Storm Gareth: Safety 1st

With the news that another storm was on it’s way today, it was not a time to be acting rashly. Our weekly hillwalk was down-graded to a low level walk, and with high winds forecast, we weren’t even keen to go where there were too many trees.

Unfortunately it would appear that others were not so wary about the weather conditions. We have heard on the news tonight, that 2 climbers have been killed on Ben Nevis today.

Our walk took us from Kirkoswald to Culzean. It was an amazing feeling standing on the top of the cliffs, watching the surf rolling in onto the beach. How awesome is Mother Nature.

Tinto on a Bleak Saturday in March

Altitude: 711 metres                                                   Ascent: 486 metres

Top Tip Today: It is so much more comfortable if you do the waist and chest strap up on your day pack.

It was an early start today. I have met a new walking buddy, the experienced Mandy Barr, who likes an early start. I have 18 years on Mandy, so more leisurely starts are a little more my thing, but training for Kilimanjaro is serious business, and I need to take some steps out of my comfort zone. A 5 o’clock alarm is going to be one of those steps for the next 5 months, if I am going out with Mandy. To be honest, many of the climbs that I will be doing, will be further from home than the ones I have done up til now, so early starts on my day’s off are going to be a regualr occurence. The nearest Munro is a 2 hour drive from home, and I need to get a few of those under my belt. Today was meant to be a Munro day, but yet again we were thwarted by the weather. So a climb closer to home was planned. Well I did none of the planning, other than my clothing and food, all the rest was left to Mandy.

She leads parties on hillwalking challenges as a part of the Duke of Edinburgh schemes. She assured me that her map reading and compass skills were better than her sat nav, as we drove up and down a 2 mile stretch of road, looking for the car park. It was all new territory for me. The drive for the first hour took me on the road “home”. The M74 which turns south, and crosses the border, but today we continued on the A70 to Tinto.

Tinto is tough from the start. Straight out the car and into an incline! Being out early was cold on the lungs too. A new feeling experience, cold air deep in my lungs. I struggled for the first 100 metres or so, that is 100 metres in distance not height!

There is a clearly defined path up Tinto, and for the most, it was well kept, with just one or two muddy parts. What I did not like was the screel. Too many loose stones for my liking. I prefer solid terra under my feet.

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Another new for me, was the feeling of not knowing when to eat, and what to eat. Having an early start, meant a longer time between breakfast and lunch. On my Tuesday walks, the walking;eating pattern is completely different. Add to that the difficulty of the terrain today, and I found myself needing sustenance when I do not normally need it. All a learning curve of how my body works, on these longer strenuous walks.

We climbed in relatively good weather for the beginning of March. Unfortunately the cloud did not lift at the top, so the view that I was promised, was not forthcoming.

Back down and safely in the Tinto Tea Room at the bottom, where I had my first BLT for a very long time, I evaluated the climb.

It was what I needed, a steep incline to get my muscles working. The terrain was not my favourite, but a step up from bogs!

I would do it again defintely. I would be happy to do it on my own, as the paths are clearly marked, and it was the busiest walk that I have done in a very long time. Being out early, it was quiet on the way up, but on our descent there were plenty of people. If I got into trouble and I was on my own, then people would be about to help.

Another training day under my belt.

Thanks Mandy

Blessings Joy