Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Boys weekend!

Sheddy informed me that it had been 2.5 years since we had all last met, he's good at this sort of thing, where has the time gone?!

Originally we planned a reunion in Spain riding road bikes (out of my comfort zone), drinking beer and getting some winter sun, but when Tom enquired about this he was told that the area's he thought of visiting were all shut down for the winter so the plan was hatched for the softies to come North and visit the Highlands.

Waiting for them to arrive on the Friday flight I got in a couple of hours sunny bouldering at Tom Riach watching for their flight to come over. Luckily it was slightly last and so was I! (note - missed the best ski day of 2018 on Friday... thanks guys!)

I shouldn't have been surprised that when I picked them up just after lunch they had already had beers... but I was a little surprised that when I took them to Rosemarie beach (on the tour) after a quick dip in the sea they demanded the pub..... this set the tone of the trip..

Shed on the beer at 1pm - Inverness Airport
Tom wanted to stay in a bothy and Sheddy, well more on this later.. Originally we planned to go to Magoo's bothy below Seana Bhraigh one of the Ullapool munro's, but a combination of herding cats and the long drive meant that really by the time we got to Oykel Bridge we didn't really have time to walk the 7 miles to the bothy...

The Old School House bothy
We drove up the East Coast and there were various enquiries about food establishments along the way from the city slickers (they aren't really), or more to the point lack of them.

Sheddy delivering his lesson

Tom has lines
Our backup plan worked well and we went to the Old School House bothy, which as expected used to be a school until the 1930's. It was nearly demolished, but rescued and renovated by the MBA. They have done a great job, and although no stove or fire it is well laid out and one room is still dressed as a classroom with desks, blackboard and books.

We explored the immediate area before the ubiquitous beer and whisky. Sheddy likes a rant and its always difficult to determine how much he actually means but he tried to express his displeasure to the art of Bothying numerous times during the night. It wasn't particularly cold, maybe 5-6 degrees, but after eating and drinking our supplies it seemed fitting to go to bed at 7.30pm to keep warm...

Again at various points during the following 13 hour slumber Mr Shed ensured that we were well aware of his displeasure at this pastime. I think he was joking as its cathartic and nice going away from technology and being ruled by the natural cycle of daylight and dark even if only for a very short time.

exploring an old steading

I feel I must add in at this point that the wind was horrendous and on Saturday you could barely go out of the bothy without being blown over, and Saturday night the bothy shook and moaned most of the night.

As forecast the wind dropped a little the following day and after our milkshake breakfast (guess who food shopped!?) we went for a walk up a big hill.. Well it was a tiny hill, but a nice 8-9 mile walk with great views of the bigger hills. The plan was perfect, because even on this 'beag meall' the wind was trying to blow us over.

To get to the small hill did involve a river crossing which would have been comical to watch, 3 guys, 2 poles, boots off, bloody cold water all holding hands to safely navigate the wide river. Sharing is caring!

The summit of our tiny lump!
They said that they were (very) happy to leave the following day as I dropped them back at the airport bar so that they could get back to the South of England, but I know that they enjoyed it really as I did, and they will be back... even Sheddy, but maybe in another 2.5 years when the memory of the cold water and bothy has faded slightly!

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