Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Border Hills Repel Southern Interlopers

That was the header of an email that Ian Shiel sent to the weekend's walkers. As Ian put it:

Aye Lads, "Sent Hame Tae Think Again"!

I must confess for time of year snow conditions were almost as bad as I've known them. Perhaps in 1963 things were still as bad in April and certainly worse even though I only have vague childhood memories of it and a few family photos 1947 but as Croydon would say "that were a 'ard winter."

Ian had also provided transport for His Holiness, the Incredibly Irreverend Dave and a wonderful selection of bottled beers (ooh the Black Douglas was particularly gorgeous and the Belhaven 80/- wonderfully drinkable) for the dejected party. It was great to see an all round great bloke in such fine form.

IMG_2013Saturday afternoon

IMG_2019View from Wanda, Saturday evening 

As I have written previously, we had planned to depart on Monday morning at 7:00am - which had meant a 5:30 wake-up for me. I have no idea why - it just does take me that long! The night had started below freezing and drop-dead still and we are inside our tents fast asleep before ten on Sunday night.

During the night however, all hell was let loose, with Wanda getting a damn good thrashing with grapeshot and winds like a camel-collapse. I slept fitfully and was mightily relieved when at about six in the morning I heard Mike having a conversation, between his beard and the splattering rain, with Phil, the nub of which was that we were throwing in the towel.

Quite right too: The idea of struggling over twenty miles against that dreadful maelstrom with snow and mud chucked in for good measure was not one that filled me with the joys of spring.



IMG_2028(You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger)

Obviously, the three pictures above are from Sunday - but you get the idea about the snow.

So staring defeat in the face, we sploshed into Tibbie Shiel's Inn for a great breakfast and a warm welcome to arrange transport home. This is a great pub and we will definitely go back there, just for the warmth of the reception.

Poor Dave had managed to get away from all his duties tending to his flock only to have to return home with just a drink in the pub and a wild night out on the shores of a loch. Still - the walk will still be there when hopefully the snow and shocking weather will have gone and we can have another stab at it.

Thanks must go to Mike for organising a great break - albeit one which we, quite rightly, abandoned!


  1. Splendid stuff! Delighted to see that Lord Elpus retained his impeccable sang-froid in the midst of drifts.

    Word (true! true!) = menswoli

    It just doesn't get any better than that . . .

  2. Hump3: It doesn't get any better than seeing Phil disappear with a "Gwaaaark!" as he plummets.

    Of course, you had to be there...

  3. You gave it a go. Well done. Snow melts and you can go again.

  4. I like that first picture of Monet with Toulouse Lautrec - what were they doing up there?

  5. I never realised what short legs Lord Elpus has!

    Thanks to all of you for the trip reports. Great reading!

  6. I hope you'll have better weather during the Challenge. 4 weeks from now I'll be on Skye with my son, less snow on the westcoast I suppose.


    Word = moria (enough said)

  7. It looks like everybody walked behind Lord E and let him fall through the drifts and the rest take avoiding tactics.
    Would that be a correct assumption?
    Like the pics and the post.

  8. Excellent stuff.
    I thought the title would be 'The Hardest Ten Miles of My Life', or 'Defeated by Lord E's New Stabiliser Boots', or similar, but Ian's header was excellent.
    Looking forward to the reconvened trip...

    Word = 'recering'- will be.

  9. What a trip!
    Hope you're all lying down now in darkened rooms..........
    I am wondering what May will be like???

    (word 'phordle' - highly appropriate!)

  10. Martin: I am sure we will have another bash at the walk - it's an absolute classic. I hadn't realised how wonderful this bit of Scotland is - always bypassing it on the way to the Highlands.

    Anon: You are right - both paint pictures, but with words.

    Judith: We had to have his expensive walking trousers altered. But yes. He does indeed have very short legs!

    Theo: I hope so too - we are knocking off a couple of Munros on Day 2...

    Alan: Spot on Sir. If he had had longer legs it would have been no good at all as they would have sunk deeper in the snow which would have meant the followers would have had more work to do.

    Martin: Phil is, apparently, in danger of losing the soles of his boots, such is his fearsome plodging pace.

    Laura: I am currently eating lots of chocolate from my Easter Egg. Just replacing calories burnt, you understand.

  11. A great read Al & I particularly like the pic of Phil up to his armpits in the white stuff!

    All the rain since has washed a lot of the snow away, so, shall we go back now!?

  12. HHTIID: Can you have a word with "im upstairs" and now organise a few weeks of sunshine and warm winds to dry everything out and the a few fresh showers just prior to the Chally? We need the streams to work and be nice and fresh but not too deep...

  13. Gutted!

    I've enjoyed, so much, all the suffering and anguish that you've all been prepared to endure just to give me a giggle. And now you've given up!

    Never mind...I'm off to Torridon in a couple of days. I've heard rumours of temperatures of 20 deg in the glens this coming weekend. Don't it just make you sick? (lol)

  14. Ken: " And now you've given up!"...... I would like to to think of it as a 'tactical withdrawal'....

    Bummer, eh?

    Have a good trip to Torridon. Make sure you take your sun tan lotion for Maisie. And that huge sack of dog food too. You can carry that, as you're Scottish and 'Ard!


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