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Scottish Top Ten, September 1987

Jim and I hitchhiked and camped for a week to climb the ten highest mountains in Britain.

Mon 28 Sep 1987
We set off from the ranger station at 3:00, up the well-worn path to the summit of Cairn Gorm
by 4:20. There was some snow on the summit but it was clear and windy. We sheltered for a while behind the radio relay station, then headed for Ben Macdui . There was snow on the ground for most of the way. We think we saw a golden eagle but it may have been a buzzard. The cloud base was above the tops so we had good views and reached the summit at 6:30. We descended with some glissading to camp at Luibeg Burn just before night fell.

Tue 29 Sep 1987
We struck camp and reached Corrour Bothy by 11:00. We left our camping gear there and headed steeply up Coire Odhar to Cairn Toul
. The weather was clear and windy giving us amazing views of peaks receding into the distance. We reached the top at 1:40 then continued along the ridge and across the barren plateau to Braeriach for 4:00. Planes were flying through the Lairig Ghru, below us and we passed some wreckage, including a Mercury XV engine on the way down east to the Dee. Back to Corrour Bothy, where we spent the night.

Wed 30 Sep 1987
37km today as we headed down Glen Luibeg and Glen Lui, over Clais Fhearnaig to Glen Quoich, then up An Diollaid to Beinn a'Bhuird North Top
. It was very windy and cold and low cloud made the flat top particularly desolate. Finding the summit was a little tricky but we were there by 4:15. We descended steeply to the east, seeing lots of red deer to camp near the ruin of Slugain Lodge.

Thu 1 Oct 1987
Walked out to Invercauld and Braemar.

Fri 2 Oct 1987
Walked in from Fort William to camp at Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe.

Sat 3 Oct 1987
Fine weather but we quickly moved up into the cloud with visibility dropping to zero at points. We were at the top of Ben Nevis
by 10:00. Due to the mist we had to take care picking up the Carn Mor Dearg Arete and we couldn't see down as we moved along the narrow ridge. We were at Carn Mor Dearg by 11:50 then headed east down to the bealach and up to Aonach Beag [Lochaber] by 1:40. We were in mist the whole time and it was tricky finding the saddle to get us to Aonach Mor . We bumped into someone else having similar problems and eventually found the enormous cairn on the flat top at 3:00. We returned to the bealach and then north, out of the cloud at last and around Carn Beag Dearg, back to the tent by 6:15.

Sun 4 Oct 1987
From the Ben Lawers visitor centre it was an easy walk with duck boards and steps to Beinn Ghlas
at 4.00. Twenty-five cold, misty minutes later we were at the top of Ben Lawers and the end of the top ten. Back to the road and a hitch into Killin.

Copyright © Mark Bailey 1987-2007