Tuesday, 7 October 2008


The golden hills: Cona Glen back in January

It's that time of year again. The dazzling greens and blues of summer are dimming into their autumnal golds and browns. The deer grass and Molinia are dieing back, painting the hillsides bronze and the heather is reverting to its drab winter grey. Whats more, its drizzling, and the clouds are slowly rumbling down the glens. For me, this is a time of change. It's the one period of the year when I'm not totally champing at the bit to seek out dry rock or frozen water: it's running season.

The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) is but a few weeks away, and spare time is now spent as a lycra-clad fool stomping up and down the hills in a last-ditch bid to claw back some fitness after a summer's cragging. It's a great way to herald the changing seasons, and one of the few times of year when I actually am happy to go into the hills without the notion of climbing things. Pathetic, eh?

Fortunately for me, my work up at Forsinard has come to an end so I'm back in Fort William and surrounded by as good a training gym as any hill-runner could ask for. On sunday I took myself out, making use of the improved Lochaber knowledge I gained from the black grouse surveying I did in the spring. I parked at the road-head (what a fine Americanism) in Glen Loy and trudged up onto the ridge that marks it's northern boundary, following it down into Glen Mallie and then up onto a snow spattered Gulvain. From there I dropped onto the northern boundary ridge of Glen Mallie before crossing the glen (obligatory river wade) and crossing a low col back to Glen Loy and the car. The whole run was set to an eery soundtrack of lowing, roaring, belching and howling, as the stags prepared for the imminent rut. All rather haunting if you ask me.

If the weather aint too shite I'm hoping to do the classic Grey Corries ridge traverse this coming weekend. Fingers crossed.


In other news, I was pleased to hear from the man in the know, Andy Nisbet at the SMC, that Chris' and my routes at Culfern hadn't been previously recorded, so we got ourselves the first ascents. Sweeeeet.

Another gratuitous photo from Culfern: Chris on Run For Cover (HVS 5a)

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