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Friday, June 03, 2005

Taking An Teallach By Strategy - Day 2

More rain, horizontal. More wind. More mist.
I drove east towards Inverness and just beyond Garve found marginally less rain, vertical, less wind, less mist. So I turned into the carpark at the foot of Bwen Wyvis, determined to get in shape for An Teallach. Some committee of aspirant Munroists must have rounded up The Usual Suspects. Two portly, middle-aged bearded Yorkshiremen puffing cigarettes were struggling into state-of-the-art waterproof clothing. If anybody had thought of marketing a Goretex cigarette holder, they'd have bought it.
"It's getting a bit crowded here," one of them bellowed in response to my greeting. I looked around. Apart from us, the carpark was deserted.
"Didn't you know," he went on. "There's rain forecast. Coming in from the south. At ten o'clock."
"Splendid," I replied. "I've arrived just in time."
He scowled and sucked on his cigarette as I walked past.
The next four hours were that salutary thing that everybody should experience at least once a year - a thoroughly bad time on a wet day in the Highlands. I'm sure the moss-carpeted, dotterel-nested ridge of Ben Wyvis, all two miles of it, is a splendid thing in bright sunshine, the perfect lookout for viewing the peaks of the Fannaichs, and An Teallach itself, to the west. But the hill needs galeforce winds, temperatures of 5C and visibility of 10 metres to give it a certain character. Which is not something you could accuse An Teallach of lacking in any conditions.
When I returned to the car I realised that every single item of waterproof clothing, at the wrong end of 7 or 8 years of gleeful abuse, had failed to do what it said on the label. So that's the equipment tested.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Eleanor said...

What to do? I discovered myself wet through me waterproofs recently as well, this after a hike through a coastal forest and up a 355' sand dune. When I removed the waterproofs it looked like I peed my pants; at least it amused my officemates.

4/6/05 1:20 am  
Blogger Nick said...

The least of the last two days' dramas. On return from the hill, I managed to lock my car-keys in my car. Ever tried getting a locksmith out on a Satruday night in north-west Scotland? A highly entertaining evening . . .saved by a Mancunian from Loch Carron called Peter. I owe him . . .

4/6/05 10:20 pm  
Blogger RenMan said...

what you need is a 5inch grinder. Sheems like this is becoming a habit

5/6/05 12:27 am  
Blogger Nick said...

Yes, I'll have to take to carrying one round with me - though Peter-the-Mancunian broke into my car in a more orthodox fashion - i.e. one that would have been recognised by inhabitants of Sarf London as good style.

5/6/05 8:03 pm  

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