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Challenge blogs from recent years are full of tales of derring-do as Challengers write of their gonad-freezing experiences wading Highland rivers in spate after several days of rain and battling through Monadliath blizzards. Folks experienced black hole of Calcutta conditions as innumerable people crammed into squalid bothies because it was too windy to pitch their tents. The weather, to put it mildly, has been ‘challenging’.

Not this year. Perhaps the best description of the weather in the Highlands this May was benign. No days of torrential rain, except maybe the last Thursday, (but I finished in sunshine on the Wednesday – yes, I am a smug bastard), no blizzards, no searing heat, no gales and really only one day when it was a bit windy. You didn’t get the emotional highs that you get from battling bad weather successfully but the trade-off was that there was you didn’t need to put on wet clothes in your tent in the morning.

The weather was actually perfect for walking – it was cloudy most of the time with a few heavy showers when I was in Attadale and Strathfarrer – but they weren’t prolonged enough to overwhelm Paramo. Apart from these, we had a dry Challenge (weather wise, obviously – a ‘dry’ Challenge in the other sense of the word is unthinkable)

Photo at Strathcarron

John ‘Lightning’ Sanderson [left] and Robin ‘Gear Guru’ Evans trying to decide if this tidal inlet at Strathcarron is really the west coast.

Loch Calavie-1

Improving weather over Loch Calavie

I think we had at least a blink of sunshine to cheer up every day. There were a couple of still, freezing nights at Ault-na-Goire and Glen Mazeran,  where I’ve never seen such condensation on my tent but these were followed by clear sunny mornings.

Towards the Cairngorms-1

Looking towards the Cairngorms from Carn Dubh ‘Ic an Deoir

There was only one day (Shieling of Mark to Tarfside) where it was humid, claggy and a bit hot.

Loch Lee in the cloud

Loch Lee in the cloud

And the weather on my last day for the short walk from Northwaterbridge to finish at St Cyrus was simply fabulous.

Made it to St Cyrus-1

Finishing at St Cyrus in the sunshine

Being a Brit, I couldn’t write about weather without complaining. The weather wasn’t great for photography. Too much flat light and white skies. I’d have liked more blue skies and fluffy clouds. shadows on the landscape and glorious sunsets.  But, in truth, I’d gladly settle for this year’s weather next time.

4 Responses to “TGOC 14. Mainly dry with sunny intervals and scattered showers”

  1. The weather was, indeed, mainly benign, Ian, and the lovely sunshine on the beach at St Cyrus was another reason why I was glad I took your advice and didn’t stop at Gelder Shiel, so getting a day ahead of my plan and beating the rainy final Thursday! Great walking with you during the final few days!

  2. Louise says:

    Ooo, “next time”? It’s very addictive isn’t it?
    Good weather makes such a difference, we were able to return to and enjoy places this year that were endured and unappreciated in the conditions of 2011.
    I’m enjoying this different approach to a Challenge write up, btw.

  3. Missed you this year, I started from Strathcarron a few hours later than you.
    The weather was indeed quite kind (apart from the first 3 days), was dreading the midge coming out to play but even they didn’t put in an appearance.
    Suppose I’ll have to do a write up shortly.

  4. Lady luck was shining on that last day. I couldn’t believe the weather, a perfect ending. I realised how lucky the next day as the wind and rain blew through and I sat shivering in my tent for the afternoon in Montrose. Thoroughly enjoyed the last few days walking with you and David, very relaxing way to finish my holiday.

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