Petestack Blog

6 September 2015

Heart of Ardgour

Filed under: Cycling,Walking — admin @ 10:14 am

This was a much-anticipated outing, delving into the very heart of some fantastic Munro-free mountain country I’ve barely touched beyond repeated visits to the great Garbh Bheinn. While ‘built’ round the reigning peak of Sgurr Dhomhnuill (one of these classic cones like Sgurr na Ciche and Binnein Beag that just looks great from everywhere), it was also fuelled by ‘greed’ in realising that that whole central group was up for grabs in a hefty day’s round accessed by bike up Glen Scaddle…

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So what to say about such a great day out? It’s quite big, with c.22 miles of cycling (15 off-road on rough, but generally solid, track with some stretches of Land Rover tire ruts deep enough to make pedalling awkward) and 12 under foot on rugged hills with big ups and downs. Some of the easier-angled ridges (like the east ridge of Carn na Nathrach and west of Beinn na h-Uamha) seem absolutely endless in ascent whereas others are, well, more fun. You get some cracking distant views of familiar peaks including (on a day when I’d have been running my tenth and probably last Ben Nevis Race had my summer gone to plan) that distinctive east-west aspect of the Ben to remind you that (in its upper part at least) it’s actually quite a narrow mountain. And Sgurr Dhomhnuill would quite simply be the finest peak for miles around but for the presence of nearby Garbh Bheinn. But where was everyone? For the fifth hill day in a row (the last four on Saturdays or Sundays) I saw no-one, despite a total ‘bag’ in that time of ten Corbetts, eight Corbett Tops, four Grahams and three Graham Tops. The key seems to be the absence of the word ‘Munro’, with only the most popular Corbetts and Grahams seeing comparable traffic. Which seems both a pity when there’s such good, rough, remote walking to be had on a round like this, and a blessing when these lovely ridges have remained comparatively uneroded by the passing of feet.

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23 August 2015

Streap

Filed under: Walking — admin @ 12:34 pm

Sgurr Ghiubhsachain or Streap? Two much-anticipated local(ish) peaks standing proudly south-west and north-east of Glenfinnan, so which to do first?

In the event Streap won as much because I’d spied a logical round taking in Braigh nan Uamhachan across Glen Dubh Lighe and all their tops with no doglegs whereas I might have to think what to include with Sgurr Ghiubhsachain! Which is why I headed west yesterday (on a day when the rest of the world seemed to be descending on Glen Coe for the new race) looking for two Corbetts, five Corbett Tops, two Graham Tops and a partridge in a pear tree…

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So what can I tell you about this little jaunt? While I met one party of three preparing to set off and picked up a dropped A4 map (which I later speculatively left under a wiper on the only other car I saw after failing to find its owner) on the track, for the third walk in a row I saw no-one on the hill. To walk the track up Glen Dubh Lighe, you have to pass through (or climb over!) the tightest kissing gate I’ve ever seen. It would be just about worth taking a bike for the first couple of miles, but I never thought of it. Beinn an Tuim is well worth doing (with splendid views back to Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Viaduct) and really not as off-puttingly rough and rocky as WalkHighlands suggest. It’s great walking along the ridge from Beinn an Tuim to Streap on rough, but not awkward, ground, but I was a tad underwhelmed by the summit of Streap itself. It looked great, but somehow just didn’t quite deliver in being tamer and less airy than the descriptions I’d been reading! Also more, well, grassy… I’d kind of expect more rock on a proper knife-edge (which that much-lauded south-west ridge is not), so quite likely more satisfying under snow and ice? The camera got put away approaching Streap as wet cloud and rain began to compromise the middle part of the day, then never got taken out again as I saw nothing I particularly wanted to photograph once it started to brighten up (by which time I was descending Na h-Uamhachan with the higher tops still mostly obscured). And there’s a neat wee bothy about 300m above the bridge where my return track rejoins my outbound one… quite the ‘shiniest’ I’ve seen with immaculate gloss varnish on the bed platform and wood panelling, and two shelves of books to read in all!

