1. Took Friday off and, after dropping the kids at school, went in by Asda and bought hill food.
2. Had food ready to go and my bag packed before I went to bed.
3. I'd only a vague idea of where I wanted to go but I thought I'd head up the A9 and stop wherever.
4. Up with the lark and out the door at 7:40am
5. Zoomed up the A9 and parked at Balsporran by 9:30. (OK, so I overshot and ended up in Dalwhinnie but I was bursting so a quick visit to the public loos was in order anyway).
After the requisite faffing about with my pack, map, food and a quick coffee and a banana, I was off by 10am and heading for Geal Charn (gyal chaarn). The sky was a beautiful cloudless blue with a bit of a chilly wind but the way ahead was clear and the path was good. An hour later, I was on the summit, sharing the shelter cairn with two lovely wifies from Glasgow.
Geal Charn from A'Mharconaich
Glasgow folk are great and, even for an anti-social git like me, easy to talk to. Turns out this was their first outing in an age as well. We sat for a bit, comparing the view to the map and agreeing that it was an altogether fantastic day to be out on the hills. A couple of older guys that I'd passed on the way up ( I was ready to say "hello" but, as I drew level, they stopped and turned their backs to me) arrived and, please forgive me Dear Reader, I ignored their greetings. And their request for somebody to take their photie. I know 2 wrongs don't make a right but how much effort does it take to say "hello" FFS? OK, I know it gets a bit wearing on busy hills but I met six people all day. No need.
That was the ladie's cue to leave, followed shortly by the IB's.* I lingered for a bit, taking a few photies and absorbing the atmosphere.
The Ben Alder group of hills.
After about 20 mins I was up and heading for A'Mharconaich (a varkaneech). I caught up with the ladies on the lower slopes but I found myself slowing down to let the IB's stay ahead. I was passed by a hill runner (Cheery "hiya's" were exchanged) and then I was on A'Mharconaich's broad ridge. Dawdled for a bit taking photies and the off towards the summit. When I got there, the IB's were ensconced in the shelter cairn so, after some mutual ignoring, I went downslope a wee bit and found a nice wee spot out of the wind. Hung about there for about half an hour, eating Samosa's and grinning like a loon.
Then it was a case of heading downhill, stopping occasionally to look back at where I'd been.
Looking back at A'Mharconaich
The descent path went from stony, to slippy, to full-on bog-fest but it was still enjoyable. Met one guy on his way up and again much pleasantries were exchanged. Actually, I met his dug first; a big Chocolate Lab that stopped to say hello and get a bit of hand-licking in. Back at the car by 2pm, sunburt and elated.
I hope I can keep the momentum going here because it felt good to get my "game face" on and get out there and do the thing I love.
*IB's = Ignorant Bastards