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Tower Ridge Birthday party

Date: August Bank Hols 2010
Submitted by: Keith Monaghan

Went to Fort William for bank Holiday with Sandra, Sam and the Sandra Kennedy , (MIs latest pin up), who having heard of my recent promotion to “Skye guide”  was keen to get a few mountaineering tips.

I had previously given a lesson  in self rescue technics  having danderred  off the side of a wee hill in Torridon and was keen to show  Miss MI 2010 that my navigation skills had improved somewhat.  The conversation on route to the airport was off classical music, Shakespeare and Oscar winning films unto Mrs M asked “Where does the Wizard of OZ come from “. Sam being embarrassed by his mothers statement rolled his eyes in true teenager fashion,  plugged in his eyepod and switched on some weird noise now called music apparently.

In Glasgow, we were given a free upgrade from an Astra to a C Class Merc and were in the Smiddy Bunkhouse in Corpach by 00.30.  9am start and we headed for Spean Bridge and the Grey Corries. On route up the Lairag Leacach track in the middle of nowhere we came across a 5 ft painted wooden carving of “the wee minister” which was so lifelike it had us all fooled and as we approached I told Sam not to laugh at this person before realising it wasn’t real.

 Apparently a minister used to stand on this site and preach,  he probably only managed to convert some deer and the odd wildcat as there was no human settlement for miles.  He did however bear a slight resemblance to wee Willy McCrea.

Long slog up onto the Grey Corries ridge in poor vis but as we reached the summit of Stob Coire na Ceannain the skies cleared to reveal the fab views from Ben More on Mull to the Cairngorms. Lovely traverse over this spectacular ridge which would be an exceptional winter trip. 8hrs 3 Munros and 3 tops.

August 29th was Sam’s 14th birthday so to ensure he had a full and enjoyable day we got him up at 7am and marched him up to the CIC hut at top speed on a cold damp misty Sunday morning.  The plan for the day was Tower ridge and after circumnavigating the Douglas boulder I let Miss MI 2010 take the lead as I was sure she couldn’t get lost on such an obvious route. We all roped up and moved Alpine style. The scrambling was great fun and as we reached the Eastern traverse the cloud was slowly clearing. By the time we reached the gap we were in sunshine and  providing the entertainment for loads of pointing tourists on the plateau on a charity day out.  Miss MI 2010 lead down into the gap and Sandra and Sam followed. The gap  has a “bit of an atmosphere” and required a few "non elegant" down climbing moves much enjoyed by the other 3 who were just below me.  I climbed through and brought the team up the other side.  We were soon on the plateau and Sam, who was rightly smiling like a Cheshire cat and kept his harness and helmet on as we followed the crowds to the Summit.

3 hrs from the boulder to the top then the long walk back to the North face car park in bright sunshine and dinner in  the Grog.

Monday we headed to Glencoe and a long enjoyable haul in bright sunshine to the top of the remote Sgurr na h Ulaidh (try and pronounce that in a Derry accent) Fantastic views and hot sunburnt 6hrs later we were on route across Rannoch moor trying to dodge the deer and dozens of nutters on the motorbikes.  Big traffic jams on route up the side of Loch Lomond starting at the aptly named Firkin Point but we got to the airport in time for last flight home.  All very tired but great trip.

Hope in a couple of years Sam will drag me back up Tower Ridge in winter!

01 Sep 2010

Good stuff! Em danderred off a hill? Lashings of ginger beer all round... I think not. More like unannounced base jumping. Oh as "Miss MI", I just want world peace.

09 Sep 2010

Well done Sam. Not many 14 year olds can claim Tower Ridge!

09 Sep 2010

Mind you, I've seen Keith looking better.

Photo of Route
The Wee Preacher meets Miss MI 2010 - two sandra Sam and a wooden christian