Weekend Meet Report, October 2019, Skye

This year’s traditional meet to Skye, with a good crowd of 20 people, was notable for several reasons – the organiser actually attended for the first time in six months; we had the key code in good time so we knew we would get in and everything worked. It was also notable for the sheer length of all the entries in the big red book, so this report will be a heavily abbreviated version.

For several the weekend started early and Friday saw Adrian M and Minnie (his dog) on Blaven enjoying the great views in the late afternoon. Meanwhile Carol J and Adele N, before Carol started writing War & Peace, finally made it to the summit of Aonach Meadhoin on their third attempt. Starting from near the Cluanie Inn at 3:30pm they were surrounded for much of the way by bellowing stags in full rut. On her way across, Evelyn explored the Balmacara Woodland Walk near Kyle and then went for another walk up Glen Sligachan, also surrounded by the bellowing of the rutting stags and enjoying some clear views of the Cuillin ridge.

Glen Brittle Hut

Adrain – Pretty handy with a mop for a sparky. (But such a waste of beer)

Alan and Fiona D, in full Corbett ticking mode, climbed the Druin na Ruaige ridge onto Beinn Dearg Mheidhonaich. A quick descent to the bealach was followed by the steep climb to Beinn Dearg Mhor and then another steep descent down the scree slopes. This was third time lucky for them too – previous attempts on Beinn Mhor having been defeated by rain and high winds. Although the wind was chilly it was clear and they too were able to enjoy good views of the Cuillins. At this point we should mention that Alan has now been a member of the club for thirty years. This is not as long as three of the others on this meet who found their names in the Hut logbook from a MMC meet in October 1985. It is satisfying to note that despite all the intervening years none of us look a day older.

The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was for Saturday to get steadily worse and for Sunday to eventually get better. Saturday morning therefore saw an early start for most; many of whom probably later wished that they had started even earlier.

Adrian, with Minnie running behind, cycled the Loch Eynort loop in Glenbrittle forest.

Andy B took a gentle plod into Glen Banachdich with the rain getting heavier and the wind getting up to knock-you-over strength. He was rewarded by a good sighting of a sea eagle which unusually was having to flap its wings rather energetically.

Corrie Laggan

Approach to Corrie Laggan

Dan ‘Tigger’ Moysey was suffering from an unusual attack of lassitude, which may or may not have had its origins in excesses the evening before. However, everyone else was busy getting ready for adventures so he suffered an attack of FOMO and hastily packed his bag for a wander into Coire Laggan where he met some of the others. At this point in his account a further attack of lassitude struck and he left it to them to continue the story.

One of these others, Carol, in volume two of War & Peace, takes up the story. “I was undecided what to do so ran after Andy, Jan and Alison Ross, to have a look at the Great Stone Chute, with no hopes of making it to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair due to the forecast strong winds. We stopped to admire the waterfall and some lochans and were eventually joined by Dan at the bottom of the GSC. Alison headed back at that point and we eventually made it up to the ridge. Surprisingly the winds were not as bad as predicted so we scrambled up to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair. There were no views so we headed back down the Chute, stopping again for a second lunch. It was pretty wet.”

Sgurr Alasdair

Carol, Jan, Andy and Dan on summit of Sgurr Alasdair

Susan J had a pleasant wet and windy walk along the coastal path to Rubha an Dinain, meeting Alison on the way. Debbie R, enjoying her first trip to the Cuillins also walked into Coire Lagan, with Evelyn, only getting blown over once.

Alan and Fiona used the poor forecast as the stimulus to take the car over to Raasay where the first stop on their explorations was for cake and coffee at Raasay House whence they enjoyed the superb views back to Skye. Suitably fortified they walked up Dun Caan, where there was no wind at all. A quick jaunt up Callum’s road was followed by another stop at Raasay House and the new distillery.

Meanwhile Ben and Joe thought they would put ‘Mountaineering’ back into the MMC. In full knowledge of the weather forecast and rucksacks bulging with climbing gear they set off into the hills with plans. But Amphitheatre Arete had other ideas and it started to rain as they reached its base. 300′ up the rain was heavier, the wind was stronger, the clouds were something illegible, fingers were numb and the slabby rock had become a series of waterfalls, so Joe fixed a belay and brought Ben up to join him for a quick conference. This led to the unanimous decision to beat a hasty retreat so they abseiled and down-climbed to the base and bravely ran away.

