Today was quite an apt end to the week. I had already been turned back twice for one reason or another by A’ Chailleach, and it felt quite personal by this point.
Fortunately there was a group of nine other people who came on this walk. I expected a battle, and although the hill put up a fight it was too little too late.
We hit A’ Chailleach by the route we had descended from Coire Dubh on Tuesday. Making a beeline directly for the Stalker’s hut, straight up the slopes in to Coire Dubh.
Although I found this hard work on very tired legs after the previous week, I just knew that I would win today. Before long we were at the bottom of a snow field with about 100m of ascent straight up to the 930m summit. It was nice and clear, the sky was blue and the wind still. I looked up to the top and said ‘I’m coming for you’.
Racing up the snow field, it did not take me long to get up on to the top and find the cairn. By the time the second half of the party had arrived on top some ten minutes later we were in a massive whiteout with winds in the region of 60mph driving a blizzard in. This was an absolutely unbelievably fast turn in the weather from one extreme to the other, as the photographs depict. This turn in the weather put paid to any secret ambitions that I had to tackle Carn Sgulain that day, but the important one was in the bag.
The descent was pretty unreal. We descended off the North West slopes of A’ Chailleach and contoured back around it. I had been pleased by the terrain on ascent, much of the snow from Tuesday night having melted away. Coming back down much of this had been replenished, and again I found myself falling waist deep into hollows in the ground. It was good fun today though, whereas on tuesday it had been a bit like rubbing salt in the wounds. We were back at the hotel for about 14:30, and able to pack up before tea.
The return journey took about 8 hours with stops at Hamilton, Tebay and Sandbach. It was with a very heavy heart that I left Newtonmore on Saturday morning. Although we had only been there a week it felt so much longer, and walking into work on Monday felt pretty surreal.
In terms of pre trip ambitions I didn’t get near what I had set out to do. With retrospect I am very happy with what I got in to the week. I am quite surprised that the walk I enjoyed most was probably up Creag Liath, which was absolutely fantastic. So until next year…..