Sgurr Ghiubhsachain (the obvious peak to the left of the first photo) and Sgurr Dhomhnuill (the prominent conical peak — and Ardgour’s highest — further left in the other ‘Loch Shiel’ shot) now very much on the imminent agenda, but not today…

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20 August 2015

Plotting the peaks

Filed under: Running,Walking — admin @ 8:16 pm

Some plotting going on here, but who knows in how many senses? For sure I’ve now got all the Corbett Tops, Grahams and Graham Tops from the latest Database of British and Irish hills plotted on my map, but am I plotting to do them all? Probably not…

It’s only when you see the great hinterland of East-Highland Corbett and Graham Tops stretching from the Monadh Liath to the Angus Glens that you realise just how extensively these things augment the footprint of their parent Munros, Corbetts and/or Grahams. And nowhere is this clearer than the Monadh Liath, where an apparently sparse population of Munros (triangles), Corbetts (five-pointed stars) and the odd peripheral Graham (six-pointed stars) suddenly spawns a family of endless Corbett Tops (diamonds) and Graham Tops (double diamonds) virtually smothering the area between the Loch Laggan road, A9 and Great Glen:

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So where do I stand on potential completion of this lot to go with my full set of Munros, Munro Tops and ex-Munros/Tops? Let’s take the full Corbetts (of which I’ve currently done about a quarter) as a given and possibly the Grahams (of which I’ve done far fewer) as well. Have to do at least some of the Corbett Tops to restore the original Corbetts with between 450ft and 500ft prominence, but after that it starts getting more difficult. In SMCJ 2010, Robin Campbell writes that:

It has become fashionable now to classify mountains purely in terms of summit height and net drop. […] However, Corbett aside, it has not been been our way.

And continues to argue in favour of drop-and-distance-based ‘separation’ methods as applied by Donald, (originally) Graham and (presumably) Munro. But Corbetts are Corbetts (whether based on the established 500ft drop or, as Campbell now believes Corbett intended, 450ft), so you have to tick those to be a Corbetteer. Likewise the Grahams (if ticking them) at their official 150m drop. But then I’m with Campbell in believing you can’t define worthy peaks by drop alone. Somewhere between the broad brush of those 500ft/450ft/150m drops and the 30m now accepted as defining their respective Tops you’ll find many attractive or interesting peaks that beg to be climbed and many less distinct ones that don’t. So the pragmatic thing is probably to do the Tops that either take your fancy or sit logically in/with rounds of the ‘full’, 150m-prominent peaks (and here it’s so useful to have the lot plotted on the map), though some have gone much further… like Ken Whyte and Iain Thow (both of whom I coincidentally know), who’ve amazingly done all of these and more in completing the Simms!

So why play the ticking game at all when some of the targets may not be that ‘worthy’? No doubt (and here are two good reasons from sound experience) it takes you to places you’d not otherwise have gone and gives you new perspectives on ones you know. On which note I thought I knew the hills after a lifetime spent among them, but really I don’t… ’twas all just vanity, though I’m not yet sure how well I want to know the Monadh Liath! :-/

15 August 2015

Corbetts, Corbetts and Corbett Tops

Filed under: Walking — admin @ 8:54 pm

Clockwise round of Glen Galmadale in Morvern today when I ‘should’ have been on Coll… bastard start through deep vegetation, ditches and holes in the ground where the SMC ‘Corbetts’ book merely says ‘climb steeply’, but lovely, gentle ridge to get back to sea level as nicely as anywhere! And, for the second walk in a row, I saw no-one else on the hill…

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So why the apparent duplication in ‘Corbetts, Corbetts and Corbett Tops’? Well, apart from the Corbetts and so-called Corbett Tops (not listed by Corbett), there are also, um, Corbetts, with some 20-odd of Corbett’s list subsequently deleted for failing to meet the guessed ‘Corbett’ criterion that Corbett never actually specified. And, with Robin Campbell’s convincing research now pointing towards a prominence of 450 feet rather than the established 500, I’ve clearly got to do at least some of the Tops to make sure I’m getting all of Corbett’s Corbetts. But why stop there when 450 feet’s almost as broad a brush as 500 and there are clearly worthy peaks and mountain places meeting neither? For sure, adding the ‘Corbett Tops’ of Corbetts and Munros at 30m prominence triples the number of straight Corbetts, will take me back to some Corbetts and Munros I’ve already done and take far longer than just the Corbetts (probably already logistically more awkward than a straightforward Munro round), but seems in keeping with my already-achieved Munros/Tops/Deletions completion and probably (pending getting them plotted on my mapping software to evaluate properly) what I have to do. On which note it’s maybe also worth pointing out that today’s round takes in a Graham (no, I’m not collecting Grahams or Graham Tops… yet!) in Beinn na Cille, two Corbetts in Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn and a Corbett Top in Maol Odhar. So Corbetts, Corbetts and Corbett Tops? Hmmm…

Might also offer a quick update on the cheap boots to say that today my feet got wet and stayed wet. Whether through the boots or down my trousers and socks I’m not sure, but it’s largely academic when my feet stayed (as they do in trainers) as comfortable wet as dry in these. And when you compare £35 boots to £16 return on the Corran Ferry for a day out (or a pair of these boots to half a tank of diesel when I relate everything to tanks of diesel!), that rather puts things in perspective!

