I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK

If everything had gone to plan –and there’s a spoiler if there ever was one – I should by now have been able to tick off another two Munros. But at least it wasn’t a navigation problem this time and I suppose I ought to count my blessings.

I set off towards Crianlarich on Thursday afternoon, with the plan of spending the night in the van then climbing Ben More and Stob Binnein today, but it wasn’t to be. The AA suggested the best route would be via Fort William, whilst the bint in the Satnav recommended the A9 and Aberfeldy. Having been that way just a week ago, I decided to take the AA’s advice.

As I drove down the lochside I was struck by the amount of water pouring off the hill and into the storm drains, frequently overflowing onto the road, and wasn’t exactly looking forward to bog trotting, even with the hope of using my snowshoes – or the brand-new crampons (see previous blog) – above the snowline. A couple of miles past Urquhart Castle, I came across a line of stationary traffic and discovered there had been a head-on collision about 10 cars ahead of me. The lorry driver in whose spray-filled wake I had made most of the journey went to have a look and reported there seemed to be no fatalities, but several “walking wounded”. He said, with a load of gravel in his big vehicle, he had no chance of turning round on the road but that from his experience these things were usually cleared quite quickly if there was nothing too serious, so I sat and waited. Two ambulances, a fire engine, two police cars and the best part of an hour later there seemed to be no improvement and the queue behind me was now substantial, so I carefully turned round and headed back. I briefly considered the detour via Strathcarron, but rejected it even more quickly, and rather wished I’d taken the A9 instead. It was too late now to do that as I’d have arrived quite late at my destination and the weather showed no sign of permanent improvement, so I just went home.

It turns out there was another accident on the A9 – considerably more serious as two were killed in it – but I don’t suppose that would have impinged on me, being nine miles further South than my turnoff at Ballinluig.

So this morning I tottered around high up in the beech tree in the garden with a chainsaw and took down a bough that was getting ideas above its station.

Next week maybe.


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