TAC 27 May-Jul96

TAC 27 Index

Year of the Blanco - Part 2

Roderick Manson continues his mixed bag of hills, football matches and weddings:

April: Off to a good start: a 1-0 win at Arbroath by the pride of Dingwall preceded by an amiable amble up Turin Hill. Easter Friday was fairly memorable - for the overnight in the back of the car beyond Machrihanish, for a breezy dawn raid on Cnoc Moy and The Slate, for the sinuous, plunging demi-nightmare of a road to Beinn na Lice and for the experience of Blanco's famous Bastard (see TAC18, p11). Less so for the notoriously mobile summit of Beinn Ghuilean, or the virtually impenetrable Forestry Commission abomination of Sgreadan Hill - I can see Ed salivating from here. (Too right - arborophilic Ed.) Arran was notable for vast bogs on Tighvein, short-but-badly-placed cliffs on Mullach Mor (I refuse to accept the blame for nature dumping them in the wrong place), a dry ascent of Beinn Bhreac (strange but true) and a tennis ball in the heather halfway up Creag Ghlas Laggan. After that, I'm not sure which was worse - picking my way through acres of fallen-tree debris to get up Crock or the wedding disco which followed. Last tip from April: if you're thinking of taking the direct route from Meall na Fearna to Ben Vorlich, don't! It's bloody steep and no fun. Still, it's better than meandering through the mass of heaving decrepitude at the tail-end of a fell race on the traverse from Stuc a'Chroin to Beinn Each, particularly when most of that mass can still move faster than you.

May: If you're looking for Saturday bags of new Marilyns, a good way not to achieve this is to traverse the Cuillin ridge from Sgurr Thuilm to Sgurr Dearg, as it hasn't got any. If you think I'm queuing for hours in freezing winds for another jaunt up the In Pinn, dream on. Murdo can have my go. So a desperate jog up Arnaval in fading light ensued while my boringly sensible brother had a bath at the Slig. Another golden rule is that if you've got tickets for the Scotland the What farewell tour at night, friends with dodgy legs and an anatomy even more fragile than your own should not be taken up such a mighty peak as heather-strewn Meall nam Maigheach, gorgeous views notwithstanding. And they should definitely not be allowed forty-minute showers afterwards. Perhaps a traverse of Sgiath a'Chaise followed by a short-but-significant detour to avoid two geese which had already attacked a party of four walkers might be considered sufficient retribution ex machina. 46 for 5. Things are looking up a bit.

TAC 27 Index