Sunday, 31 July 2011

Flying visit

David came home for the weekend on Friday and the forecast looked good for yesterday, so we thought it might be nice to pop up a big hill with our three children that walk. It was decided to return to Cairn Gorm for a second and hopefully more successful attempt, so off we went.
There were clear blue skies and blazing sunshine when we left home, but there was some high cloud when we arrived at the National Park. No matter, it was high enough not to obscure the views. We were actually a little tardy yesterday and didn’t leave much before lunch, I shared in the children’s disappointment  that we didn’t nibble on a sandwich before we left the car. At least we were able to park in the top car park this time and there would obviously be no snow to plough through, which made the going a whole lot easier.
SDC12199 The unmissable path
SDC12201Without hesitation, so David wasn't quick enough to catch me!
Ok, the stream is neither wide nor deep, but the rocks are set quite wide apart for those of with shorter legs!
SDC12203  A rest break looking towards Meall a’ Bhuachaille
SDC12204Toiling upwards
We toiled upwards, it was a warm day with a surprising lack of a breeze all day.  The couple ahead that we had been playing leap frog with peeled off and took the cliff edge path, Ciara and I thought we’d prefer a more gentle ascent, taking the path that goes towards Ben Macdui, then cutting across to the Stob Coire an t-Sneachda path at around NN983 011. We were really able to truck along on this easy part of the walk and were chuffed to be eathing lunch at the Stob when the couple that had taken the high path came down and past us again.
SDC12210 Really trucking along
Then it’s a case of picking your own path through the boulders for a while before a more obvious path once again becomes clear to the foot of Cairn Gorm.
SDC12215 The new Paramo, briefly deployed over lunch
SDC12218No path
SDC12219Why is Conall going the wrong way?
It’s good to know that when you get to the foot of Cairn Gorm, it’s just a short burst of steepness before you reach the top. It was even better when there was a faint path to follow through the boulders and then we were there!
SDC12221Path again for a while
SDC12232    The weather station
SDC12234 The boys are not that tall!
There are cairns marking the route off the top. Lots of cairns. A ridiculous amount of cairns! There’s also a horrible ‘tourist path’ down to the The Ptarmigan, then we took the main track from there. It just about killed my knees at this point, I even had to resort to Ibuprofen, which is rare for me (I’m not supposed to take it…) but we could see the car in the distance and the thought of a cold drink and an ice cream spurred us on.
SDC12235You might not be able to work out the ridiculous number of cairns
SDC12236  Horrid path!
SDC12225View towards Loch Avon
SDC12237Views towards the car and Loch Morlich
The boys both got a headache, with Aedan particularly this can lead to difficulties, but they both mentioned it in time for the paracetamol, crisps and extra fluids to be distributed with no further issues. Ciara struggled, but persevered, so was very proud of herself in the end. I was hot, a really hot thing, but not as unfit as I’d expected, considering the almost complete lack of exercise since the end of May. I’d remembered to strap both my heels to protect the new skin there after my humdinger of a TGO blister and had no problems at all. The only other mishap was accidently clicking the disc in one of my hand warmers whilst administering first aid to the boys. Oops!
So, that’s four for me and two for the children.
All in all, a good day! Around 8.85 miles, 2683 ft ascent, 2mph average 4 hours 21 minutes walking, 1 hour 47 minutes resting.
When I dropped David at the station at lunch time today, I discovered a sale. At an outdoor retailers. I found myself inside said shop, admiring a pair of Merrell Chameleon Arc Mid boots. They were £20 cheaper than the pair that I ordered online (from the same retailer) that are on their way. (They are coming with a pair for Aedan, the price of which was unchanged) So, I bought them and I’ll return the other pair when they get here. Comfy they are too!
SG103225New boots!


Laura said...

Everything a girl could ask for? And NEW BOOTS!!!

Louise said...

This weekend was a good weekend. (Well, apart from the bit on the station, I'm never going to get good at that!)
Let's just hope these boots are better than the last pair I returned! Just noticed they match the Paramo. Oops!

Gayle said...

Interesting looking at those photos. I've only been up there in deep mid winter and it all looks so different in summer!

Alan Sloman said...

Gear Monster!

Nice walk - it's great that you can get the family up there. That's quite important, really...

Phreerunner said...

Just caught up, Louise. You have been busy! I've thought of introducing my grandson to geocaching - I did a bit a while ago and found just one cache. I've a bit of time to practice as he's only 14 weeks old!
Enjoy breaking in the new boots!

Louise said...

(OOoo! Feels like a bus station!)

Gayle, it was quite amusing. David was giving us directions as to what to expect as we went along and it was nothing like, because the last time he was up there he was being snow-blasted! There were footpaths and everything he had no idea of.

Alan, me, Gear Monster? Nooo.

I've got a really short gear list at the minute...

I suppose it's a good success rate, to be able to get three out of four children out walking. I live in hope that by not forcing Rhiannon to do something that at the moment she hates, she'll eventually discover it for herself like I did. Mind you, she likes shopping, I like The Mouse.

Hi Martin! Takes a while, all that catching up! If you have the patience of a saint, which I suspect you do, you'll both love it (in a couple of years maybe!) It's the things you find while you're hunting for the elusive small plastic box or 35mm film container that makes it intersting, we've found tail-less lizards and all sorts.

Alan R said...

Nice walk Louise.
The kids will be pinching all your gear soon.

Glad the blister held up and you had a lovely day.

Louise said...

Funnily enough Alan, Aedan has pinched a pair of David's walking boots and uses a Golite Jam rucksack that I was given and Ciara uses another of my old daypacks!
It was a grand day.