Carn na Saobhaidhe is a 811-metre Monadhliath Corbett, rising a long, long way from anywhere. Unwilling to face the tedium of walking there and back – a 17-mile roundtrip – I ran, instantly turning a six-hour trudge into a two-and-a-half hour sprint.
The bulldozed tracks to the summit are rightly despised by environmentalists and these scars will only grow if a proposed windfarm on the estate is given the green light, but these wide paths do provide an outstanding running surface, making for swift ascents.
This is no soaring peak. One hour-and-a-half after leaving Dunmaglass Mains, my reward for 500 metres or so of ascent was a flat summit topped by a small pile of stones. Despite clear skies, I had no sense that I was standing hundreds of metres above sea level on a mountain just 100 metres shy of a Munro. It was, however, immensely satisfying, for Carn na Saobhaidhe stands at the centre of some genuinely rough and wild land (if you ignore the tracks) and its considerable distance from roads makes it a challenging bag.
On the summit there was a book – Brain Storm by Richard Dooling, in case you were wondering – contained in a resealable plastic bag. According to the words on the bag, it is a ‘special book, travelling around the world and making new friends’. I now have to read it and place it somewhere else for someone else to find, then log the details on a website. Nice concept, I think.
It was a weary run down, especially the last four miles, much of which was spent with a small flock of panicking sheep running just ahead of me, convinced that I meant them great harm. Back at the car, a Mars Bar, albeit a mini Tesco version never tasted so good.