Beinn Ime
Date climbed: 12th September 2005
Companions: Solo




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My very first solo munro to date! Fantastic. About to start night shift that night, I had a day to kill. Ok so I probably should have spent it sleeping in preparation for work but I was very rapidly developing quite a severe case of munrobaggingitis so I pretty much had to go for the sake of my sanity! Anyway, time was short - I had to pick Jake my son up from school that afternoon - so I selected a relatively straightforward munro which wasn't too far away. Beinn Ime it was then. This hill of butter is the highest mountain in it's group which is known as the Arrochar Alps and I was therefore harbouring vague hopes of some good views when I got to the top. I say "vague" because it really was a pretty miserable day and I couldn't see any of the local summits. So, I drive up to arrochar with growing excitement of this my first solo ascent. I find the starting point first time (a very unusual occurence) and have made excellent time on the road. I go through the usual drill of making sure I have all the neccesaries in my bag, setting my walking poles to length, making sure I had my lunch and putting my walking boots on..... Except THAT didn't happen! Of all the things to forget when you go hill walking I forget the very things you walk on! What a complete babboon! However, being the sensible chap that I am, I then said to myself, well Donny never mind it could happen to anyone. Get yourself home and get that sleep you should be getting for nightshift cause you obviously can't climb one of Britain's highest mountains in your old trainers with no grip and many many holes! Can you? Fury swept through my body and all sense and logic left me as I gritted my teeth and began stomping stubbornly up the hillside. No way was I about to let my own idiocity ruin a bagging opportnity like this! So followed a series of many many slips and falls in the mud, feet drenched completely from about three minutes into my journey. Also, since I was very new to this mountain business, I also didn't have proper trousers and attempted this adventure in track suit bottoms! After about fifteen minutes of walking, these trousers began to rip from the groin area downwards. By the end of the climb, they were ripped from waist to ankle. What a sight I must have been! The Glasgow ned with his trackies and trainers climbing in magnificent Scottish mountainside. What a disgrace.

A couple of hours later and the miserable weather of earlier seemed to be improving, the cloud getting lighter. This I believed for the next fifteen minutes of climbing until I suddenly realised with incredible excitement that the weather was not actually improving at all but that I was climbing up through the clouds and above the weather. I was as excited as a six year old on Christmas day. This was my first experience of cloud inversion and it was absolutely spectacular. It was a vast blanket of cloud which I could see both above and below. So utterly peaceful and majestic it was that I would have stayed by myself on the summit for hours if I had had no time constraints. All the slipping and falling of earlier had been worthwhile. What a feeling!

The adrenaline, however, falls away when you start to descend a mountain but that's often when you need it the most. More falls occur on the way down than on the way up. I was no exception to that rule that day and by the time I got back to the car I was covered in huge bruises - mostly thanks to my ridiculous footwear. By then my trackies were in tatters and my trainers sodden and it was all one hundred percent worth it! Magic!