Sunday, 14 April 2013

Maol Chean-dearg - an epic mountain adventure

Frankly, if I had known it was going to be such a long and arduous hike, I would not have wasted energy tearing up the hill after those red deer near the start of the expedition. 

At least we were not in Richmond Park and there was no-one else around to witness Gail's "FENTON!!!" moment. And Gail did not film herself stumbling across the heather yelling "Bertie! BERTIE!!!!"

In fact, on the eight hour walk, I didn't encounter a single human other than my own.

It was bright and sunny when we set off from the car. It's rare that you see Loch Torridon looking so blue. 

Luckily there was a sign telling us which way to go.

I'd already ran quite a distance (including side trips....) when Gail pointed to the south, to a snow capped peak and said, "see there Bertie, that's Maol Chean-dearg, our target for today."

It looked a long way off and awfully steep.

And it was...

En route, we passed by such a lot of rubble and scratch marks left by glaciers. 

Really, you would think that after a few thousand years, someone might have cleared the place up a bit!

Further on, the path was made from shards of white rock and Gail told me how she'd once before tried to climb this hill with Hamish, but his sensitive paws could never cope with these sharp quartzite pebbles so they'd had to turn back.

At this point I was still going strong.

But gosh it was hard work as we finally approached the summit. Lots of scree, HUGE boulders and snow. As Gail was quite scared I allowed her to hold my lead so she would feel more secure on the steeper bits.

Though I say so myself, I do think the fine panoramic views from the top were enhanced by the presence of yours truly.

On the long walk back to the car, I stuck close to Gail's heels, putting a brave face on my increasingly aching legs. 

Although I caught the scent of stag several times, I decided not to give chase. In fact, between you and me, I was very weary, and even sat down once or twice, in the hope that Gail might pick me up and carry me for a while, but she didn't oblige, not even when we came to a difficult and dangerous stream crossing.

After, like forever (almost sixteen miles, I believe) we returned to the car. By this time, the sun had gone in and the tide had gone out. 

It was time for a visit to the Torridon Inn. Gail enjoyed a pint of shandy and a fish supper, but, do you know, I was so exhausted I didn't even rouse myself to beg for a wee morsel of haddock.

Oh, and did I mention my sore paws?

Perhaps my friends could suggest a soothing remedy?


  1. Bertie we can just picture Gail having a Fenton moment. My peeps had the same thing with a fox. Great hike pal. Oh look at your paws. My peeps has no suggestion on what to do but bet if you googled it you'd find plenty of tips. Have a serene Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Hello Bertie,
    Ha ha, imagine Gail running around doing a "FENTON!!!" Would you be embarrassed?
    Wow, Torridon was very beautiful today when the sun was out, but so was Aberdeen - after it stopped raining and sleeting!
    Bertie, you and Gail do very well bagging all of your Munros! When I saw the photo of you with "the bald red-head" (heehee) in the background, I was like "No, Bertie! You might die climbing that!" but you did very well! I wasn't surprised you couldn't get up for a wee bit of Gail's fish supper!
    Oww, your paw looks really raw and pink! I don't know anything that could help, but maybe you should try and walk on soft stuff like grass more than pavements.
    Take care,
    Pippa :)

  3. Ohhhhhh my Bertie, first off looks like you had a real adventure, and that sure did look as if it was one mean mountain. Tkae Molly's advice and find something to help them paws, and don't worry about the food, bet some peep ate it all anyway!

    The Mad Scots

  4. 18 miles! Have that geologist arrested! Poor Bertie. You must have been very plum tuckered out to miss a haddock supper!

  5. What a fabulous day out!! We thought we had a grand day (5 miles along the coast here in east Lothian.... But that is epic. You munroist!!

  6. Oh my! Look at your paws! I recommend lots of guilt towards your Gail and extra treats.

  7. Wow, we all feel like lazy bums after reading this. Beautiful pictures and fascinating information. You should be very proud of yourselves. Thanks for taking us along from our armchairs.

  8. Someone once suggested 'udder balm'....just an idea.

    Wow! Bertie, we are impressed by your marathon walk. The views were wonderful and it's the only way we'll ever see them.

    We're exhausted just watching you. We need a nap now.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    We'd love the chasing deer part, too and no way would we stop either!

