So close, but still so far! In week 10 the girls noticed the hard way that the end of summer is in sight. Libby wrote:
This week has been our hardest so far. Possibly not physically, but certainly mentally. The weather took a turn for the worse and we had to visit and revisit route choices to ensure we could do them in high winds and to ensure we would be able to cross all rivers, many of which are in spate. The week started with a rest day, driven mostly by a horrific weather forecast although in retrospect I think we also needed it to recover after the Cuillin. In climbing terms the Cuillin was technically easy but the sheer amount of it made it mentally exhausting. We had a lie-in then had lunch in a friendly little cafe in Loch Carron. On Monday evening Lisa’s parents (our support crew for the week) arrived and settled in to van life.
On Tuesday we were joined by one of Lisa’s friends, Sam. We mountain biked a few kilometers along a track then attacked Bidean a’Choire Sheasgaich, Lurg Mhor, Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr a’Chaorachain & Maoile Lunndaidh. The first two were felt a long trudge in, in fairly horrible weather (the classic Scottish combination of rain, strong wind and hanging mist) but the weather fortunately improved as the day went on.
On Wednesday we walked to Torridon over Beinn Liath Mor, Sgorr Ruadh & Mail Chean-dearg. We were treated to brilliant paths but another day of rain and wind.
We were very happy to check in to Torridon YHA on Wednesday eve, we managed to fill the drying room with our many wet clothes. Unfortunately the weather showed no sign of improving, the forecast for Thursday was very high winds and 90% chance of heavy rain all day. We had planned a long day for Thursday but having sewn the forecast we decided to revise it and just pick off Tom na Gruagaich & Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin) and Spidean a’Choire Leith & Mullach an Rathain (Liathach). We woke on Thursday morning to rain hammering on the hostel roof and trees swaying wildly outside… And decided to reduce our route even further, sprinting out into the grim weather to just bag the two munros on Beinn Alligin. Our choice felt justified when were battered by wind on top and careful navigation was needed in the thick hill mist.
Friday brought a very very welcome break in the rain and a dip in the wind speed and we bagged the two Munros on Liathach and the two Munros on Beinn Eighe (Ruadh-stac Mor & Spidean Coire nan Clach). We further cycled on to Kinlochewe. We treated ourselves to a brilliant breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe on Saturday morning which fuelled an ascent of Slioch (a beautiful mountain with great views) and then a cycle on to Achnasheen to bag Fionn Bheinn (a boggy mossy lump!) we then cycled to the bottom of Ben Wyvis where some family friends of Lisa’s joined us for the evening.
On Sunday the wind had picked up again. We climbed Ben Wyvis but struggled to stay upright on the top! We then cycled on towards Braemore Junction and managed to bag Am Faochagach too. We’re hoping the weather improves next week!