Moruisg

So this year’s run of Munro bagging commenced by climbing Moruisg. The forecast predicted the best weather would be in the west of Scotland and the route was relatively short, so I could get a proper night’s sleep before and hit the road well-rested. It took me about 2.5 hours to get to a layby where I parked my car, geared up and headed out to the hills. I expected the initial (and the final) stretches of the walk to go through muddy and wet grounds, and it genuinely lived to its infamy. I was really happy to have my boots well waterproofed and gaiters on.

I crossed a burn via a wee bridge, and then underneath the train track – the passage there was made for dwarves. From here a muddy, wet and at times faint path led gently up towards a distant ridge. Imperceptibly the higher up I went the drier the path became. Less imperceptibly the slope steepened up; I felt that in my wobbly legs, quickened breathing, pounding heart and slowed pace. As it’s often the case, the ridge turned out to be a false one; when I got there I saw another, a bit gentler slope, leading to another distant ridge. I was making slow progress, and at one point my long-sleeve shirt was too light to keep me warm. Firstly, I put on a fleece, and when I eventually got to the ridge (the real one this time) I had to put my jacket, woollen hat and goggles.

Hiding behind a cairn from a cold and strong wind I had my sandwiches and hot tea from the flask. I didn’t linger with my lunch, yet I was quickly losing the feeling in my fingers. I pulled out from my rucksack a balaclava to protect my face and mittens to keep my hands operational. Wrapped up well I walked along the ridge westwards with the top of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean (a Corbett) in my crosshair. Walking downhill was easy, though made a bit trickier by the gusts of the unrelenting wind, pushing and trying to unbalance me.

Climbing up Sgurr nan Ceannaichean turned out to be easier than it had appeared from the distance. A path leading up wasn’t covered with snow, so very soon I reached the top, which in fact was a relatively short ridge. I went to the southern tip of it, and it was surprisingly calm there. But in two minutes’ later everything returned to normal: strong and cold wind. I had to climb down along the same path, and a couple of hundred yards from the bottom of the top, in front of two other hillwalkers, suddenly I had cramps in my right leg. It was painful and I couldn’t move. It was embarrassing (the climbers) and worrying (I was up the hill and far from the safety of my car). Thankfully I managed to sort things out and could continue downhill.

The descent could have been a piece of cake if not the sideway wind. It was so strong I had to lean to my right against the wind in order to stay upright. For that reason, it was the most difficult part of the day. I expected the wind to ease with me going down the hill, but it was not to be. The wind was pushing, shoving and battering me all the way down to the bottom of quite a steep gorge. There, sheltered from the wind, I could rest by the stream, and then walk along it towards my car. Overall it was a very good day out, and – fingers crossed – the beginning of a good hillwalking season.