Well, maybe not quite a thousand, but you get the idea.
Like I mentioned before, the top geezer known as PTC did a sterling job of organising a weekend of gear, great people and mountains.
Ollie from 9point9 kindly provided some tents, mats and sleeping bags from Big Agnes, rucksacks from Granite Gear, lighting from Princeton Tec, and scran from Honey Stinger.
John from Ardblair produced a mondeoful of Montura clothing, X-Bionic base layers, Hillsound crampons and Leki poles.
Add that lot to fifteen gear heads, mix in a bit of the Arrochar Alps and the jobs a good ‘un.
It’s been a while since I’ve hauled a winter camp pack up a hill, so the pace was gentle up to the Narnain boulders. I make use of the Leki poles on the uphill, more of which later. Some light snow showers added some atmosphere. A pocketful of Honey Stinger energy chews certainly kept the spirits up.
Our campsite was just behind the boulders, and numerous Big Agnes tents quickly sprouted up, along with BigBananaFeets’s red Laser Comp (I’m just jealous, mine is green) and Petesy’s sturdy but bulky Hilleberg Suolo.
Stoves were lit and a selection of Mountain House dinners were promptly scoffed. The Macaroni Cheese seemed a big hit, and my chicken and noodles in black bean sauce was very tasty, even if I did have to wait 15 mins for my water to boil. That stove’s for the bin I tell you.
A jolly evening was spent, comparing kit, blethering about this, that and the other, and generally making some new friends. The wind was a bit stiff so early nights were had all round.
The morning brought a lovely sunrise and clear blue skies. The Cobbler looked positively alpine. Some porridge and coffee was consumed. I regretted eating my Honey Stinger waffle in the car park before we left.
In a majority decision (sorry Sandy!) we plumped to head up Ben Arthur for a look-see. The path iced up just at the junction, so I had to don my crampons. Lots of pairs of Hillsounds appeared suddenly. I wasn’t lucky enough to try them this time, but they looked the business for the conditions we were in. I really need to try these out, so I can leave the G12s for climbing trips.
We popped up at the bealach between the North and Central peaks. I opted for North peak along with a good few others.
After taking in some views, we popped off down the way we’d come up. Back at camp, there were more cuppas (thanks to More-on for the hot water and mrchewy for the splendid chilli!) then down came the tents and up went the pack lids and we were off. A very gentle stroll down to the car park allowed more time for gear chat and we got some nice looks from ascendees, mainly because we were decked out like Team Montura.
Back at the car I sadly said goodbye to some kit that I really liked. Shortly after that, I was saying goodbye to some people I really liked too. Roll on the next one.
Important memos for me for the next time: Don’t leave the glasses in the car (my eyes are still a bit pink and feel like they’re full of sand today) and for feck’s sake, get a stove that actually works when it’s cold.