So what if you are trying to tick off those last few pesky munros on your second round, and they are gnawing at your very soul? The weather is looking cloudy, but dry. The freezing level has lifted a little. You are stir-crazy having had a big job cancelled.
But you only have two to do in the East where the weather is OK, Carn Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch. They entail a 42k day, with at least a cycle in along a rough track to even get close. Madness surely?
But maybe not?
OK, you will need everything to go your way -
1) The drive up will need to be early Sunday AM, so the roads need to be amenable to that, arriving at the Linn of Dee for 08:00 ready for first light at 08:30
2) The track needs to be free of ice....remember the last attempt to cycle to Derry Lodge in the ice with Sean? Ouch!
3) The river crossings at the Allt Dhuaidh Mor and especially the Geldie Burn need to be safe, and preferably doable in boots.
4) The stalker's path that takes you on a long traverse towards Carn an Fhidhleir (or Ealar, as it is alternatively known), needs to be relatively free of snow drifts.
5) The snow needs to not be so deep that it makes progress on the flanks of the hill, already boggy, rough, heathery and peat hagged, nigh on impossible.
6) The cloud doesn't want to be so thick that whiteout makes the navigation on the featureless terrain more difficult, eating into the time
7) You want to be off the hill proper and back at the track by dark
8) You are fit enough to do 42k in no more than 8hrs
Surely all of those stars cannot align at once, can they?
Well, yes, they can, and did. What a day I had. There is little of interest on these two hills other that their wild and remote location, the possible views of the South West Cairngorms and big feeling of satisfaction in getting them ticked. I noted in my log that it was 13 years since I last did them, in summer conditions, and that it was a 'tough day', so I knew that I was in for a challenge.
But it all fell into place. I was perfectly prepared to turn back if necessary, despite how much effort I would have put in to get to wherever I had gotten to. 'Prudence' as always. But I am quite hill fit right now, and whilst it was indeed a slog at times, and I was really working hard, every section was met, was seen to be doable, and was 'enjoyed' with a real determination. I made it back to the bike just as it got dark, found my head-torch had managed to drain its batteries, but as you always should have I had spares, and bumped and jolted back down the track and to the car by 16:30.
Absolutely pleased as punch I am :)