We made it to Scotland! After a couple of days in Edinburgh we headed up to the Scottish Highlands for a week’s stay in the Glencoe area. It is incredibly beautiful here and being the highlands there are plenty of ‘hills’ to climb.
We found a great website called Walking Highlands which has descriptions and maps for walks for all over Scotland. It’s broken down with ratings from one boot up to five, one having ‘no special difficulties’ and five being ‘tough by hillwalking standards… very arduous…most strenuous Munros.’ What’s a Munro?
A Munro is a mountian in Scotland over 3000ft (914m) and are named after the first man to to record and list all of them, Sir Hugh Munro. Munros can be found all over Scotland but as you can imagine there are a lot in the Highlands. Calling them hills and hillwalking is a bit of an understatement!
We all consider ourselves to be in decent shape and felt a medium difficulty one taking a few hours would be fine. We picked this one, Buachaille Etive Beag, a three-booter which would take 5-6 hours if you did the whole thing which included two Munros. It appeared to be a popular one as well, there were 86 user reports/reviews on it, none of which gave harrowing or frightening descriptions. Seemed like a nice walk.
And it was, for about the first 1/4 of it. Nice and easy incline on a well worn path. But we could see what was coming, a pretty steep ascent up the side to this saddle between the two Munros.
Not going to lie, it was challenging. More challenging than I thought it would be. It’s a pretty steep pitch which rises quickly. We had pretty near perfect weather conditions (for Scotland) for the climb too. Sunny, fairly clear, and warm with a nice breeze. A great day to see the views all around from up top. You really feel like you’re ‘in’ the Highlands looking around at all the tall peaks, deep and long glens and get a healthy appreciation of why this area was a good place to hide out.
In the end we only did one side of the two and the up and back trip took a good 4 hours. The descent was very tricky and was the one thing which actually gave me some concern when we were going up. I can see why climbing these in the the winter can be very dangerous. But it was a very rewarding climb and rare day out in the sun for us (been cloudy and drizzly since). Anyway, take a look, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Very good vacation so far!