On the 31st of March I popped up Beinn Fionnlaidh just in the nick of time to have it count as March’s mountain of the month. I would love to fill this post with beautiful pictures of the glorious varied views up the mountain and then culminate in the stunning vistas from the summit. However as you will see from the photos, this was a different kind of mountain; one that is only truly appreciated back in the car.
Some people I know are very lucky when it comes to their Scottish trips; they imagine sunny skies, huge mountains and a dusting of snow and that is precisely what they get. Whether through bad luck or just a normal helping of luck this has rarely, if ever, been my experience of the joys of Scottish weather. Whether visiting in May or January I tend to pack pretty much the same kit although I have to say that there was really very little snow left on the hills on this visit so the ice axe was barely needed on this trip.
I was visiting for a long weekend and the forecast for the last day of March was fairly uninspiring. Double raindrop all day with cloud cover down to 400m. There had been talk of scrambles, gulleys and 10 hour epics but when we awoke to the sound of heavy rain none of these seemed like brilliant ideas. Nonetheless as it was my first day up north a summit should at least be attempted. We scanned the local area for a straightforward top that there was little chance we could fall off in bad visibility.
Beinn Fhionnlaidh seemed to fit the bill. I am led to believe by the excellent walkhighlands description that is a little ripper of a hill, gradually unveiling itself as you climb before summiting with wonderful views towards the summits of Glencoe and the Aonach Eagach ridge. The weather forecast ran true and we saw none of these things. We walked in double rain drop rain combined with 30 mph winds for no views at all. At least there was a trig point to tell us we had definitely reached the top from where we bid a hasty retreat.
Why have I then made this mountain of the month? I’ll be the first to admit it’s probably not going to be a mountain I’ll rush back to BUT I have no regrets about getting up it on a nasty weather day and practicing some navigation and building some confidence. Every hill we climb gives us something to call on when we’re next out; experience.
So if you’re ever in two minds about going out; do it. You might not get the views but you’ll get something equally as valuable; another hill day under your belt.
This mountain definitely got me thinking about Munro bagging again; I had been a skeptic (see my post here) but actually I am beginning to see the positives that it can bring. To complete even half would be a major achievement and would have no doubt got me up a few hills when the conditions were far from perfect and taken me to parts of Scotland I may otherwise not have visited. Don’t call me an official bagger just yet but do watch this space….
The trip also consisted of a couple of Munros with marginally better views on the 1st April but surely that would be cheating to count those as mountain of the month for April? April is shaping up to be a good mountain month so hopefully I should have plenty to chose from.