Published 17th November 2014, 13:39

    IT’S always wise to have a Plan B when heading for the mountains, but recent monsoon weather saw me moving rapidly through the alphabet.

    Flooding, landslides, bridges washed away and roads closed - no wonder I was now on Plan J or K. 

    Even with the horrendous forecast, I still held this somewhat romantic notion that I could further close in on my third Munro finish. Just nine to go, and more than two months of the year left.

    The weather was clearing away south-eastwards during Tuesday, so my original plan had been to drive through the rain to Torridon where I would find Beinn Eighe sitting glistening in the sunshine.

    Part two of this expedition meant driving over to Dornie and then taking advantage of the now (allegedly) benign conditions by heading into the Cuillin.

    But optimism is one thing, foolhardiness something else entirely. The planned 7am departure from home would mean at least three hours of aquaplaning up the A9 before I could reach drier land, and even that was not guaranteed.

    Massively swollen rivers and streams could be washing across the landscape, smashing down trees and triggering mudslides to obliterate paths and throughways. In some places, the water would simply become a barrier impossible to overcome, rendering this long journey an arduous waste of time.

    As if to finally make up my mind, news came through that the A890 along the shores of Loch Carron - the road I had planned to use from Torridon to Dornie - had been shut by a landslide.

    This rollercoaster route,, with several rock faces heavily covered in protective wire netting, is one of the usual suspects for closures in wild weather. Back in 2011 it was out of action for four months after a huge landslip. It cost nearly £3million to put right.

    I had already ruled out a run to Fort William after the blockages on the A82 the previous evening. And then the other options starting collapsing one by one.

    The A835 road to Ullapool was closed for several hours by a landslip near Garve. The constantly troubled A83 Rest and be Thankful in Argyll and Bute and the A85 near Crianlarich were next to go.

    Even if you did reach Fort William from another direction, the Steall Falls path at the head of Glen Nevis was blocked, again by a landslip. In Sutherland, the Strathan Bridge was swept away. You’d get pretty good odds that it wouldn’t be the last one before the week is out.

    The disruption to ferry services over the past few days meant the Knoydart and island peaks were also off limits. Knoydart is one of the wettest places in Scotland and its hardy inhabitants take major rainfall in their stride but even they must have been looking on nervously as the waters of the Inverie river rose.

    Many years ago, it was said the biggest threat to walkers travelling in this area was not a mountain fall but drowning. Bridges are regularly swept away, and anyone who has walked in by the Barrisdale Path or the route from Glen Quoich in heavy rain can testify how terrifyingly quickly the waters rise.

    On one expedition we stopped in at the bothy at Barrisdale for some respite before continuing our trek over Ladhar Bheinn and down to Inverie. As we sat there drying off, I noticed a piece of paper on the wall warning that the bridge at Folach had been washed away.

    I thought it better that no one else saw this otherwise some may have been tempted to pull the plug there and then. We just crossed further upstream and there were no problems.

    And so, with so many fallers, I turned to Creag Meagaidh. It’s not often that the bogland rock is regarded as a stand-in but it seemed a logical choice. No closed roads, no river crossings, no major disruption - all I had to hope for was that conditions were better underfoot than its name would have you believe.