Meanwhile, further to the north Adele was keen to bag a peak on the ridge. Despite the forecast she coerced two easily led souls, Sheena and Simon, to join her on an attempt on Bruach na Frith. The head wind on the ridge proved too strong so they traversed into the corrie for a more sheltered approach. The cloud was only just down on the summit but the rain held off and the wind had dropped a bit so it was a better day than anticipated.

Someone who has chosen to remain anonymous, but by a process of elimination was probably Robert R, on a flying visit from London, headed back to the mainland to climb A Ghlas Bheinn. He had fewer problems than the day before when after climbing Beinn Fhada he went wrong on the descent and dropped into Coire Chaoil and reascended to Sgurr a Choire Garbh. He descended a long ridge in the mist and the dark, not getting back to the car until 19:45. He then got stuck in the roadworks and didn’t make it to the hut until nearly 10:00.

Drummond and Ella headed north with a long drive to the Quirang. This, like the Fairy Pools, has been discovered by hordes of tourists, so having paid their £5 parking fee they joined the throngs on the path who eventually thinned out by the time they got to the far end. They had excellent views and visibility and they explored the Prison, the Table and the Needle. A spectacular location. They headed back in heavy rain. Apparently the Quirang features as the backdrop to a very popular video game in the far east so is a ‘must see’ for many tourists. The road to the Quirang is disintegrating rapidly; as is the road to Glenbrittle. This keeps the local garages busy and we were joined in the hut on Saturday night by a young couple who had badly dunted a wheel rim and had to wait until the next day for a call-out.

Saturday night saw the usual sampling of traditional beverages and Sunday morning dawned wet and cloudy as forecast. Consequently most people decided to head for home, though Andy, Jan and Robert headed for Blaven. The rest is known only to those who were there.

Words by Simon.  Photos by Dan and Carol

Weekend Meet, Inchnadamph, 1+2 Nov 2019

Date:           Nights of Fri 1 and Sat 2 November 2019
Venue:        Inchnadamph Lodge (Google Maps) Grid Reference NC 252 218
Facilities:  Well equipped kitchen, drying room, loads of space, log fires, bunks
Cost:           £17.50 pppn  for the dorm and £27 pppn for the twin rooms, (£5 pppn camper’s charge applies)

A mere two days is grossly inadequate to do justice to Assynt.  Activities include lots of great hills (Ben Mor Assynt, Conival and Glas Bheinn are all on the doorstep), caving (See Caves of Assynt by SNH), climbing at Reiff and kayaking.

Saturday night is traditionally fancy dress.  This year’s theme is ‘ANIMALS’ so this is your chance to let the inner beast reveal itself.

If you don’t want to share a dormitory with a bunch of snorers, then there are some twin/double rooms, £27 pppn.

Contact Simon Jacyna to book your place. Also let Simon know in advance if you fancy a caving trip and he will provide further information. This is usually to the Allt nan Uamh stream cave, which is damp but not wet. There is some scrambling and crawling but nothing that is too difficult.  Helmet, TORCH, BATTERIES, spare torch and spare batteries are essential.

Bus Meet, Dundonnell, 20 October 2019

When:                                Sunday 20 October 2019
Final Bus Stop:                 Corrie Hallie Car Park (Grid Ref NH 114 850)
Pick up times:                   Elgin (07:00); Forres (07:20); Nairn (07:40); Inverness (08:00)
Est time of arrival:           09:50
Time of Departure:          18:00
Cost:                                    £15.00pp
Ordnance Survey Maps: 19/20

This is a popular venue in the Northwest Highlands. The big objective here is An Teallach, comprised of two Munros: Bidean a’ Ghlas Thuill and Sgurr Fiona (and lots of Munro tops). There are several routes of ascent. One directly from Dundonnell and another from Corrie Hallie up to Ghlas Thuill are straightforward. A longer route from Corrie Hallie via Sail Liath offers enjoyable but exposed scrambling.

Worthwhile alternatives to An Teallach in the Dundonell area are Sail Mhor, an ascent of Beinn nam Ban (Marilyn) or a low-ish level walk into Shenavall bothy and back. Various hills in the Fannichs can also be done on this meet by leaving the bus at earlier points.

Contact Gordon Eccleston by 21:00 on Thursday before the meet to book your seat.