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13 August 2015

Cheap boots and bunions

Filed under: Walking — admin @ 10:40 pm

No, it’s probably not what you’re thinking! Not cheap boots blamed for bunions, but in this case given credit for accommodating same in some comfort…

I’ve had this stupid bunion playing merry hell with an already (naturally) abnormal right foot for many years. It’s now eight years since my doctor told me it was a question of ‘when, not if’ I got something done about it, though he did also say that ‘might not be this year or even this decade’ with the podiatrist simultaneously advising to maybe ‘wait till your athletic career [his words, not mine!] is over.’ The same podiatrist who devised the wonderful 8°-sideways-sloping-squint-Achilles-correcting insoles I’ve not run without since and told me he’s rarely seen feet like mine ‘in someone so active’. So the bunion (which doesn’t really like any footwear) has had this particular ‘hate-hate’ relationship with mountain boots, rock shoes and true hill running shoes (which I’ve long rejected in favour of do-it-all trail shoes) for years and, having now said I’m done with (serious) racing but still seriously frustrated by things on my feet, I’ve finally made an appointment to discuss it again with the doc. Tomorrow.

And the cheap boots? Well, I’ve already got three decent pairs of mountain boots I rarely wear (like only when I absolutely need them for winter climbing etc.), wanted something lighter/softer now and had doubts about spending money on quality when things may change again if we decide to get it fixed and will certainly still give me pause for thought if we don’t. So I was making this west-to-east tour of the Fort William outdoor shops on Monday to check out Cotswold etc. on my way to Nevisport and Ellis Brigham when I found these really cheap Karrimor boots (Mount Mid 7 at £34.99) at Field and Trek that really fit. So I bought two pairs, reckoning them as ‘disposable’ at the price as the more expensive trainers I trash on a regular basis. Then got home to discover that 1. you can get them online for £23.00 from Karrimor or SportsDirect (so how can they make them for that and, perhaps more disturbingly when I’m guilty of buying them, what poor devils are slaving away to do it?), 2. the soles might wear really quickly or fall off (which I could have guessed), 3. they might or might not stay ‘Weathertite’ (which I could have guessed), 4. some folk have ridiculous expectations at this price (sending back for refund after nine months’ wear and tear… really?) and 5. others were complaining about them fitting small for their size whereas I found completely the opposite with a Euro 45.5 being perfect where I’d normally take a 46 or 46.5 in most things (NB UK size seems right at 11.5, but oddly equated to Euro 45.5!).

So how do they perform? For me with my feet (but not necessarily you with yours), comfortably on a Tuesday wander along the central spine of the Mamores from Na Gruagaichean to Stob Ban and again today (Thursday) over the three ‘Auch Glen’ Corbetts of Beinn Odhar, Beinn a’ Chaisteil and Beinn nam Fuaran. For sure, the grip’s no more than adequate (poor on smooth, wet rock, but what’s not?) and there’s some visible sole wear already (like enough to see they’ve been used, not falling apart!), but so far so good on the ‘Weathertite’ thing with my feet staying dry on ground that would have quickly soaked trainers and even allowing me to splash through puddles and ankle-deep burns. Beyond that, I have no great expectations. If they last for a few weeks of regular use it’s probably money well spent. For now. And sometime I’ll probably still be looking for some better-quality fabric boots with better sole units (like the Vasques I bought in San Francisco in 1997 and subsequently loved to death), but not with the bunion question unresolved one way or the other. And that’s mostly what I meant to say here, despite now taking a late dive into some non-news with the old observation that Beinn Odhar looks for all the world like Beinn Dorain’s little brother from some angles (notably from the road), and just about remembering to add that, while I saw some folk on the track (all but one on the parts where it’s West Highland Way), I saw precisely no-one on the hill all day! ;-)

