The mysterious case of the dog on Ben More...
I was awake at 6.30 on a bright, cold morning. Only two caravan women were up and about, hanging out some washing, and I had eaten my breakfast, struck camp and hit the road before any of the boys had stirred – I kidded myself that they would be most impressed with my early start.
Taking the track alongside Loch Ba, I encountered the first, and only, footpath sign of the whole trip (why are signs so scarce in this part of the country?) directing the walker not only in miles but also in feet to be climbed and suggesting hours for crossing the hills. The walk into Glen Clochalg was superb, with wooded slopes, a sparkling stream and mountains standing clear against the blue sky. Leaving my pack at the pass of Creag Mhic Fhlonnlaidh (1090ft), wearing shorts and taking only my waterproofs, I set off for Ben More (3171ft).
The weather seemed to be so fine at this stage that I thought there would be no problems but another 1000ft up on the side of A’Choich (a subsidiary summit of the Ben) it became so cold that I considered retreating. However, after I had donned my waterproof jacket and leggings, I heard a dog bark and looking up spotted two people on the ridge ahead, giving me the spur to continue.
There followed a strenuous climb on the ridge and I heard people talking by the summit cairn. Peeping over the low wall of rocks, I said: “Thanks for the moral support you gave me. I wouldn't have got here if I hadn't seen you on the ridge. Where's the dog?”
”We haven't got a dog.”
“Which way did you come up then?”
“Oh, we came up from the road, down there.”
“Didn't you see two people? One of them had a yellow anorak; they had a dog with them. I heard it bark.”
“No. No one came up your way.”
“Are you quite sure? I saw them coming up the ridge!”
Whatever became of that other party was a mystery – one of the strangest experiences I can recall in all my wanderings.
Extract taken from 'Highland, Lowland and Island' - a new book by Roger Legg, author of 'Another Shore'.
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