Weekend Meet Report, Torridon, September 2019

On Thursday afternoon #Fa’sTheLingKey, #FtShallWeDo and #TheBoot were all trending on the MMC social media platforms. We had a problem: the Ling Hut key had not arrived in the post. Those in the know may suggest looking under the “obvious” stone. But in Torridon there are a lot of stones, most of which are pretty obvious. After some considerable head scratching, we decided that that the situation was so serious that we needed to call Burghead Mountain Rescue. BMR duly supplied a key, for which we are very grateful.

My first memories of the Ling hut are from the MMC’s Hogmanay meet over ten years ago. In those days the hut was rather basic. These days it’s got solar electric lights, running water (err, well that didn’t actually work) and even a COMBINATION keypad on the door!

The early crew, comprising David, Alistair & Adele, started their adventures on Friday. David, Alistair and Adele set off from the Ben Alligin car park and ascended through wind and rain. Sometime later there was no more up…mission accomplished.

Ben Aligan (Adele N, David T, Alistair J)

Ben Alligin (Adele N, David T, Alistair J)

Alistair and David (with Adele hovering, clearly struggling with the early symptoms of FOMO) spent Friday night muttering about the big one, the one out the back, a rough descent, the grey hump, a jaggedy bit and another grey one. The pair was up and away early on Saturday morning and the BRB records their motto “a little less procrastination – a little more action” and their exploits (after Alistair had returned to the hut for his sun hat): “Went up Beinn Eighe and down to Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair [presumably via the other one]. Walked around to the start of Liathach, scrambled up for a photo shoot with Annie McD [ask David to explain]. Across the pinnacles then down to the car for a stop at the Torridon Inn”.

Adele, Anta, Sheena and Daniel set their sights on a “half day” east to west traverse of Liathach. “We searched for the scramble up the east end, but after spending some time dithering around on steep heather beneath a large cliff, we decided to accept the scree slope instead. A short scramble led to the first top (Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig). The views were stupendous: from Ben Nevis in the south to the hills of Assynt in the north. The weather couldn’t have been better. Anta may be new to the club, but despite hailing from a country where the topography plateaus out at a lofty 311.5m, she’s clearly no stranger to the scrambling scene. She led the way along the pinnacles like a squirrel scampering up a tree. We lounged around on the final summit (Mullach an Rathain) before accepting the inevitable…the one thousand meter descent into Glen Torridon. Great day”.

IMG_2504 Liathach - Adele N, Anta M, Sheena F

Adele, Anta and Sheena on the Summit of Liathach

IMG_2526 Liathach - Adele N, Anta M, Sheena F

Adele, Anta and Sheena approaching the Liathach Pinnacles

Evelyne, Jan and Andy also had a (9 hour) “half day” on Beinn Eighe. “Beautiful sunny day, no clouds, hot at times with a slight breeze. Walked into Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair and from there up to the col and onto the first munro of the day. Breathtaking views all around. Back onto the main ridge to the second munro and then the long walk back to the hut”. Evelyn was positively beaming all evening!

Saturday night was spent enjoying pleasant conversation, drinking the odd beer and frustrating David’s persistent efforts to turn the fire up to max. Colin C even popped in for a chat, before returning to his van. The weather forecast for Sunday was less good. Most of the tickers had enough ticks and went home. Colin was last seen heading towards Loch Torridon with his boat and Daniel & Sheena went to Strathpeffer to practice their mountain biking skills.

Words by Dan. Photos by Dan and Adele.

Weekend Meet, Skye (Glen Brittle), 4 & 5 Oct 2019

Date:           Nights of Fri 4 and Sat 5 October 2019
Venue:        Glenbrittle Memorial Hut, Glenbrittle, Skye
Location:   Glenbrittle, Skye. OS Grid Ref: NG412216, Google StreetView
Facilities:  18 bunks (sleeping bags required), well equiped kitchen, drying room, showers, WCs
Cost:            £10.00 per person per night (usual £5 pppn camper’s charge applies)

The Glenbrittle hut is ideally situated for access to the Cuillin Ridge. Literally walk out the door for access to the hills from Sgurr na Banachdich to Sgurr nan Eag.

