The Aonach Eagach -- Do's & Don'ts

14th April 1984
Hares - Bruce, Clark Kent and partner
Hounds - Alan, Bill and myself

If travelling in more than one car from Glasgow, do reassemble at Tyndrum for rolls, tea and a headcount.

Wait at the top of the glen until everyone arrives and set off together: it is not a good route for a cross country run especially for the more rotund, elderly members of the club trying to keep up with Bill “Flash” Gray and Alan “Piston Legs” Waugh, desperately striving to keep up with Ian “ is it a bird, is it a plane,……….. no it’s Dr Dolittle” McMenemin.

I’m quite sure Stanley didn’t have as much trouble catching up with Livingstone!
As you will have guessed by now, dear reader, we were not the best organised party to have done this walk, although we mountain men of the Moray fraternity did eventually catch up with the advanced party, I for one lost half a stone in the process and gained a considerable number of grey hairs (note – not Gray Hares! There’s only one of him!!) which, unfortunately accentuates the rather deciduous nature of my head in general.

When we reached the first top, Am Bodach, Bill and Alan allowed me a five-minute breather, they having been there considerably longer! The day was perfect, blue cloudless sky, great visibility and matchless scenery.

Not being a geography freak like Bill, nor a stickler for the Gaelic vernacular like Eric, I took Alan’s word for it that Bidean nam Bian was over to the left, doing goodness knows what to the three sisters, and Nevis to the right, all capped in snow.
 The ridge stretched out in front of us, about as inviting as a panel saw balanced across a couple of multi – stories to a flea! “Easy” said Alan, “I’ll give you a pinkie belay” quipped Bill, but I was not convinced. However, spurred on by taunts of “Jim Murray did it”, “We’ll tell Drew”, I (most reluctantly) followed my tormentors, teeth firmly clenched, one eye closed, arms held out laterally, mentally reminding myself to make an appointment with my “shrink” as soon as possible, if I survived to reach a phone

Stopping periodically to rest the exhausted body and tortured limbs, many I’m sure, excellent photographs were taken recording our epic journey, not, by the way, recommended for the elderly or dugs; I think I only just qualified myself!
Photographs, I’m certain cannot match the splendour of one’s own eyes but I hope you will catch something of the awesomeness of the surroundings, perhaps at the next club slide show…….that’s just a wee plug, couldn’t resist, ed.

There were so many people on the ridge; it was like Ben Lomond on a bad day. The amazing thing was, they were all smiling and it set me to wondering if they had all escaped from the same institution all at once!
Anyway, we arrived at a fearsome looking structure Bill called “the pinnacles” where I was goaded up first to “get wan fur yer mammy”. The facial expression will, I’m certain, convey the horror I felt sitting astride yon cone-like-rock, nae parachute, with 3000ft plus drop on either side (ok, it was only 10ft, but I get vertigo climbing into bed every night!).
Ridge negotiated, Clachaig beckoning, Bill Gray on the bell (no money as usual) we started the decent following our intrepid leader Alan, well to the north of the path everyone else was using, but Bill had made the original mistake of saying “pap of Glencoe” which sent Alan in that direction looking for a buxom local teuchter – silly boy!!!
 A good day, an enjoyable experience and excellent company without whom I’m sure I’d never have attempted, let alone done it, and as for my rather romanticised and uninformed suggestion of a year ago to Alan “Let’s do it in the snow when there is a full moon”

Nicky McGranahan

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