Mission to Loch Lochy

Adam Archibald has a bad habit of talking me into ridiculous ventures that involve hardship, danger and having to get out of bed early – the latest being his scheme to meet at Tyndrum at 6.30am for an outing on Meall na Teanga and Sron a Choire Gairbh. It’s evidence of his persuasiveness that I don’t normally get out of bed at 4.30am for anything less than grade III climbing and even then, you need to dangle a couple of stars in front of me to make it a sure thing – this boy don’t come easy – but he’s a silver tonged devil, and not even the prospect of 60-80mph gusts and a yellow alert for impending heavy rain were enough to keep me snuggled up next to Mrs P.

The problem with my resolve is that we inevitably have a good time, although this particular outing was creeping close to ‘Type 2″ fun as I found myself flattened onto my hands and knees near the summit of Meall na Teanga. Although the cairn was tantalisingly close, we briefly contemplated an about turn, as any wind that can put the combined beef of Adam and myself on the deck is not to be trifled with, but Adam opted for a exploratory crawl towards the top before the wind subsided and we could both get to our feet and get behind the minimal shelter offered by the summit cairn. As a precaution, we both added an additional pork pie to our internal ballast before braving the wind again, this time dropping down the side of the ridge slightly to avoid the worst of the battering. I spent a good portion of the return trip down the hill mentally berating myself for neglecting to bring my poles – rookie error given the forecast wind speed, but once into the bealach between the two mountains, we were sheltered from the force of the wind and had a straightforward trot back down the track to the woods above Loch Lochy and the forest road back to the car.

One of the advantages of the early start was that we made it back to Tyndrum in plenty of time for a quick cake stop and planning meeting in the Real Food Cafe, before going our separate ways with a fresh list of ridiculous ventures agreed for the coming months, most of which seem based around opportunities for Adam to use his Tricams – now all we need is some snow…