Nearby Hills: Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastier, Bruach na Frithe, Sgurr Mhadaidh, Sgurr Ghreadaidh, Sgurr na Banachdich, Sgurr Dearg (& In Pinn), Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Dubh Mor and Sgurr nan Eag or all of these in a full Cuillin Ridge traverse. Loads more hills a bit further afield including all the Red Cuillin and Trotternish ridge. The Isle of Raasay is also well worth a visit not to mention lots of great climbing on superb rock.

Please contact Simon Jacyna to book a place on this meet.

Bus Meet, Grey Corries, 15 Sept 2019

******* CANCELLED ******

When:                         Sunday 15 September 2019
Bus Stop:                    Spean Bridge, Nevis Range, Pulldubh (Glen Nevis)
Pick up times:           Elgin (07:00); Forres (07:20); Nairn (7:40); Inverness (08:00)
Est. time of arrival: 09:45 (Spean Bridge), 10:00 (Nevis Range Gondola), 10:30 (Pulldubh)
Time of departure:  17:30 (Pulldubh), 18:00 (Nevis Range Gondola), 18:15 (Spean Bridge),
Cost:                            £15.00 pp

A full traverse of the Grey Corres from Pulldubh to/from Spean Bridge is probably a bit optimistic (unless you are Finlay Wild).  More realistic options include the two Corbetts (Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse) or Stob Ban from Spean Bridge; the Aonachs (from the Gondola car park) or a traverse of the Aonachs from Pulldubh.  The gondola opens at 10:00, so there is the opportunity to pay £11 for a day ticket and get a lift some of the way up!  From Pulldubh you could tackle one of the munros in the Grey Corries, or have a low level walk up Glen Nevis, or tackle one of the munros on the south of Glen Nevis.

You are free to alight/rejoin the bus anywhere along its route down the Great Glen, which potentially opens up other opportunities such as the hills to the north of Loch Lochay (Meal Odhar and Sgurr a Coire Ghairbh).  The more imaginative among you may well be able to engineer a traverse.

Contact Al Dennis or Gordon Eccleston by 21:00 on Wednesday 11 September to book a seat.

Weekend Meet Report, Lagangarbh, August 2019

Lagangarbh is one of the most iconic mountaineering huts in Scotland, nestling as it does in a picturesque location at the foot of Buachaille Etive Mor. It was originally a crofting home, but has been maintained by the Scottish Mountaineering Club since 1946.

Lagangarbh

Lagangarbh, Glen Coe

For an increasingly large proportion of Moray Mountaineers, the weekend starts shortly after the last one finished. Alistair and Adele were the first of such “mid-weekers”. On Thursday, they did a round including Bidean nam Bian and on Friday Stob Ghabhar and Stob a Coire Odhair from Victoria Bridge.

Alan and Fiona walked west from Victoria Bridge to the Graham Beinn Suidhe. “Very hot and sunny. Thought we had escaped the forecast showers but got a real soaking on the walk out.” They also spotted a fox running across the open hillside.

Fiona Cuninghame and Bob MacDonald ascended Bidean nam Bian via Stop Coire nan Lochan with plenty of time to look at recent path work by the National Trust for Scotland. “Superb views all the way along the ridge to Stob Coire Sgreamhach before a tired decent through the superbly atmospheric Lost Valley”.

Bob S was another early starter. He focused his efforts on the Glen Etive Corbetts, with an ascent of the rather steep, Stob Dubh on Friday followed by Beinn Trilleachan on Saturday.

Saturday dawned misty, but the forecast was reasonable, apart from the risk of heavy showers later. Adrian mountain biked to Bridge of Orchy and back with his dog Minnie. Most of the journey was along the West Highland Way, with a detour to the Glen Coe Ski Centre for a few pints and another detour into a bog…Adrian’s write-up is non-specific on the order of these events.

IMG_2446 Sheena and Alistair

Sheena and Alistair on Curved Ridge

Alistair, Sheena and Dan left the hut, turned right and went up. The BRB records “misty clag at 8am was not promising, but it was great to walk from the hut straight up the hill. We were soon rewarded as the clag cleared and the route revealed itself. Fantastic sustained scrambling with panoramic views of Rannoch Moor and beyond. Took a minor detour to take in Crowberry Tower. Had second lunch on the summit (apart from Alistair, who had made the mistake of eating all his lunch at first lunch). Continued along the ridge to the western summit for third lunch (Alistair watched). Descended by a good path into the Lairig Gartain and had a cool off in the river.”