  9. Bertie that is one hell of a long walk, and up hill to!! we did a 6 mile walk today and both me and Tess are wacked. Sorry you didn't get any tit bits in the pub. Gail will have to take you back :) Not sure about your pads, I would say some grass walking is in order and get Gail to keep an eye on them.
    Have a Good Week
    George xxx

  10. Wow Buddy that was a LONG walk. No wonder your paw is sore. Like Daisy and Bella and Roxy said... if you can find Udder Cream (also known as Bag Balm) that is good fur feets.

    PeeS... we have some Glacial Grooves not far from here... butt they are in a Pasture and the farmer guy does NOT like folks in his fields. They are really Cool Drool. Just like YOURS are.

  11. Give your sore pads a soak in warm epsom salt water, dry them well, then rub in some bag balm or something soothing.

    Poor little nipper that you are, maybe you should take up Agility for a hobby.


  12. Hi Bertie,
    What a great walk. My human is tired just thinking about how far you went.

    I'm not sure what you can do about your paws this time, but if Gail keeps taking you on long walks, then she either needs to carry you in her back pack on the return journey or get you some doggie shoes to wear (as I'm sure Gail didn't walk all that way without shoes or her feet would be redder than yours!).


  13. Holy crap Bertie that was like climbing Mt. Everest, cool
    Benny & Lily

  14. Hari OM
    I just happened by your blog today Bertie and am very excited to find you (am joining up!)... As an ex munro-climbing Scottish ex-pat via Australia bush-walking and now Indian wobbling, I learned a thing or two. Add to this I am a homoeopath and I can tell you the following.

    For tired and aching limbs, obtain Arnica 6c and take two pillules (or 5 drops if liquid), three times a day for up to three days.

    For your pawsomes, Bertie, I can highly recommend Calendula and Arnica cream. Nowadays, most pharmacists are able to provide these homoeopathic remedies.

    An epic adventure deed and I look forward to reading more! hugs and wags, YAM-aunty

  15. Bertie! You climbed to the top of the world (almost). I am truly impressed by your stamina and determination. No way I could ever do this - heck, I barely make it across the yard! Plus, my human is a bit afraid of heights so I am pretty sure she wouldn't have made it either.

    Cheers to your journey!

    Your pal, Pip

  16. Sounds more like a forced march than a fun stroll. Goodness. Perhaps your Gail needs to invest in a sling that will enable her to carry your wee self on her back.


  17. What a fabulous adventure! I do agree: your presence makes the view even more awesome!

    Great hike, definitely worth the sore paws.

  18. OMDs Bertie that was the mother of all hikes nearly to the top of the world. Our feet were achy just looking at yours. I say you need to put your feet up and demand to be waited on for a week!!!
    Gail's supper looks delicious.
    Mom love french fries (with a ton of ketchup) or chips as we believe you call them.
    Hugs Madi your B FFF

  19. Bertie is a delight
    We have two welsh terriers who re are the ginger version

  20. What a great place to walk. It is a little mean that she made you do that much. You are a great hiker! Hope your paws recover soon. Lee and Phod

  21. Oh My Bertie, that was a long walk!! And no doubt the scenery was beautiful because of YOU!!! Good thing you were there to help Gail, these peeps sure need us.
    Would you like me to come over and take care of those paws for you??


  22. Surely time to change the blog title to Bertie The Mountaineer ?

  23. Bertie what was Gail trying to do taking such a steep path. The view is breath taking. But perhaps you might think about staying in the car and waiting for her to come back the next time. Sixteen miles WOW.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  24. Wow 8 hour walk really and up hill? Exciting but your poor paw. We had a paw injury years ago on Norbert he scraped it at a concrete dog run and it took a long time to heal but it was worse than yours, a toughy like you will be fne in no time

    urban hounds

  25. What Dexter said. And you need to master the art of planting yourself and refusing to move, so Gail will HAVE to carry you if she ever wants to get home herself. Abby says if Gail tries to drag you with the leash, plop on your back and keep all 4 legs in the air. Works for Abby. If you're going to make a habit of these forced marches on rocky ground, perhaps you should invest in a good set of doggie boots, like the huskies wear for the Iditarod - a feat not unlike your own.