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First things first, apologies for the lack of posts over the last few weeks – a long trip to Scotland gave me loads of new ideas for blog posts, but those photos ain’t going to sort and edit themselves!
The last post I published (see post #320) was a goodbye to my long-time mountain buddy, Border Collie ‘Mist’, but as well as still being with me in spirit on my mountain trips, she’s also still there in cyberspace – I have a couple of posts in the pipeline featuring ‘Mist’, so be prepared to bump into her a few more times.
We often manage a couple of campervan trips to Scotland in a year, and 2022 was one of those years. We were up on Skye by late April, with the weather OK and no midges (they were not due to appear for another six weeks or so). The new van had been out on a few ‘shake down’ trips during March and early April, but if the van was new, ‘Mist’ was starting to show her age (14).
In May 2017 we had hiked up into Upper Coire Lagan on a fine and sunny day (see post #225). The upper corrie gives a taste of the grandeur of the Cuillin Ridge without having to risk serious injury or worse, so it suited me missus just fine – the photos above give an indication of just how magnificent the mountain scenery is.
The new campervan made a comfortable base for the trip, and the old dog was up for a mountain day, despite her age and a touch of rheumatism. The problem with Border Collies is that they will try to do whatever you ask of them, and I wasn’t about to ask ‘Mist’ to do a return trip to the high corrie. Instead, we headed out towards the massive, complex cliffs of Sron na Ciche, to a place I knew from my early climbing and mountaineering days.
Back in the 1970’s, I climbed there several times with a bunch of mates, one of the best outings being ‘Cioch Direct’ followed by one of the routes up the Cioch Slab to the impressive rock feature of the Cioch itself. Our ambitions on today’s trip were much more modest – there is a stream crossing below the cliff that would make a great spot for a picnic, where I could view the climbs, and ‘Mist’ and me missus could have a nice, undemanding day out in the mountains.
I sometimes take the picnic bit seriously, and on this occasion carried stove and brew kit. Lunch being over, ‘Mist’ was still looking good, so rather than return by the outward route, we cut across around the small lake of Loch an Fhir-bhallaich for a change of scene. I had never been that way before, nor had I ventured up into Coire na Banachdich, the corrie to the north of Coire Lagan. We decided that Banachdich would have to wait for another time, as I didn’t want to give ‘Mist’ too strenuous a day, so we continued heading down, with the impressive waterfall of Eas Mor (the ‘Big Waterfall’) as a backdrop. It was time to head for home.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock, with the exception of the image of the Cioch © John Wray, which is taken from the Geograph Project and is reproduced under a creative Commons Licence.