New Heights

My first Munro Bagging experience…Glas Maol & Creag Leacach 18/12/2016

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An early start and two cars convoy drive to the start point for 5 of us. This my very first Munro challenge, an opportunity offered by some other lovely enthusiastic walkers I’d met who encouraged me to come along and most thankfully supplied the transport to take me. 
As we drove into the mountains towering around us I felt the enormity of the task I’d set myself up for! Feeling part anticipation, maybe a little nervous excitement and just totally awestruck at the amazing feeling of being in the middle of this beautiful remote destination, one I had never experienced before.
Gaiters on, bag & bits all sorted and we were off…making our way along the initial section beside the stream was a little challenging but I managed to scramble along the dodgy footholds and got more confident as I went. This type of walking was new to me, so just took my time as the last thing I wanted to do was fall, get injured or end up soaked this early in the climb! 
After that section I felt much happier, just steady climbing after that, quite steep in places but that I could handle with the help of my poles for extra leverage and balance.
The cars parked at the start point began to grow smaller and smaller as we ascended up and up, the views of the mountains more and more expansive and breathtaking, small amounts of snow dusting the landscape in places or unmelted piles still dotted about. 
Nearing the higher grounds approaching Creag Leacach was much more bouldersome and rocky, another type of surface to navigate and get used to walking on. Much colder now as we reached this level into the sky, cloud inversions below us in the valleys creating a landscape so beautiful all around us, what a feeling, quite magical really. 
And so there it was, the Craig of rocks that was to be my first Munro summit! The whiskey dram was shared in swigs by us all as we toasted our conquered journey to the top.
A hop over the rocky ridge away out of the wind provided a warmer spot for us to stop for some food and refuel, I’d never eaten lunch above the clouds before, what a view! 
All packed back up again after that short breather we then continued on along the ridge down and up again to the next summit of Glas Maol, and that was Munro no.2. bagged! That was it, I was already hooked! 
The journey then continued on along the ridge and we began our winding descent. This part was where I was slower than the others, the climbing I found okay, but the way down just a bit more challenging, more nervous of a fall, slipping and the knees being punished in a way they hadn’t before, so just took it a bit easier until we got to a last section where we came to a track that wound down to the left swinging us back towards the cars that we could now see getting closer again.
One of our crew decided to jog a little and I joined in, partly just in triumph that I could now put one foot firmly in front of the other confidently and jumping for joy at the elation of the achievement I’d just made. 
The rest of the journey down was relatively straight forwards, rambling through the grassy mounds cutting across towards the start point. Then it was boots change, clean socks and into the cosy vehicles for the drive back and a stop off for a nice cup of warm tea/coffee. 
An experience I will always treasure, thankful to the souls I met that day for creating the memory and sparking a new passion in me to keep climbing. The start of new goals and aspirations, I was now a officially a Munro Bagger and there were another 280 still to go…this journey will most definitely continue… 

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