Naked Munros
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Stob Binnein

(Written by Karla)

It was Saturday afternoon and we were at a cafe in Killin after having driven up the day before. We had bumped into our paragliding chums at Abington that morning and I never normally turn down a day's paragliding. But this time we had continued on until we were over the highland boundary fault. We knew the weather was going to hold for a couple of days at least and we wanted to spend as many hours in the hills as possible. You never know if the rest of the week is going to be a wash out. This meant wild camping. But which mountains to climb? The Lawers range? Too many people. What about Stob Binnein, Ben More, Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean I asked not realising that Stob Binnein and Ben More were the 16th and 18th highest mountains in Britain respectively. Normally this would be OK but this was our first proper trip of the season (forgetting about the desperate ascent of Meall Corranich for the moment). My only exercise had been 1 hour and 20 minutes of walking on flat ground a day (Stuart had even less) and we would be carrying camping equipment. Maybe the name 'Ben More' should have made me think. Hmm, 'Big Mountain'.

So there we were at Inverlochlarig at 5pm and packing our bags and looking up at this steep slope to the ridge. We had previously thought of taking our paragliders up this in order to fly the range so it was going to be interesting walking up with camping gear on our backs.

Up we started and the tempered excitement grew. We were finally back again and this time there were no ferociously strong winds covering the summit with fresh ice! There was a chill to the air and it seemed quite windy, but we seriously doubted that the weather would close in on us.

Several hundred metres of ascent later and the main slog was over. Not too bad I thought, and then I noticed that Stuart was lagging behind. It was then that I realised that his pack was much heavier than mine because of the camera equipment that I couldn't fit into my own bag. I honestly don't know why it didn't occur to me to take out something light, soft and fluffy instead to make room for the Hasselblad in my own pack. I do have a suspicion though :)

Finally we were out of sight of the road and cottages down below. The mountains on the other side of the glen looked splendid. But it was getting late and we were tired after so much driving, walking and not having eaten a proper meal for two days. We decided to camp when we reached the cairn at the top of the ridge. The summit was in view, the light was gorgeous and it was getting better all the time. The ground looked emminently campable too! Almost like something from a campsite. Makes a change from peat bog.

Oh boy did we explode into a frenzy of nudity!

By the time we had finished some gorgeous alpenglow had developed. But it was dusk and we were too tired to continue so we pitched our tent and retired. We do not ever remember it getting dark at any point. The wind increased throughout the night but dissipated by the morning.

6:30am, the air was cold and the sky blue. The light was soft on the eyes and we started our pleasant walk along the ridge to the summit. Except we came across Stob Coire an Lochain; a Top along the ridge with its own lochain and a view of the summits of Stob Binnein and Ben More. Intermittent mist was being blown up the east side of the ridge from Loch Tay. So what was a gal to do but get naked?

It was only when I got dressed again that we noticed the brocken spectre below us. It came and went and I considered taking a photo of it but they were too brief to be easily captured and time was pushing on. I noticed little fluffy cumulus clouds had already started to form in the sky and guessed that there would be some serious development as the day wore on. We reached the summit at 8am and noticed a small figure charging along the ridge below us. As he summited we said 'Hi' and had a nice chat. He expressed surprise to see us there so early in the morning. We waited for him to leave and then stripped off again for more photos.

A fine figure of a mountain, gorgous light and a feeling of freedom once again. This is what mountains are for!


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