An even better start on the weather front today: early morning cloud was soon to clear to leave brilliant cerulean blue skies all day. We were away even earlier today in view of the tougher challenge and we were walking from the Clunie Inn by 7.30 am. Our route took us gently and first and then ever more steeply to the col of Bealach a Coinich in between our first two munros. From the bealach came a phenomenally steep pull for a few hundred feet before we gained the ever narrowing ridge to our first summit of Ciste Dhubh. The views were again stunning and we seemed perched on our tiny summit above the world. Glen Affric and Alltbeithe Youth Hostel were far below us and beyond them the hills that were to be the route of our three day expedition in a few days time. To the was the narrow ridge of today's walk culminating in the towering and majestic Five Sisters of Kintail. All too soon it was time to head back down to the col and the steep climb up to our second summit: Sgurr an Fhuarail. Although looking daunting from afar, this was not too bad in reality but I was still tired from the previous day and so found it hard work. From here we followed the narrow ridge ridge with not infrequent short scrambles and snow patches to negotiate. The constant ups and downs were strength sapping and when we stopped for a late lunch at 2.00 pm above the Bealach an Lapain after our fourth munro, I was shattered. Here folowed a discussion as to our course of action. We decided eventually once we had reached the bealach to push on but by the time I had climbed up to Sgurr nan Spainteach I was totally spent. I was getting slower and slower and in danger of having an accident so I opted to retreat to the bealach and thence down very steep grassy slopes to the road. This would allow Peter to continue at a faster pace and complete the route. I found this a very tough and frustrating decision to make but it was the safest option. Peter successfully completed the route at 8.00 pm and I reached the valley at 6.00 pm, both of us to be picked up by the support team. Despite having to abandon, this was still a superb mountain day and one that will livin the memory for a long time to come: fabulous visibility, stunning alpine views, brilliant blue skies and crisp white snow. Despite cutting the walk short I still completed 4 munros, 14 miles and 6500 feet of ascent; as my sone said later "enough for anyone!".
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