The forecast had said ‘sunshine’ so we decided to do Buchaille Etive Mor. The day dawned looking like Narnia so we thought, ‘darn’, but undaunted, and especially loving the beauty of the snow, we headed up Glen Coe. Well, it was a bit more complicated than that, actually. First we had to get out of the car park. The warden (not sure which Scandinavian country she’s from) expressed delight that I could drive a car in snow, and was surprised (or pleased: close divide) that we had crampons and axes. Bless her.
I said we were off up the glen and she said that getting to the road would be the issue.
I agreed. She was right.
We set off east following ‘boring guy who looks like Someone I know) in his salopettes. He’d just told the warden (who lives here, remember) how to get out if the main road to Tyndrum was closed. How helpful. Cos otherwise what would she do?
Then, after gritting and shovelling we were off up the side road, only to be blocked by a delivery lorry coming the other way. We couldn’t turn around for fear of losing traction so we reversed back towards the Red Squirrel camp where a guy was sweeping the entrance and I was able to turn. But boy did he want to talk. His land rover was broken, his wife needed a blood transfusion and he had to get to Edinburgh, or something. I thanked him and off we sped.
Glen Coe was awesome (like a hamburger, thanks Eddie Izzard). We drove up behind the snow plough. Seemed very important and serious. Just par for the course here, I guess. We got the top, by Lagangarbh, and thought, ‘What the hell: let’s see how far we get.’ The answer was 3000 feet up and almost to the top, but I was bushed, Isaac was too and we decided that discretion was more important, ya da ya da ya da. So we headed back. The wind wasn’t blowing but the snow was outrageous. On top the air was so still we could hear the cars below. The sky was bluish white and the view came and went. We saw Stob Ban (Grey Corries version) and other teases. Then back down to the glen, the decent, as usual, longer and more tedious than ever expected.
We made the mistake of following people. Never again: we missed the main corrie headwall and went into the more western corrie which left us out of it for the final ascent. Never mind. That’s life.
This was another thin place: the snow was wonderful: very powdery and we’d never have thought of being able to get so far without just going for it. We got very iced up on the way down. Much drying needed.
The most amazing thing about today was the unexpected success. We saw peaks no motorist ever sees. We heard the peace of the snow capped mountains, and we worked hard for our successes. The lessons are for all of us. What we think we can achieve, we must always extend beyond. The desire should always be for what we are told we can do. The spirit guides and sustains. God knows the journey we can make. My sermon is shaping nicely.
I am spending a week in the wilderness. I am supported by the Holy Spirit, (I am not alone, with Isaac to make me laugh), I am tempted? Well, what are my temptations? Not sure there, but three things:
1. Satan is a barrier to God’s way
2. The wilderness is a place where we can discern the true will of God
3. It’s not what we think we are here for, but what God thinks we’re here for: knows we are.
Tomorrow: the Pap of Glen Coe. I think.