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Monday, 3 March 2014

October Smash-and-Grab (4)

As I headed ever upwards, I turned back and saw the most spectacular inversion, with the whole of the Rothiemurchus forest swathed in cloud whilst I enjoyed clear visibility all the way up the arrete between Coire Gorm and the Lairig Ghru.

It wasn't to last, however, and I entered cloud at about 1,000 metres. This was a tremendous shame. To have had another 300 metres before the cloud base was all I needed. Had I had it, I should have had the most spectacular views from the summit of Braeriach across Coire Bhrochain and the Lairig Ghru to Ben Macdui. There were occasional moments when it felt as though the sun might yet break through ... but it did not. And so I arrived at the summit in 20 metre visibility. I sat and ate my lunch in 20 metre visibility. And then I began my descent once again.

I was back at my tent at about 4.30 and I did wonder about striking camp and returning to the Youth Hostel. But it had been an early start and a big day on the hill, and I was worn out. So I just collapsed happily into my tend, and was soon fast asleep.

The next morning I was up early, and soon regained the road at Coylumbridge. I didn't feel like walking the roads so I just put my thumb out, and had a lift in about 35 second flat. That's a record for me! Before long, I was once again aboard a train heading South. A weekend and a day's annual leave had given me a spectacular day on the third highest mountain in Britain - one I shall not forget in a hurry. But I want those views ... and some day I shall return for them!

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