Thursday, 21 October 2010

Quinag and Spidean Coinich

I think of the mountains as a sanctuary. A safe place from the stresses of work, the ringing of telephones , the noise of traffic and modern day life in general. I guess that’s why I’m an early riser and like to do my hill walking alone,while the others sleep. I like nothing better than being alone with my thoughts, far from the madding crowds of the city.

I started the walk up Quinag not long after dawn. The world around me was still in total silence. Early morning mist was still clearing from the surrounding hills. A nip in the air kept the midges at bay.

As I gained height, so did the sun and the hills started to lighten. Unfortunately the clear atmosphere and warm lighting of the previous evening had turned into a flat hazy grey light which didn’t do my photographs any favours. I took this photograph looking towards Castle Ardvrek and Loch Assynt, from the first false summit en route to the top of Spidean Coinich.

An eagle circled silently overhead as I looked southwards towards Suilven. Its body weight suspended effortlessly between huge stationary wings supported by the updraft from the northern cliffs.

I could now see the true summit of Spidean Coinish looming about another four hundred feet above. It took me a lot more effort than the eagle to reach the peak.

Peering down the gully of a sheer one thousand foot drop, I guessed I could beat the big bird to the bottom but knew I would never make it back to the top if I did entertain such a suicidal race.

At last I made it to the top of Spidean Coinich, the first summit of Quinag. I stopped for a sandwich and to breath in the views from the cairn.

Looking across the landscape from a height of 764m, I could see it was very much a wilderness area. The morning mist still hid many of the nearby highland glens. I felt on top of the world as I though to myself... One summit down ...two to go ...

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