YOUNG WILDCATS – Canisp Climb and Ptarmigan

November 9th 2018

18th October 2018 on the upper slopes of Canisp we watched the rain clouds rolling in from the south west and shrouding the hills to the south of us one by one.

My teenage daughter, Anna and I were taking a stroll up Canisp on a slightly dodgy weather day but all good practice for my navigation skills and Anna’s mountain awareness.  It was lunch time or rather later ….2pm….as we’d had a late start so we headed over to some small rocky crags facing northwards to try and get some shelter from the prevailing wind.  Ducking down and eating our sandwiches and yesterday’s bake, a rather good carrot cake, we heard the distinctive sound of Ptarmigan which we’d also heard on the way up but not spotted so far.  The noise was coming from up on top of the rocky section we were sheltered by.

Anna stuck her head up to peer over into the misty conditions.  “Can you see anything?”  “Yes there are loads of them…..14 I think?”  “What no, really?”  I was convinced she was having me on so that I would have to get up from my sheltered perch. Sure enough as I poked my head up I counted and reached 14 too.  “Quick take a photo.”  Anna took one snap, then headed round to try and get closer.  As she started to raise the phone again to take the photo a dog, which had passed us earlier with its owner, both heading to the summit in a hurry, barked somewhere in the mist. The birds scattered, flying off and disappearing into the clouds.

Oh well, some moments are meant to be enjoyed in the moment, so no great photographs I’m afraid! But, definitely a day this mother and daughter will long remember.

Fiona and Anna Saywell

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