Nearly a fortnight into the school holidays and, after wall-to-wall term-time sunshine through June, we seem to have had little but wind and rain since (sure, I chose to live in Lochaber, but…). So it’s been getting really quite frustrating when I’m wanting to get out for some refamiliarisation with the Grey Corries and Loch Treig peaks but struggling to persuade myself to go charging off on long, remote, solo runs in horrid conditions (although I’ve got a Loch Treig round with Jon pencilled in for the weekend that may have to go ahead regardless). Which makes a great run snatched from the most unpromising of days all the more precious, and that’s exactly what I got when the rain started to look like clearing this afternoon…
Now, my original plan (once I’d decided it was going to be another local run) was to get up into the Mamores again to re-evaluate the options currently under consideration for Na Gruagaichean and Binnein Mor, but I’d hardly been going a mile before this wee voice was telling me it might be good to take in Binnein Beag and Sgurr Eilde Mor as well. So, after considering telling the wee voice to get stuffed because I wasn’t carrying any food, of course I did! And here are the things I really want to say about my four-hour blast round the eastern Mamores:
- The ‘short cut’ skirting the NW top of Na Gruagaichean is basically a counter-productive ‘long cut’, taking Jon and me about six minutes on Saturday when I took the stonkingly good path over the top in about four today.
- The descent from Binnein Mor starting by the east ridge and finishing down the ‘green line’ of yesterday’s blog post is definitely on, with this way taking me some 20 minutes to the lochan where we took more like 25 on Saturday (although I’d think the direct route by the north-east ridge is probably still quicker in ascent).
- As usual, I lost the path (but probably little time) coming back down Binnein Beag!
- My new thumb compass (Moscow 3L) is a winner on days like this for the easy speed which it brings to checking the correct route off cloud-shrouded tops.
- My unused, spare pair of Mizuno Wave Harriers that I’d been saving but needed to try before the big round are perfect straight out of the box.
- I’m pretty happy with averaging 17:19 mile pace round a meaty 13.9 mile/6,400 ft course like this… despite just missing a four-hour completion (4:00:44) after arriving at the old gateway at the top of the An Cumhann path with exactly 12 minutes left to get down (which I’d have done but for the deep summer bracken ruling out the direct route down the bank behind the house). But, with cracking splits of 1:22:24 to Na Gruagaichean, 0:20:12 to Binnein Mor, 0:33:40 to Binnein Beag, 0:49:02 to Sgurr Eilde Mor and 0:55:26 back home, it would seem churlish to complain!
For the interested, the second map is captioned to show:
- Saturday’s ‘short cut’ on Na Gruagaichean.
- Today’s route over the NW top.
- Saturday’s descent by Binnein Mor NE ridge.
- Today’s descent by Binnein Mor E ridge and ‘green line’.
- Saturday’s re-ascent of Binnein Mor.