Poite Coire Ardair and we had walked right on past. This is the only Munro ever where I haven’t had my photo taken.

8a Looking towards Stob Poite Coire Ardair - cairn just visible

Heavens alive, she must be getting fitter than either of us thought. The cairn where we did the ceremonial was none other than Mad Meg and, happy days, just a few hundred metres across the plateau was the highest point of the walk, our third Munro today. This was one up for our energy bank and several points down for navigational skills. Creag Meagaidh marked the 82nd Munro and I really did wonder how we had managed to find our way to all the others. What, I also wondered, would the other 200 now left have in store for us. The views from the top were… identical to those from the summit of Carn Liath earlier today!

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We now needed to retrace our steps to the bealeach called ‘The Window’. As soon as we had passed and turned our backs on Mad Meg the sun, in a display of supremacy, wiped out the cloud, showcasing a panorama of mountain topography. The battle for the sky had been one at last and for the rest of the day sunrays bounced off mountain rock faces while the jewel in this crown, Lochan Choire, sparkled in a glorious azure of temptation. And, guess what, oh… uncontainable joy, I was going swimming. However, my excitement has let me get ahead of myself.

The steep descent from ‘The Window’ is not for the faint hearted. Here is a tale of brutality, enacted by some angry elemental force that ripped the landscape apart, tossing it’s broken frame about in a viscous storm, before hurtling the pieces down to earth in a crashing torrent. Thankfully, that was some time ago and all we had to do now was find our way through the remnants of that great tempest.

A walker’s path weaves almost miraculously through the pieces, though its traverse is no simple matter and, for me, without sturdy boots to protect my paws, it was a somewhat painful experience. B, even with all her protective gear, was not exempt from discomfort. Old bones are prone to wear and tear, with joints taking the brunt of this anatomical evolution. Today’s complaint came from her knees so that, by the time we got to the loch, B was nearly as excited about having a rest as I was with the prospect of a swim.

For the next 15 minutes or so I ranged about the lochan swimming after my ball, while the shimmering waters danced around me in the sunlight, under the great fangs of Creag Meagaidh’s Corrie, a revered site for winter ice climbing. Beyond the loch we followed the path back to the car park to complete the full circuit. The rest of the day was blissfully simple in the satisfaction of a job done. There were zzzs before dinner, more zzzs after dinner and finally, deep sleep zzzzzzzzs to see me through till morning.

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And so to bed!

Love Ben AA HeartPawPrint

 

 

 

AT LAST!

Friends, Collies, Red Admirals,

(If are new to my blog let me, Ben – a young Border Collie – say a huge welcome. I’m absolutely elated that you have chosen to read my post and not been put off by that old chestnut about people attributing human characteristics to animals!! My blog is all about the trials and tribulations of a young dog on a v. v. v big challenge, climbing lots of mountains in Scotland, called The Munros. You can find out much more about it here Ben’s challenge … the story continues)

Me and B had been looking for the chance to ‘bag’ some more Munros since our last weekend away in July. So often, when looking a number of days ahead the weather had  looked promising. Then – big, big, disappointment – as the weekends got nearer, nice sunny symbols were overruled by despots of black, proffering tear drops of rain. At last, after nearly two months of this fraught weather watching – with its tension of will we, or won’t we, get away – the forecast for the weekend ahead took on a more consistently optimistic outlook; it appeared that we were off. I had recognised the frantic activity at home as indicative of a move, and this was made absolute when B & David sat huddled over maps. Those butterflies in my tummy started flapping about with that familiar, and heady, mixture of excitement and trepidation; I had to nip outside urgently.

The next day I had my morning constitutional in Maibie Forest with David, involving the usual meet, greet and chase routine. Then, arriving home, I walked into to a whole lot of angst. It turns out that the good job B thought she had done (getting our tyres up to scratch, by dealing with our puncture and swapping an offending wore item with a spanking new spare) wasn’t such a great effort at all. In fact, we had a flat tyre and, this was just as we were meant to be off for a long drive, to go Munroing.