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9 June 2015

Meall Gaineimh misses the mark

Filed under: Running,Walking — admin @ 8:41 pm

It was Noel Williams who alerted me to the proposed remeasurement of Meall Gaineimh on Ben Avon just days before my scheduled 601-top completion with a 6 May email jokingly asking ‘A spanner in the works????’ So naturally we agreed that, as the Munro Society’s last (and presumably lowest priority) ‘heighting’, it was unlikely to be a serious threat, but I still found myself responding to another email from Dave Hewitt about my Fisherfield post with…

Not too chuffed to discover about the proposed remeasurement of Meall Gaineimh on Ben Avon just before (specially as someone who’s actually done all the tops, deleted tops and sundry other tors of Ben Avon) but not losing any sleep over it either… doubt it’ll make the height and, even if it does, it’ll take weeks to ratify so the worst case scenario is finishing the existing list in good faith and becoming subject to the usual rule of making good changes ASAP thereafter. That said, if I hadn’t crocked myself, I might just be nipping up there first to make sure! It would certainly be a worthy Top as the natural NE terminus to that ridge, but I also clearly recall looking at it from East Meur Gorm Craig and being thankful I didn’t ‘have’ to do the out-and-back!

On which note you’ll realise I’m still somewhat relieved to hear today through a tip-off from Graham Kelly that it’s measuring at something like 913.6m, so (subject to ratification from the OS) 0.8m short of the magic height:

Exclusive: Meall Gaineimh – A New Munro Top?

No doubt at all that the SMC would have given it ‘Top’ status had it measured up and that it ‘deserved’ to be a Munro Top. But I’m glad it’s not, despite the intrinsic comment there on the daftness of this whole game. I’ve already been to that 930 spot height on Big Brae and various other points (unlisted tors and things) as ‘insurance’ and can visit Meall Gaineimh (top right corner of map) sometime if I want to, but it’s not getting the chance to spoil things for me now!

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31 May 2015

6-0-1!

Filed under: Walking — admin @ 9:45 pm

Not sure quite how long ago I decided, but it’s certainly some years (and umpteen Munros) since I moved from thinking ‘how come I’ve never climbed Slioch?’ to ‘I’m saving that for last!’ And what better peak for the job when you’ve already run out of candidates within a couple of hours drive of home and a major ‘singleton’ with one of everything (Munro, Top, Deletion) has to be the perfect finish to an ‘all-time’ round of everything that’s been listed in Munro’s tables? So Slioch it’s been going to be for so long, and now Slioch it was (yesterday) with my 601-top round complete…

But did it work out quite as expected? Well, no, because for starters it was so nearly scuppered by that little accident on the way into Carnmore four weeks ago (on which note I might confess to wearing the Hokas yesterday for their swelling-accommodating space and comfort rather than hill-going qualities!). And the smart idea of meeting my clockwise Slioch Horseshoe racing friends as we tackled the round anticlockwise to get Sgurr an Tuill Bhain (Top) and the trig point (Deletion) on the way to that final Munro rather came to nothing as a combination of slow progress in somewhat trying conditions and an unexpected race diversion meant we missed almost the entire race field at the summit. As well as the ‘much finer’ view from this more northerly vantage point, though we can blame neither our lack of pace nor the race diversion for that! But there were compensations, like being able to share my bottle of The Singleton (Spey Cascade) with the Scots/Norwegian party who arrived there more or less simultaneously with our magnificent seven. And the belated clearing that at least gave us some decent views of Beinn Eighe on the descent. And the ‘Compleation’ certificate presented (along with a bottle of Prosecco for our dinner party) by the hugely welcoming Andrew and Gail Staddon at the Kinlochewe Hotel, with photo taken by Andrew joining the others on their board of Kinlochewe completers by the time we got home today! :-)

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So to everyone involved, including (but not limited to) Andrew and Gail and some of their guests (thank you John Irvine for the drinks, and hope you finish your Munros on Beinn Sgulaird this year!) and my small, but select, summit party of Jamie Bankhead, Lisa Corse, Anne MacRae, Marie Meldrum, Angus Duggan and Andrew Johnson, what can I say but thank you for helping to make a special occasion even more special and an iconic peak even more iconic (to me!)? Still not sure how I feel now it’s all ‘over’ because it still feels oddly ‘wrong’ to have none left to do but, hey, we had a great time and…

Slioch done:
6-0-1! :-)

