Log 21 July 2013

ARDGOUR SUNDAY 21 JULY 2013
 
(Hot and Bothered in Ardgour- when the record for most water consumed on the hill was shattered.)
 
Hills climbed, forming the Garbh Bheinn horseshoe: GARBH BHEINN OF ARDGOUR (Corbett, 885m), SGORR MHIC EACHARNA (Graham, 650m), BEINN BHEAG (Graham, 736m).
 
Total Distance: 12km (approx.)
Total Ascent: 1,250m (approx.)
Time: 9hrs 15m
 
IT would turn out to be one of the hottest days of the year, but was murky and cool when Robert, Malcolm, Jeremy, Phil and Donald left Milngavie just after 7am.
Weather brightened and temperature rose as we travelled north.   Driver Donald had a couple of Marilyns planned elsewhere in Ardgour, so dropped the others at the bridge over the Allt Coire an Iubhair a little after 9.30am.  There wasn’t a cloud to be seen and it was already over 20 degrees.
 
We headed east straight up to the Druim an Iubhair ridge.   Ground was bone dry with long grass and very steep.   The heat made it heavy work and it just got warmer.
After an hour’s weary plod we met two women doing the horseshoe clockwise – they’d started at 5am to avoid the heat.   Obviously they’re a bit smarter than us.
We never saw anybody else for the rest of the day.   Obviously everyone’s a bit smarter than us.
 
In blazing sun it took three hours to reach the first summit.   From there, it was a steep descent to the bealach before an equally steep ascent to the next top.   The heat by then was relentless - it was another hour before we made the summit.
Frequent rest and water breaks were needed.
Most of us wore shorts which, although the sight of peelie-wallie legs wasn’t pleasant, did help.    Malcolm, though, persisted with trousers and opened all his zips halfway.
He told us this was “venting” that “provides a cool airflow”.
It’s doubtful if this would stand up in court as a defence for indecent exposure but, as it was now nudging 30 degrees, we gave him the benefit of the doubt.
 
Another steep, mostly grassy descent took us to Lochan Coire an Iubhair, which had almost dried up.   After another break, it was straight up Garbh Bheinn.   It was very steep with the odd, wee rocky section, through which it was easy enough to pick your way.
 
Another rest when we eventually reached the corrie before easy scrambling up the east side to the ridge and summit.
On such a clear day, the views were superb. The flat top of Ben Nevis dominated the east, and the Glencoe hills beyond the Spean Bridge looked amazing.
 
Through distant haze, the Rum Cuillin and the Sgurr of Eigg could be seen, as well as Ben More and the sea cliffs on Mull.
Robert, Jeremy and Phil had never been in the area, so it was a perfect day to visit. Apart from the temperature.
Malcolm’s probably been in Ardgour dozens of times but was very patient in climbing Garbh Bheinn yet again.
We followed the Garbh Bheinn ridge back to the walk’s start. With plenty more water stops it took roughly two hours. It was fairly easy going with a couple of steepish parts and more minor scrambles.
 
Donald was already waiting, snoozing in his car when we arrived at about 5.45pm.
Water tally: Robert 4.5l on the hill and another 1l at the car; Jeremy, 3.5l, Malcolm, 2.5l, Jeremy, 2.5l – including 0.5l of dodgy-looking water with bits in from a burn; Donald 2l. Total: 16l!
 
We all agreed that, even without the heat, this was a challenging walk.
A well-earned pint was had at the Corran Inn before the ferry. Despite an emergency “comfort” break at Tyndrum – beer on top of all that water comes at a price – we made it back to Milngavie for 9.15pm.
Report by Robert Wight