Flat tyre

Suddenly, the morning departure – aimed at beating the worst of the bank holiday and Friday afternoon traffic, across the central belt of Scotland – was abandoned. Instead, a mercy mission to tyre specialists in Dumfries was the order of the day. Despondency loomed large as we wondered if we would get away at all, in this brief respite from the westerly fronts that had kept assaulting the UK – Scotland in particular – for the past couple of months.

It concerned me somewhat that we were never, EVER, going to have a straight forward Munro trip. One where preparation, and an uneventful drive, was followed by a few days of solid walking without any complications. The question mark hanging over this particular weekend was, however, resolved by the swift, efficient and friendly service at Denton’s Tyre Centre in Dumfries (five stars all round). Within an hour and a half B was back at base with the affronting tyre all puffed up and looking very pleased with itself. Even though I’ve never met them, the v. v. v clever humans at Denton’s instantly became some of my bestest friends. I vowed that they are exempt from any interest in their ankles – from a potential nipping perspective – should I be lucky enough to meet them – whatever the temptation.

Denton's

At this stage of the game, our 1 pm departure would now, undoubtedly, result in a more congested journey. Right enough the M74, heading north from Moffat, boasted a carriageway three lanes deep in heavy traffic and then, following a straight forward trip into Edinburgh, we were queued up waiting to get onto the city bypass. After that the A9, going west, supported only slow moving travel while, long before we could even see the Queensferry Crossing (over the River Forth), we were nose to bumper in stationary traffic.

misery for people stuck on queensferry crossing

On the north side of the bridge we got going again only to arrive on the outskirts of Perth at what amounted to rush hour. Here we took our part in, what seemed to be, a race where we had put all our money on the snails winning. Finally, just south of Birnham, where no forests came to meet us (despite the Bard’s prophecy),  traffic cones and contraflows dominated the scene of a slow moving procession. The roads beyond were clear though, oh my golly gosh, what a bendy road that A86 between Laggen and Spean Bridge turned out to be. By the time we turned into the Craig Meagaidh car park, at 6.00pm, my butterflies had been on one hell of a roller coaster and I was exhausted.

Still, on the plus side (me and B are keen to focus on positives), my sleeping accommodation had taken a turn for the better. No longer was I perched on a high rise cushion that slipped down the gaps between the boxes that supported it. Instead, I was staying on my comfy front seat except that, with the back of it laid nearly flat,  B and I could just about touch noses; happy days. With that arrangement I felt a whole lot more secure so that – after a bite to eat and a bit of route planning for tomorrow – me, B and the butterflies in my tummy, settled down for a good night’s sleep.

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Lots of love,

Ben AA HeartPawPrint

 

 

Thank you my patient friends

Friends, collies, v. v. v patient dogs,

I am so, so, sorry to – only now – be posting blogs about my Munro exploits at the end of August.  Modesty forbids me telling you that I’m great on getting my thoughts assembled straight away (oh I just have!) but, I have to rely on my person with the technology – there’s only so much a paw can do – and now I’m all behind. She pleads all sorts of excuses of course, and I’m promised a better service after retirement – which sounds slower rather that faster to me but here’s hoping. However, the next few days will, at last, give you a window into the world of our adventure the last time we were both in the Munros. So bear with me please, it’s taken a lot of nagging and, I believe, my persistence has pushed my records ahead of all those walks she went on without me, which she still has to publish. Ben’s blogs, naturally, take precedence.

While waiting there was only one thing I could do.

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And so to bed!

Lots of love,

Ben AA HeartPawPrint

 

 

Munros 2019 – July 8. 9 Mullach Clach a Bhlair (No. 79)

Friends, collies, early rising dogs,

Oh my goodness, now this was getting seriously silly. 4.00 o’clock in the morning is no time to expect any self-respecting dog to be up and looking their best and, though she had instigated it, I can personally vouch for the fact that B would have turned out a lot better herself with another couple of hours of shut eye.

Still Munros are Munros, and they’ve got to be done and, what’s more, when this bagging business is followed by a long drive home, they’ve got to be bagged early. This is what happens: get up at some ungodly hour, put a Munro in our bag, get a couple of hours of zzzs, drive home… job done.