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17 May 2015

Balancing act

Filed under: Climbing,Cycling,Music,Running,Sailing,Walking,Work — admin @ 5:32 pm

Something I posted to Facebook a few hours ago that really deserves a more ‘permanent’ place here where anyone can read it. Facebook ‘friends’ can also read some nice responses over there. :-)

A strange tale of work/life balance, life/life balance, running, racing and depression…

As many of you know, 2015 was to be my last West Highland Way Race (with all the commitment that entails) before getting back to other things like fixing up the boat and doing more climbing. So I wanted to do well with 2014’s PW (personal worst) my main motivation for this final, final go. And my usual, slow-burning training build-up was starting to work with 22 modest running days on the trot through late January and early February before breaking the cycle for a windswept walking traverse of the Maoile Lunndaidh group and continuing more sporadically into March as frequently staying late to work with hitherto over-casual pupils started to mess with my routine and mind. At which point I found myself in the grip of a proper depressive episode (remember that ‘breaking point’ post?) as I saw no way of reconciling my work and play needs to provide the necessary platform for that satisfying final race and became angry knowing that the ‘prior’ claims of work would leave me forever feeling cheated here. But then my new boss told me I must run, to get home prompt one day and get straight out running, and we both agreed that running is the solution, not the problem (for which thank you, Rebecca!). After which I ran 40 from 46 days (proper runs!) through to that walking accident on the path to Carnmore and could have been looking at a respectable performance after all with a ‘big May’ to come. But now it’s all gone without killing off the Munros/Tops completion, I’ve been ambushed by a surprising sense of peace. In simultaneously really wanting and really not wanting to do that race again, it had *still* been getting me down, and it’s only now it’s gone *with work absolved from the blame* that something’s become clear; while running is still the solution (and will be again when the injury’s had some more recovery time), racing is part of the problem. Which is why there’s no going back on that ‘last year of running races’ thing despite the loss of the race that’s probably meant more to me than any other, and why you’ll *never* see me grace the starting line of that race again. It wasn’t just my work/life balance that was wrong but my life/life balance too, and the inexplicable accident that had me reduced to despair the night I did it has now proved to be the most effective depression cure yet!

If you got this far, well done, and thanks! :-)

15 May 2015

Braced for Slioch

Filed under: Running,Walking — admin @ 10:44 pm

So another visit to the doc today sets up tonight’s pithy Facebook response to last week’s Fisherfield piece:

Backslab off, brace on… Slioch *on*! :-)

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Now of course things are a bit strange and stiff after 10 days in a cast, but Chris seemed pleased with my range of movement, stability and walking demos. And I’ve got a fortnight to get sorted for a single Munro when the untreated ankle survived five Munros and a Corbett the day after demonstrating a degree of ‘flexibility’ I didn’t know it had, so think that’s a pretty green light!

6 May 2015

Fisherfield through-trip and backslab

Filed under: Walking — admin @ 6:50 pm

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I was with Noel when I did it, except that I wasn’t with Noel. He’d dropped me off to start along the shorter, northern leg of the Kernsary Circular Path because I’d be continuing east after A’ Mhaighdean while he’d be cycling down the slightly longer, but infinitely more bike-friendly, southern leg because he’d be coming back out west. But here I was, heading into the remotest hill terrain in Scotland on Sunday night, in trainers but carrying boots, axe etc. as ‘insurance’ against conditions on the high tops, not yet two miles off the road on a section of path so straightforward I could have been walking down the street, when my right foot suddenly, inexplicably folded inwards with an ominous grating sound…

So what to do next? I knew it was bad from the foot angle I saw, sound I heard, rapidity of swelling and pain that had me briefly howling. But my phone was in my rucksack, who knows where Noel’s was or where he was, perhaps we both had a signal and perhaps there was none. Without the Fisherfield round there’d be no Slioch on 30 May and I wasn’t coming back for it next weekend or the one after if I was hurt, but the pain was rapidly easing, I thought ligament damage more likely than broken bones (so who heads into Fisherfield with either?), and perhaps I could walk to Carnmore and discuss the prospects there? So I did…

Except that some four or five miles later things started to get pretty sore after all and by the time I’d crossed the causeway on the approach to Carnmore I was in quite some distress. But Noel appeared (coming back to look for me) to give me a shoulder along the track to the barn and, after an episode where I had to first sit and then lie on the path to avoid passing out, we were there… 10.3 miles from the nearest road and about four hours after my accident.

