Silence and magic on Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean

I'm away on the TGOC, but I thought I should mark the occasion this year, as I failed to last year.  This Blog is two years old today.  Thanks all for tuning in, I hope it's been fun so far, I can't speak for you but I've learnt loads, so tar!


I had around 6 hours of light to play with, and a round lined up.  Down to the car park at Polldubh Falls, the first one, not the second, and overkeen out of the gate, I start up the track next to Allt Coire Mhusgain.  A little too quickly, but I soon find some proper pace once over the first crest and into the upper bowl of the glen proper.

A few trees, some gentle growth here, a quiet glen, a tumbling fall of water.  The odd couple, friendly walkers, coming down as I go up.  And water, the stuff of life.




I have had a busy weekend full of people.  It was hard work, and some fun, but I need to recuperate, charge my cell for more tomorrow.  This is where I plug in; right here.  I am not at all apprehensive, this is quite normal now, it's home.  I'll admit to enjoying a new feeling of confidence - able to grab time between two appointments, getting to know my limits better.  This wasn't possible before, when I lived hours from the hills.  It'd be arrogant and wasteful not to relish it.



It starts to gently snow as I reach the bealach.  Barely there, so soft it falls, then gone for a while as I ascend towards the high crest of Stob Ban.  The rock changes to  a chalky white, the petrified back of a monster arcing high above me.  Wormsign!




At the top, a little chill only just beginning, then the snow is back, and the hush descends.  Calm.  Weather is incoming on Ben Nevis, but only gentle pellets fall here.  We are blessed, you and I who come up here.  Not everyone can, even if they were to choose to.  I eat chocolate and don layers against the cold graupel beginning to settle on my baselayer.




I descend to the ridge and the beginnings of the red rock that gives Coire Dearg its name.  I am so charmed by the quiet, gently falling snow and low wind that I forget how far I still need to go.  The ridge is quite long given the time of day, and there are many distractions.




The top of Mullach nan Coirean is broad and flat, with a giant cairn.  Loch Linnhe stretches out long and far on the left.  The graupel stops falling now, the shower has moved away onto the eastern Mamores.  The weather smears the outline of the tops, the colours mute as the sun dips to the horizon behind me, pastels and ochres.  This quality of light doesn't happen anywhere else in the world, it is unique to Scotland - the here and now.  I am quietly falling head over heels up here in the north.




Off the north east ridge, its 8pm already.  Time to go.  Olive green scree flanks my right.  The descent is steep.  Sometimes I even run a little.  Not a boast - I am not a runner, this is a total surprise to me.  I handrail steeply down with a high deer fence on my right, then through native woodland to a clear fell desert, then a broad track through sitka plantation.  A little more running, just for a minute or two at a time, air fast in the lungs, amazed at what my body seems to be doing.  What goes on?



Light, oxygen, water, altitude.  Food for country kings and townie beggars, and enough to make one become the other.  That's what.