We were just starting up the side of the unrelenting Loch Arkaig road when I realised that I had left my weekends carryout back in MacDonald’s in the Fort, what a pisser. Ok, so can’t cry over spilt milk – who can’t!
The Novice had just told me for the third time his climbing plans for the winter ( I used to think Bellies was boring) when we arrived at our destination – a locked gate. What is it with these estates and locked gates? This one was new; I wander who they were trying to keep out? It wasn’t walkers because there was the usual gate avoidance device, aye a stile. Perhaps it was poachers but even if all the poachers in Knoydart spent every hour of every day there would still be enough beasts to go round - 400 000 at the last count.
We arrived at the bothy after a fairly easy walk taking about an hour. If you are intending to go into A’chuil at some future date be careful under snow condition as it would be easy to miss the track from the forest road to the bothy. It had been raining at the start so all our waterproofs were on; by the time we arrived we were both pissing with sweat. Already ensconced was Sinky, John and griff. They had a fine fire awaiting us and soon we joined them at the fire for a well earned mug of steaming hot tea. Shortly we were reminiscing over old times, discussing sensitive issues and talking the usual piss one does in these circumstances. Several boring hours passed before the rest arrived. Willie was soon getting stuck in to the bevy and on his way to becoming his usual drunken obnoxious self. Meanwhile Bellies arrived and the conversation soon plunged into absurd depths of banality. Such, such were the joys! Bugger this I’m off to bed.
Next day after a bacon roll and a wee Sherman Baz and I headed for Surlies - a bothy at the head of Loch Nevis. We managed to get about two kilometres before being stopped by a swollen river. Plan B involved a very wet ascent of some incredibly boring Corbett across from the doss. At the start Baz warned me that he was slow, boy was he right! Every so often a really heavy shower gave us a thorough soaking but what the f…. F… this we thought at 480 meters life’s too short, especially ours, so we headed back down. By this time our previously watertight boots were leaking like sieves and our moral at a low, thankfully not a life time low – but close. When we got back to the doss the lazy f…… that hadn’t ventured out were sitting huddled around the fire with a pathetic demeanour surrounding their unspectacular physiques. Getting drunk as fast as possible was our only goal, our only saviour. Alas, before too long the rest of the wet team arrived. They were quiet, very quiet and dripped a lot. Soon Willie was back on the bevy, Baz back reminising, the Novice planning winter lines on the Ben (grade 2s) and Bellies educating the masses as is his want. There was only one course of action - get drunk quick then bed!
Niche A’chuil 2003