We started off our walk at 7am from the Glenmore Lodge where there is limited parking but at that time of the morning we were the first people there. We set off this early because we wanted to catch the sunrise and the glorious colours. This meant starting in the dark. We walked with head torches for about 20 minutes by then there was enough light to see the wide track, the track stays wide and easy-going until the bridge over the Neathy, from this point the path starts to climb, the trees gradually thin and then disappear as the snow line creeps over the heather. The going was not difficult but the weather was not going to provide a sunrise to make headlines.
There was some pink light over Bynack More, where we were heading, but the top was obscured by clouds. The climb became more strenuous as we climbed, gradually we climbed into the cloud, it became colder and with the mist my glasses started to freeze, this did not detract from seeing the grouse that would flush out of the heather as we approached.
The last 900metres were the most difficult as we took the northern route, we had ice sheets to climb over as well as many boulders to clamber over. Good practice for Jamie and his ice-axe. In places the snow drifts were deep enough to reach the knee and it felt like we were real mountaineers. Once again my equipment worked well, the Salomon boots were great as is the North Face jacket, however by the summit I was ruing not having bought new liners for the thin Sealskin gloves I was wearing. The cloud limited visibility, but out of the wind the snow dampens all the noise and it was very peaceful – albeit very cold. We had a bit to eat, cereal bars for me again, still the water was not frozen, as the visibility was so poor it was not worth lingering.
After bagging my second Munroe we retraced our steps back down to the valley. We saw Ptarmigan on the way down, very interesting birds, they were like large partridges and they were changing to their winter plumage, surprisingly it was possible to get really close to them. We met half a dozen walkers on the way up as we descended. As we finally dropped down below the snow line my hands started to warm up, the weather was improving slowly, and we walked along the An Lochan Uaine – a loch which looks an emerald shade of green encapsulated with hills peppered with Scots pines – a soul warming end to the day.
In all it took us 6 hours to complete the walk/climb.