When the mountain forecast states: ‘Beware of dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion’, you know that it’s going to be a very hot day.
Last week, with very warm temperatures (pushing around 30C in the Braemar area), Joan and I headed out for another navigation session. This mountain day came with a special request for a ‘special client’ (Harris the Dog). Harris needed to be kept cool, so it was imperative that we stayed close to water courses as much as possible. A route through Ballochbuie forest, handrailing a burn for the most part before heading out onto the open hillside (final destination Carn an t-Sagairt Mor) was planned.
‘Hot’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Even in the shade of the trees walking was tough. There were several stops (by the water) for Harris to cool down, but also for us to rest. As we climbed higher and above the treeline, the heat became worse. No drop in temperature with gain of height today. No cooling breeze. We made it as far as the spot height at 727m, where Harris very patiently followed us around while we discussed slope aspect, before we decided it was simply too hot to continue – primarily for Harris, but also for our sakes.
So back down to nearest water course we went, where Harris once again happily sploshed around, and then we beat a retreat back into the forest, where, yes, it was still extremely warm, but there was at least some shade and usually a burn close at hand. A final dip in the Dee, retrieving various sticks, clearly made Harris’s day, and although we may not have got up into the high mountains, our day of navigation had been successful.
[Many thanks to Joan and Harris (owned by Lizzie). I hope that you both enjoyed your day, despite the extreme heat! Thanks also to the MWIS (www.mwis.org.uk), quoted above for 28th June.]