Our friends Rick and Anna were up in the Highlands on holiday last week so I took the opportunity to sneak some time away from the Hostel and get out for a day’s walking. I’ve been living up here for 4 months now and still hadn’t found time to get up our nearest mountain, Ben Tee, so it seemed like a good opportunity to tick it off.
We set off at around midday and drove down to the forest at the end of the lane so that we could avoid the half hour slog along the road on our return. After parking the car we set off through the forest, marvelling at all the beautiful mushrooms that have started springing up all over the forest floor – also made a mental note to get myself a decent mushroom-gathering bok soon. Some of them (i.e. the bright yellow and red ones!) looked positively poisonous!
The waterfalls in the forest were quite full and looking rather spectacular after all the recent rain here. We soon left them behind though and were heading up onto the forest roads with lovely views of the glen. The path then took us away from the road and through more pine forest, and we were beginning to feel that we would never reach the end of the forest, when finally the view opened out before us, with Ben Tee towering away in the distance. The next hour or so was a bit of a slog as we slipped and slid our way over the boggy ground and started to climb the lower slopes. Just as we were beginning to get seriously fed up with the wet tussocks beneath our feet, the ground suddenly solidified and small outcrops of rock appeared. It seemed like a good place to stop for some lunch, so we relaxed for half an hour in the semi-sunshine and refuelled.
We carried on up the easier rocky ground to the summit, having been fooled by a false summit a couple of hundred feet below. The views were spectacular and far-reaching, and we just managed to get some photos in before the cloud started coming in thick and fast, until we were completely enveloped.
Time to head back then – we returned the way we’d come, the wet tussocks at the bottom becoming even more menacing on the way down and forcing me over on an ankle on two separate occasions. We also had to be careful to avoid being shot after spying some stalkers below us with some rather handy-looking shotguns. Luckily they rode off on their 4×4 before we came too close and we finished the walk without any further ado.
After 5 hours on the hill I was rather tired so luckily Matt let me off hostel duties for the evening and I had a lovely long soak in the bath to finish off a great day out.