Nearly but not quite.

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September 12th 2017
Published: September 12th 2017
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Ben Macdui, the UK's second highest peak. If you want to know what it's like at the top, STOP READING. It wasn't the fact that the temperature when I started was 4 degrees, it wasn't that the wind was howling and dropping the temperature even more, it wasn't that rain would sweep in and out at regular intervals, it wasn't that cloud obstructed my views for most of the walk, it wasn't that the track rose 900 m (with the expected drop in temperature of a degree for every 100m), it wasn't that the track was nothing but rocks for about 2 km, it wasn't even the difficulty discerning the path. BUT when it started snowing/sleeting the combination of all the factories saw me turn and retreat. The cloud and mist was so thick that I never even saw Ben Macdui! I could make out shapes every now and then but the actual peak remained unsighted. In hindsight if I had waited out the snow/sleet period I only had about 3 km to go but... I had walked for about 3 hours already and obviously had to do the same sort of distance when returning so it was really a prudent and safe decision. Little disappointing but probably the right decision. This walk was closely overseen by the National Park Rangers, in that you had to sign in, tell them your route, what gear you carried, your car registration and more. I walked with two Americans who we trying for the summit for the third time this week. Their first attempt lead to rescue parties searching for them for 2 hours so the trek is closely monitored and closely monitored for good reason. One of the first photos is of some walker who I initially thought was overdressed. Under that gear he also wore a balaclava. Little did I know! But the walk was good. It was relatively easy in that the gradient was never too steep although the rocks always slow progress a bit. The scenery when you get glimpses is spectacular and it's no surprise that the Cairngorms (the munros or mountain range) are a centre for adventure activities of all kinds.

The very good steak and ale pie and warm fire are from Neffybridge Hotel. If you are in the area try and drop in, it's a very good inn.

So good try, bad luck. So close yet so far. Missed by that much. Nearly but not quit.

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