TAC 28: Aug-Sep96

TAC 28 Index

Year of the Blanco - Part 3

Roderick Manson bags on, not with Great Dodd but with Ken Dodd

June: My annual two-week Highland bagfest, an uninhibited orgy of hyperbagging, based at the now sadly defunct Druimorrin Caravan Site near Muir of Ord. It's all very well bashing your pan in on a myriad miscellany of mountains from dawn to dusk, but at night one should rough it in comfort, regardless of the effect on street- or ridge-cred.

Things again did not start well: low cloud in Torridon forced a retreat to Meall an Fheadain near Achiltibuie where the cloud was even lower. A long-heralded midnight-to-midnight walk came to an abrupt halt on Little Wyvis, where cut toes forced a plasterless return to an iced-up car. The rest of the day was abandoned to a loose approximation of golf, an activity at which my score traditionally matches my temperature (or would do if I had malaria). A round of the Morven hills south of Wick (including the superlative Maiden Pap) was somewhat delayed by not finding a petrol station open until Wick itself, umpteen miles north of the intended starting point.

Strange but true: the seats of Wick Academy FC - visible from the main road - formerly languished in Ibrox Park before being rescued and transferred to a more socially acceptable location.

Meantime, I had to rush a bit to reach Inverness in times for 3+ hours of Ken Dodd. I can't believe it: no Munrobagger jokes, no OS or SMC references, and yet the man is still funnier than Jimmy Macgregor. (Which isn't saying very much - shocked and disillusioned Ed.)

Then the weather got warmer for Suilven, a pity given that I was still dressed for unseasonably cool climates. Hill of Nigg turned out to be a glorified cattle field - big ugly aggressive beasties. (I'd hoped you'd finished writing about Ken Dodd - Ed.) As for Fuar Tholl (plus associated Munros), the only consolation for sod all views was not getting knocked down walking along the West Highland Line.

A nine-top traverse to the north of Loch Mullardoch was rewarded with splendidly clear views. It would have been nice had they arrived before I got down to the loch shore for the return leg along a variation of the "When is a path not a path?" conundrum. Nothing daunted, I dived directly into a frenzy of numero-obsessive mini-Marilynbagging, a burst of impromptu enthusiasm ending abruptly at Torr Achilty where the hydro dam proved stubbornly impassable without ropes and a competent lawyer, whilst the path along the river from the north degenerated into a hyper-inactive tangle. It will doubtless come as a shock to TAC readers that said track does not usefully extend as far as our revered OS says it does.

July: Started with a short jaunt up Blath Bhalg before my annual waddle round the Ponds. In accordance with tradition, after a rather fast if overheated traverse from Tarn Crag to the Kirkstone Pass, some weeks passed before Blanco deleted Harter Fell, following on from 1991's Baystones. I'll forgive him if he can find it in him to promote Beinn an t-Seilich (near Cairndow). It's becoming personal.

I followed that with a series of miniatures (sort of a six-pack) south of Edinburgh, getting thoroughly soaked twice and formulating Manson's Twelfth Law of Mountaineering: it's sod all use to have a goretex if it's in the car and you are on top of Black Mount when the rains come.
93 for 7.

TAC 28 Index