IMG_2454 Buchaille Etive Mor Resident

Buchaille Etive Mor’s local resident

Alan, Fiona and Adele ascended Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain from Bridge of Orchy. “Headed up to the Bealach following the stream most of the way. Boiling hot day! Stopped to soak our feet in the stream en route. Visited the 3 tops on Beinn an Dothaidh. Continued back to the bealach and on up to the ridge of Beinn Dorain (Alan’s last munro 18 years ago). Two great hills.”

Beinn Dorain Fiona and Alan

Alan and Fiona on Beinn Dorain

Bob and Fiona went up Beinn Mhanach. “lovely walk through the glen followed by a long slog up to the top. Rather than heading down in such stunning weather we nipped across to Beinn a’ Chuirn. Seemed foolish to head back to the bealach (what do the guidebooks know), so took a “short cut’ down and spent the next hour regretting it. Loads of butterflies out in the sunny weather.”

Midge Forecast

Midge Forecast (“5” = 24 million per hectare)

Everyone returned safely to the hut and the hordes of tourists on the A82 eventually dispersed to their B&Bs. Time to crack open a beer on the veranda and watch the sun set? …Err no. The resident human population in the vicinity of Lagangarbh is sparse, but you are not alone! According to the latest census, 24 million midges inhabit the hectare of land surrounding the hut (and every other hectare of prime habitat). Suffice to say, that we hurried inside and bolted the door (rather futile since even the key hole could accommodate the simultaneous passage of hundreds of the blighters).

Sunday was wet and so most folk went home (via various tea shops), but Adele and Sheena continued their adventures with another three hill days.

Words by Dan; Photos by Adele and Dan

Weekend Meet: Torridon, 6+7 Sept 2019

Date:          Nights of Fri 6 & Sat 7 September 2019
Venue:       Ling Hut, Torridon
Location:  Hut is located on the south side of Glen Torridon at gird ref NG958562 (it’s about 750m walk from the car park). Google Maps
Facilities:  Cooking and heating by propane gas.  Solar powered electric lighting.  Alpine-style bunks for twelve. According to the SMC’s website, there is even a drying room.  I’ve not been for a few years, but it’s probably better to consider this as a room to hang up wet items.
Cost:           £25 per person for the weekend (price corrected 30 Aug)

The Ling Hut is a good old fashioned mountaineering hut, so don’t expect luxury.  However, the location better than any five-start hotel can offer.  Beinn Eighe, Liathach, Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh, Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine are all walkable from the door of the hut.  All of the other Torridon hills are within a very short drive/cycle.  There is also plenty of bouldering and climbing on the doorstep.

Don’t forget your sleeping bag.   …and midge net.

Contact Simon Jacyna to book your place.

Bus Meet, Glen Quoich, 18 August 2019

When:                           Sunday 18 August 2019
Times and drop-offs: To be agreed with car-share companions
Cost:                              A share of the fuel
Maps:                            Ordnance Survey Landranger 33

This is popular area, and justifiably so, Loch Quoich has three Munros on its North side and one to its South. Gleouraich, with its good access path, can be combined with Spidean Mialach to give a fine day’s walking, while further west Sgurr a’Mhaoraich is normally ascended on its own. It also has a good path leading up into Coire nan Eiricheallach. To the south of Loch Quoich is the Munro Gairich, which can be climbed from the dam at the east end of Loch Quoich.

There are also a few Corbetts in the area. Corbetts previously undertaken on this meet include Meall na h-Eilde, Geal Charn and Sgurr an Fhuarain. The Grahams Meall Blair or Sgurr Choinich, to the South, should also be within range

This meet is by private car share. Contact Gordon Eccleston to notify your interest. Car shares will be arranged nearer the time.

Bus Meet (Cars), Lochnagar, 21 July 2019

When:                          Sunday 21 july 2019
Times and drop-offs: To be agreed with car-share companions
Cost:                              A share of the fuel
Maps:                            Ordnance Survey Landranger 44

The Lochnagar area offers many opportunities for hill walking and climbing, including the classic munro circuit of Cac Carn Beag, Carn a’ Choire Boidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Cairn Bannoch & Broad Carin, the Corbett Conachcraig or the classic climb, Eagle Ridge (250m, Severe).   For anyone wanting a more relaxing day, then there is always a wander through the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

This meet is by private car share.  Contact Gordon Eccleston to notify your interest.  Car shares will be arranged nearer the time.