This morning’s walk started out down the beautiful Glen Feshie. We set off at what for B was a cracking pace. The clear path beyond Achlean aided our progress so, quite how we deserted this, to follow a track down to a bridge over the river, I’ll never know. Route planning last night had clearly shown that we needed to keep to the north side of the river. I must admit to getting quite worried about this tendency of totally ignoring what was, as plain as the nose on your face, only a few hours before.

Still, on this occasion we rectified the error early and were back on our rightful track absorbing the clarity of light on this glorious extremely EARLY July morning. The route through the glen took us through more of the Scot’s Pine that cloth so many of the glens in the Cairngorms. B had been combing the area this year, most of it without me. Today we were in the south east of the national park and once Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair was in the bag there would be just 3 more routes, to finish off all the Munros in the Cairngorms. After our early mishap we did find our way safely through the forest and then, turning north east, started the inevitable climb. By this time – the fourth day of our long weekend – I had got the treat hunt down to an exact science. I was able to predict with absolute precision the moment when B’s momentum would give out, and she would grind to a halt for a bit of a breather. The frustration of these interruptions to our upward progress was compensated for by the treats that came my way, before we set off again. I just had to look adoringly and, bobs your uncle, I was munching on some nibbles. As these rewards were my main motivation for flogging up mountains I decided to bring forward the moment of administration by pre-empting the next break, sitting down, and gazing with that pleading vulnerability that melts hearts. Alas, we were only a little way into my guise when B cottoned on – she’s not always as daft as she seems. Then she started to tease me, walking for longer than she would normally, even though the huffing and puffing was getting seriously out of hand. I was left sitting behind her with my most pathetic look fixed on the back of her rucksack. I tried racing ahead and sitting down again but she wasn’t having any of it. I think we were playing something called a cat and mouse game, which is somewhat curious because she’s a person and I’m a dog.

Distant views as we ascended

The popular image of the Cairngorms is of huge rounded lumps of remote mountains, characterised by the bogs and hags that lie between them and v. v. v little human habitation; I think it’s called wilderness. Every now and again though, they catch you unawares and take your breath away. Erosion in these parts didn’t always produce smooth, graceful slopes. It could be angry and violent, cutting out gullies of rugged cliffs. Such an episode must have visited the Coire just ahead and, with this awesome prospect greeting us, B and I gave up our game and sat down to soak up the vista. Well, to be more accurate, B was taking in the scene and I was keeping a steady fix on the banana she was eating, being quite partial to a bit of fruit myself.

It wasn’t long after we got going again that we were at the top by another cairn of old stones. Today’s summit was also the culmination of our achievements over the weekend. Admittedly, our mishap on Saturday had cost us the next day’s planned route, and two Munros, but at least we had added five more to our bag, a cause for celebration. After all Friday nights little tête á tête, with the RAC person, had nearly cost us the weekend. B hugged me, I dutifully went doe-eyed and a nice hunk of sausage came my way.

Summit of, and views from, Mullach Clach a Bhlair

We elected to go back the same way sacrificing variety for a bit of saved time. On the way down our outlook was dominated by indomitable presence of those classic Cairngorm hills – voluptuous curves and folds of hills sloped into deeply cut glens for as far as the eye could see, as if the National park was one large sculpture park, set down by evolution, with the sole purpose of pleasing the eye.

Here, in the upper reaches of Glen Feshie, the other half live in splendour able to feast their eyes on the scene from their gardens in all it’s glorious changing seasons. Soon all the hills would be smothered with flowering heather, as it was just ready to burst into a riot of purple.

With less of the readies to splash about, but stores of memories to draw on, B collected souvenirs from the ground. Me and B are going to make a mountain shaped Christmas decoration from the pine cones, to help us recollect all the fun on today’s walk as we have our yummy Christmas dinner every year. The shade of the trees was very welcome as it had become very warm at this more reasonable time of the day, some 7 hours later.

The bit of shut eye, before we drove off, was very timely too but, the most heaven sent thing of all was the sight of my David opening the gate to our house back at home. I got so excited when I saw him and there were no contrived treat driven pranks it was just pure authentic delight. I had so much to tell him.

And then some proper zzzzzzzzs, AT LAST

SF 8
And so to bed

Love Ben AA HeartPawPrint