Last Sunday we were very blessed – the sun (you remember, big hot thing – makes your shoulders go pink) shone on the day we fixed to do the Aonach Eagach ridge.
There’s usually a gasp at the mention of Glencoe’s fearsome ridge… and now I remember why.
I’d done the ridge – considered to be one of Britain’s best by someone who considers these things – twice in the past, more than 10 years ago. I remembered that it took a bit slow and steady scrambling and some serious don’t-look-down-just-now work, but I didn’t remember it being too scary.
In fact I remember much sweatier moments elsewhere, particularly the Witch’s Step on Arran and a nasty eroded bit on the Ptarmigan Ridge.
However I now suspect it’s more likely a function of memory failure and an recently acquired sense of self preservation. Whatever way you look at it the Aonach Eagach is scary.
But that’s not a bad thing. We had a fabulous day full of sunshine and good company. From the crest of the ridge you get that ‘top of the world’ sensation enjoyed by Kate and Leo on the bow of the Titanic.
You also come home with more than a little smugness at having tackled the terrifying in one piece without even crying or being sick. There aren’t that many of us.
And for those who gasp at the mention of the Aonach Eagach ridge because you are about to give forth about the sheer irresponsibility of the enterprise not to mention the cost to the innocent taxpayer, take note of the top picture.
It’s a rescue helicopter out and about on a sunny Sunday having a jolly good tour of the hills and glens. It hovered for the crew to wave and smile at us. The gas was already guzzled so a rescue would have simply given their practice mission a purpose.