Thursday, May 7, 2009

Possibly Farewell…..but hail Caledonia!

I'm writing this as my buddies are texting me to meet them at The Windsor (the LBS pub, we don't actually own it but it feels like we do). I'm jumping on the sleeper train to Glasgow in an hour, to go hiking with my buddies in Scotland, so I'll be brief.

Hoping to see some of the best known scenery and landmarks of the Highlands, like Ben Nevis, Buchaille Etive Mor, Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. If the sun shines it will be truly memorable.

The following is the hardcore version of the plan (copy/pasted from an e-mail), which assumes good weather – something that ain't exactly guaranteed in the Highlands.

  1. Overnight train from London at 11.50pm on night of Weds 6th May.
  2. Arrive at 7.18am in Glasgow Central on Thursday 7th
  3. I will arrange car hire so we can pick these up at/near the station – looks like enough of us have licences
  4. Drive north to Crianlarich, which is roughly half way between Glasgow and Ft William
  5. Climb Ben More (3843ft/1174m) and Stob Binnein (3821ft/1165m) (est 6-8 hrs) – this is just a little warm-up for Ben Nevis 
  6. Drive up to Fort William to stay in Glen Nevis Youth Hostel (booked)
  7. Fri 8th: Climb Carn Mor Dearg (4012ft/1223m) and Ben Nevis (4406ft/1344m) (est 8-10hrs)
  8. Stay Friday night in Loch Leven Hotel in Ballachulish, south of Ft William (booked)
  9. Sat 9th: Climb Sgurr Dearg (3361ft/1024m) and Sgorr Dhonuill (3284ft/1001m) (est 6-8 hrs)
  10. Stay Saturday night in Glencoe Hostel (provisionally booked)
  11. Sun 10th: Climb Buchaille Etive Mor (3345ft/1022m), with optional extension to Buchaille Etive Beag (3129ft/958m) (est 5-6 or 8-10hrs)
  12. Drive back down to Glasgow in time to drop off cars and have a drink before catching the 11.15pm overnight train to London Euston, arriving 6.46am on the Monday so we won't miss a minute of Capital Markets and Financing...

EXCEPT - We need St Bernards and dogsleds apparently..Thursday will be a very severe day on the mountain, with winds approaching gale force even at low level, and storm force on higher slopes. Rain will fall on and off all day, at times heavy and persistent, falling as snow above 700-900m with blizzard or whiteout conditions on higher areas. Much of the mountain will be in cloud all day, and wind chill will be extreme, on the summit, it will feel as cold as minus 23 Celsius.

Friday will be cold, but gales will slowly ease. Showers, at times frequent will fall as snow on higher slopes.

People have died climbing Ben Nevis in bad weather. So if I do not return and this blog stays un-updated, please keep your fingers crossed that the search and rescue team finds 10 hikers from London Business School.


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