Carn na h-Easgainn

01 December 2011

8.34 km/392 m/02:30 hrs

Graham: Carn na h-Easgainn (No. 12)

A few days ago I had done something against all my principles – I had bought a pair of really heavy, sturdy leather boots (Meindl Himalaya)!!

There was only one reason for that: If I wanted to climb Munros in winter conditions, I would need crampon-compatible boots. Although my MicroSpikes are fine on icy paths and even on easy-angled hills covered in consolidated snow, they reach their limits when the terrain becomes too steep and the 1 cm spikes don’t get enough grip.

I had been wearing the boots in the shop for almost an hour and, although they felt awkward and heavy at first (compared to Inov8 Roclites!), I found them surprisingly comfortable. But still, I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear them for a full day on the hills without breaking them in, so I decided to try them out on a short walk up a Graham, just a few miles south of Inverness.

From the small parking area at Lynebeg a landrover track (not marked on the map) leads all the way up to the summit .

Frozen peat hags, and the Speyside hills in the distance.

Sunshine on the Strathfarrar hills to the west.

Approaching the summit.

Carn na h-Easgainn trig point.

From the summit, I walked SE to get a better look at the wind farm at Farr.

By now, grey clouds were darkening the sky and a snow shower was approaching. I had read about a bothy west of the summit, and tried to get there in time to shelter from the snow.

The gate to the terrace was frozen solid and I had to climb over the bannister. It was a bit of hard work to move the door bolt as it was frozen as well, but I managed to get inside before the snow started. I had a lunch break in the warm and cosy bothy, and when I had finished, the sun was shining again.

I returned the same way, passing the summit again.

View to the Moray Firth, the Kessock Bridge just visible left of centre.

Speyside hills.

Regarding the boots, I was pleasantly surprised about how grippy they were on snow and icy patches. My feet stayed dry as well (a totally new experience!), but I don’t know if I will get used to the fact that I can’t feel the ground I am walking on.

Besides, even a very easy stream crossing felt unsafe, because the stiff soles only had one point of contact with the rounded stepping stones, like a plank balancing on a ball. I wonder how I will get on with the boots in the future 😕

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2 thoughts on “Carn na h-Easgainn

  1. I really don’t like boots either. However well and expertly they’ve been fitted in the shop, they always end up causing blisters somewhere.

    • You are absolutely right! In the meantime I have been wearing the boots on three walks, and during the third one I actually got a blister. Besides, I don’t like the unnatural way they make me walk, or should I say stalk?

      To be honest, I don’t think I will get used to them – and I am thinking of selling them again. Even if that means I can’t get up (the more difficult) Munros in the snow 😦

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