Thursday, 1 March 2018

Penguin gully on Beinn Dearg

So after Beinn Eighe we decided to go for another big day! I'd convinced myself that this day could be achieved in about 8 hours because I made two fatal miscalculations. Firstly I believed Loz when he said 'yeah sure, its only about 2 hours to walk in to Beinn Dearg' from Ullapool way. And secondly I didn't acknowledge (look - oops) at the description for Penguin gully and just presumed that it was around 200m long and not 350m - haha.

The walk in.. (Shaws pic)

Now wheres Penguin Gully..
Anyway another early start saw us leaving the car at 7.30am, and what a long walk it was into an icy head wind for hour, after hour, after hour (exaggerating for effect). I think it took around 4 hours but it was a beautiful walk and I'd never been up into this mountain group from this aspect before.

Santuary! Gearing up

Loz heading up to the obvious gully
Luckily near the route start there was a giant boulder to shelter behind and gear up. We then spotted  a team of 3 ahead of us on the climb.

Loz setting off

Judith following Shaw (his pic)
The gully was in good and easy condition with great solid neve and ice for protection and belays where required. We joined the queue and pitched most of it even though it would have been fine to solo....

The 3 guys we overtook on top
After a couple of hundred meters even though we were enjoying ourselves I think we were ready to finish as we were being held up by the slow team ahead so Loz and I just stopped pitching it and moved together for the last 100-150m putting in some protection between us on the 50m rope.

Heading down
This saw us top out at about 4pm I think and we carried on the short way to the top of the munro to take in the amazing views. The wind had dropped by now and it felt great being in such an amazing place for the second day running.

Loz looking back across to Penguin gully
Shaw and Judith topped out a little later and we met them again on the flatter section near the start of the route as we were heading into the dusk.

And again.. great view of Penguin
What followed was a long walk out and I think its fair to say that we all found it tough. I was hallucinating a little on the walk out thinking I could see sheep everywhere (white rocks) and I was 100% convinced that they were following me in a line, but obviously everytime I turned around no sheep just the glow of Shaw and Judith's head torches a short distance behind.

Shaw's pic of Judith starting the walk out
We were meant to be all having a dinner party after this, but we didn't get back to Contin until 9.30pm after an amazing, but very tiring 13.5 hr hill day....

Losing the light now
Food, a little wine and whisky did get consumed, but I certainly didn't have much energy in me for conversation as I was nearly asleep at the dinner table.

The day after I had a lie in and did nothing but smile!

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