So that was that. I’d willfully pushed on more than eight miles into the ‘Great Wilderness’ with an obvious injury. The Fisherfield through-trip was over, my scheduled, sociable Slioch completion was over (because I couldn’t get Fisherfield first) and there was a high probability that Noel would be heading back out in the morning trying to arrange a chopper to fly me out. Damn, damn, damn!

But then the Monday morning ‘miracle’ as I awoke to an ankle that, while still horribly discoloured and swollen, could be weighted almost normally, had regained a substantial range of movement from its ‘wooden foot’ self a few hours before and, above all, didn’t hurt. So I tried a little walking around, thought it was worth a ‘look’ now we were here and suggested to Noel that we head for Ruadh Stac Mor and A’ Mhaighdean (the peaks he’d come for) prepared to turn back if I was wrong. Except that I’d better carry my full pack anyway because A’ Mhaighdean’s near enough halfway to Corrie Hallie (sort of 15 miles to the road either way!) and I might as well finish the job if I’d got that far. And, since he could see I was both ‘OK’ and not joking, he bought it, and off we went up the superb stalker’s path east.

First batch of photos courtesy of Noel Williams (sorry I didn’t get any of you because I hadn’t got my camera out!):

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So normally I’d be banging on about the breathtaking wild country, with the forecast morning showers clearing quickly enough to give us a good whiff of the fabulous prospect west from A’ Mhaighdean (widely held to be the finest summit view in the country), and dedicating a lengthy blog post to how the wilderness via its western approach is absolutely everything it’s cracked up to be. It really is that good! But there’s a twist to this tale yet and, since I need to get on, another short sentence (what, short sentence? from me?) or two about that particular journey will have to do. In which case what happened next (after parting from Noel on the summit of A’ Mhaighdean) can be summarised as finished the fabulous Fisherfield round, particularly enjoyed the fine little rock peak of Sgurr Dubh at the end of the annoying dogleg to pick up the two subsidiary Tops of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair (this is not a short sentence, is it?), and was finally reunited with Noel at Corrie Hallie in near dark some 14 hours and 21.6 miles after leaving Carnmore. Which might not impress in ‘mph’ terms, but wasn’t exactly hanging about on rough, rough ground with an overnight pack on my back. And not meeting a single soul (bar Noel) all day!

Second batch of photos by me:

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2015-05-04gleannnamuice 2015-05-04beinnachlaidheimh1

2015-05-04beinnachlaidheimh2

So… Fisherfield done, Slioch ‘saved’… what next? I had work in the morning and we were going to be hideously late home, but that ankle still really needed checking just in case. So whether to stay with Noel in Torlundy, phone work and head straight to casualty in the morning or get home, go to work and phone for a doctor’s appointment from there? Well, since I was walking fine and felt duty-bound to do the latter, I headed straight home. But then made the mistake of photographing my ankle and posting the pic on Facebook. After which, just as I was planning to head out in the morning having already let the normal ‘let us know’ time go, a strong consensus seemed to be rapidly emerging to ‘get that checked out… now!’ So a change of heart and sheepish phone call later and I was driving back up the road to the Belford. Three hours and much examining, prodding and X-raying later and I’m waiting with a ‘backslab’ (non-weight-bearing partial plaster cast) on my ankle for my boss to rescue me and another to drive my van home. But the people at the Belford know the score (as will my own doctor when I see him on Friday) and I agreed to this backslab thing because it’s temporary and they assured me it was giving me the best chance of getting to Slioch after all. For sure the doctor there suggested most people wouldn’t expect to be up a Munro four weeks after their ligament pulled off a chip of bone, but I told him I’d already done five Munros and a Corbett on it and am not ‘most people’. I’m letting the West Highland Way Race go because it’s the one thing I’m prepared to let go to make everything else right, but still more than hopeful of walking up Slioch on 30 May (remembered this morning I’ve got poles I rarely use!) and running at least part of Marie Meldrum’s Celtman support on 27 June if I’m ‘allowed’. And my doctor will understand that. He knows what makes people like me tick and might not even be that surprised to hear that I just walked 30 miles through the Fisherfield Wilderness with a technically fractured ankle. On which note the bottom line is that I’ve done 598 of my 601 ‘all-time’ Munro tops, the three remaining (one Munro, one Top and one Deletion) are all on Slioch, and I’m both OK and going to be OK!

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