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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The 2010 Challenge, day 10; Glen Tilt to Spittal of Glenshee (6)

The path ascended steadily beside the stream, easily at first and then getting steeper. Then it levelled out as it reached the bealach.

Although the map shows but the one path here, there are in fact many: for all around are Munros, and list-tickers naturally want to link them all up. So the obvious routes up and down all have their paths, and I saw many walkers coming and going along these.

My path turned across the Southern slopes of Mam nan Carn, and it was here that I encountered my one and only snow field of the crossing, blocking my way. Fortunately it was not much of a block, being more or less on the level and crossed in about three strides, if that. It did not hold me up for any significant length of time!

Beyond the snow field, however, I had a decision to make. My planned route would take me over Glas Tulichean, and there was a well-defined path turning back South by which I could climb the remaining 250 metres to the summit of this, the third Munro of my planned route before descending South and down Glen Lochsie into Spittal of Glenshee. My Fowl Weather Alternative route took me by way of Loch nan Eun, and then down Gleann Taitneach and into Spittal of Glenshee.

The weather was good and clear. The summit of Glas Tulaichean was clear. There was no need to use my Foul Weather Alternative route. However, I had had a big day the day before; my legs ached; and contemplating that 250 metres of additional ascent I decided that, today, it was just that little bit too much. I was here on the Challenge, I reminded myself, and the object of the Challenge is to get from Coast to Coast, NOT to climb Munros. Yes, if you can knock off the odd mountain or two along the way, there is no reason why you should not. BUT if it comes to a choice, if a sacrifice has to be made, if it comes to a choice between doing the mountains or finishing the crossing - well, it's a no-brainer, isn't it? You favour the crossings over the mountains.

And so it was that I decided to skip Glas Tulaichean and continue to Loch nan Eun. Maybe, if I hadn't had to go into Perth to replace my camera, maybe then I would have had it in me to tackle that additional 250 metres of ascent. But as it was, well, all I wanted right now was to get down to the Spittal and have a bath and a meal and a nice warm bed for the night!

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