Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Scotland Part Seven ~ Munro Baggin

Well I had finished the West Highland Way and my intention was to go back to Glasgow and have a nice relaxing rest.  I would be headed to Germany for a week of relaxation and good food and coffee and was really looking forward to it.

But I wasn't quite through with Scotland yet.  Davie, who had picked me up in Ft William the day before had over-nighted at a hostel at the edge of town and I at my less than comfortable hotel (the Guisachan ~ if you can help it, don't ever stay there.  The double rooms might have been fine, but as you might recall, I was stuck in a broom closet near the fire escape.  Although I will admit, the breakfast was very tasty and the staff was nice enough to even bring me some towels, which they had forgotten to put in the room, when I asked for them).

I was looking forward to the drive back down along the A82 and reminiscing about the places I had seen over the last few days on foot.  Davie, however, wanted to go hiking.

So as we passed through the area of Glencoe (or "the Glen") and looked at the peaks, I kept saying to Davie, "Well, I guess I could get out and stretch my legs for a bit."  I was looking at the peaks and thinking to myself that none of them would be an easy jaunt.  We filled up our water at the local climbers lodge and changed into hiking clothes.  We proceeded down the highway and stopped not at the area where I had first scoped out a possible hike (I think the presence of the bagpiper drove Davie away from this location), but rather to the peak that I swore I would not climb.
Bouchaille Etive Mor (the Great Heardsman)
and Stob Dearg (Peak on Left)
Back on Day 4, as I climbed up the Devils Staircase, I had looked across the valley and seen a huge peak and ants marching in a line up to the top (people).  It seemed to be a very busy, popular peak and did not look easy by any means.

But when Davie and I started out up the steep trail I somehow found my legs and my strength.  The large stones in the trail were like stone steps:  very consistent hiking and I soon found a nice groove.  All my complaining about how tired my legs were after completing the 100 miles of the West Highland Way in the last 5 days seemed like sandbagging ~ I dusted Davie to the pass.

At the pass.
Views to the southeast from the pass, Glen Etive lies below.
Self portrait on the pass.
Views to the north from the pass ~ the Devils Staircase
and Ben Nevis clearly visible in the distance (center, left)
When I got to the pass, I set the camera out for a few timer shots, and took a few headshots as well.  I started looking up to the peak and guestimated that it would probably only take another 20 minutes or so to get to the top.  I waited for Davie to catch up, and he gave me a bit of a hard time (well-deserved, I assure you), for leaving him down on the trail.

View of Stob Dearg Peak from the pass.
After a snack, we finished the last bit of climb, which was probably only about 15 minutes because for some crazy reason I felt like I could actually run part of it!  Haha.  I had totally found my strength.

View of the Rannoch Moor from the peak.
Davie and I arrived at the peak and visited with some of the folks on the top.  A couple of guys from England took our photo together.  I can assure you that although Davie may look as though he is scowling, he is smiling on the inside.  It was an absolutely gorgeous view all around, and he pointed out a lot of the peaks and surrounding geologic markers.

View out to the west, past Glencoe in the gap is the sea.
The darkened hill in the middle I believe is Bouchaille Etive Beag ~
the Little Shepherd.
Another view off to the north.
Me and Davie at the peak.
We cruised back down to the car together, and had pretty smooth driving until we hit the outskirts of Glasgow which is not surprising for a Monday at rush hour.

We stopped at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel on the way back and I got a piece of cake and a coffee and I think Davie got a Shandy (never did Davie drink so many Shandies as when he traveled with me, I think... ).  It was a nice little pick-me-up treat that held me over until dinner (anticipating with apprehension).
Bridge of Orchy Hotel where we stopped for refreshments.
Davie fed me some scotch whiskey before bed which I will admit made me feel a bit ill the next morning, but I can't imagine turning it down as it was a celebratory drink after a fine day in the Scottish hills.

Off to bed at a decent hour... because I would be traveling to Germany in the morning.

On the day ~ Bagged Munro Stob Dearg via Bouchaille Etive Mor (the Great Herdsman).  4.75 miles, 2,500 ft elevation gain, moving time 2hr 25 min (elapsed time nearly 4 hours to enjoy the views).  Amazing day.  Looking up the wiki on the peak, it is quite famous and I feel fortunate that Davie talked me into having the energy to climb it.


  1. That's too funny, that even though you just finished 100 miles, he wanted you to use your legs even more to climb a huge peak...and then you still dusted him!

    Gorgeous views!

    1. He knew I was strong enough to do it! I just needed a little push, and I'm glad he pushed me. It was 360 degrees of amazing views and a lot of fun.