85th Annual General Meeting and 90th Anniversary Dinner

Date: Saturday 20 November 2021, 5:30pm (for prompt 6pm start)
Venue: Sunninghill Hotel, Elgin
Cost: £to be confirmed

At a meeting of mountain lovers held at Richmond Lodge on 15th November 1931 a club was formed to be known as the Moray Mountaineering Club…” This is the first line from the hand-written minutes of the inaugural meeting of the club, the original of which is in the club’s archives, with a copy available online. On 15 November 2021 the Moray Mountaineering Club will be NINETY YEARS OLD. To celebrate, the committee is organising a dinner at the Sunninghill Hotel in Elgin.

The 90th Anniversary dinner will be preceded by the club’s 85th Annual General Meeting. Details of the AGM will be issued by the Honorary Secretary in due course. Needless to say YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU. A number of committee members will be standing down and so the club needs your help. Any member can stand for election for any post, but in particular we have vacancies for Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary and President. If you want to know more about what these positions involve please contact the current committee member. You do not need to have any particular qualifications or experience to be on the committee; just enthusiasm and a willingness to put something back into the club. We are also interested in hearing from members that are willing to contribute on a less formal basis, such as arranging specific events. Here is a link to the current committee and the constitution.

Contact Alistair Jeffs (Honorary Secretary) to book your place and/or if you have any questions.

Night Navigation, 27 November 2021

Date: Saturday 27 November 2021, from 2pm
Location: Cabrach and Dufftown
Cost: £nil

Night Navigation Training session led by Sandy Muray and Alistair Jeffs. Meet at Alistair’s house in Dufftown at 2pm for an hour of so of navigation theory (and may be some tea and cake!), before heading off to the Cabrach before dusk.  Do some night-navigation practice on the moor, aiming to finish around 8pm. The event is open to all Club Members.  A map of the area will be supplied. Contact Alistair Jeffs to book your place and/or if you have any questions. 

Meet Report, Crianlarich, 2+3 Oct 2021

The weekend’s weather forecast was not looking good and several members developed last minute coughs.  Nevertheless, a hardy band of mountaineers / drinkers turned up for what turned out to be an excellent weekend. 

Always check the forecast

The long lost Dave G turned up on Friday with a crate of lemonade and, despite making remarkable progress through this, he was up early and off to bag a Corbett or two.  There’s nothing in the BRB, but it was a hill to the west of the A82 and sunscreen was not necessary. 

Adrian M and Minie went up Beinn Chabhair from Beinglass Campsite.  “Started with no character but managed to build one by the end of the day, and washed my clothes too.

Carol J had a list to tick and so she rounded up follow mountaineers Kelly M, Sheena F, Graeme M and Daniel M for a round of An Caisteal and Beinn a’ Chroin.  Dan had a plan to get to the start of the walk without going along the A82.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and true to form, this route required a little bush whacking and a leap over the River Falloch.  Team Jack ascended An Caisteal and then stopped for second breakfast in a sheltered spot just beyond the summit.  A surprisingly steep ascent of Beinn a’ Chroin was rewarded by brief views down to Loch Voil.  Passed a very tame Ptarmigan on the descent and then squelched along the “path” down the glen to our starting point.  A good day out.

George H ascended Tuillich Hill and Beinn Bhreac on the north side of the little known Glen Douglas (half way down Loch Lomond).  “Monsoon set in from the start.  Mobile phone wouldn’t work as it was so wet.  Map and compass job from then on.” 

Ben W, Wendy S and Anta Misina set off slightly after team Jack, with the same route in mind.  They also experienced some bushwhacking in the initial stages (they must have overhead Dan’s plan on Friday night).  The summits were bagged and the soggy trio returned down the glen.  They elected to cross the river high up and stick to the right bank, which avoided the river crossing, but incurred even more bog and gullies instead.  There was a minor navigational disagreement as they approached the finish line, but fortunately Ben kept Wendy and Anta right.

Brent didn’t write anything in the BRB, but he got value for money out of the drying room on Saturday night so we presume he went for a walk somewhere. 

Sunday’s forecast was for more rain and so most folk headed home.  Carol and Graeme had their sights set on Beinn Challuim, but the sheets of rain proved a worthy opponent.  Dan and Sheena headed north for some gear shopping in Fort William, but the skies cleared as they crossed Rannoch Moor and the FOMO was strong.  After a quick change of clothes at the Kings House they headed for Beinn Chrulaiste.  The clag, wind and rain soon returned and looked set for the day, but like a miracle, the sun came out within seconds of arriving at the summit cairn, providing the famed view of the Buachaille.  Another great day.  Babs and Ella may also have ascended Beinn Challuim, but they weren’t seen and no flag was left.  Adrian went mountain biking near Kenmore.

A great meet, many hills climbed and strong characters built.

Words and Photos by Dan

Meet Report, Geology Walk on Cairngorm, Sunday 25 July 2021

A group of enthusiasts set out from Coire Cas car park fairly early :  Alistair (leader), Maurice, Jake, Simon, David, Lenny, Babs, Ella, Shelagh, Graham, Annika, Rob.  At least, these were the starting numbers.

Alistair had done a previous reccy of the route and led us down towards the Sugar Bowl, out to Chalamain Gap, up (steeply!) to summit of Lurcher’s Crag, out to the plateau and onto top of Coire an t-Schneachda, up to Cairngorm summit, out to eastern tors, down to top of Coire Mhearaid and back down path to car park, a route of about 17k and much ascent.

Alistair had put a fantastic amount of work into the day, and was full of knowledge and learning.  However, Lenny nearly stole his thunder, and turned out to have an incredible knowledge of geology which complemented Alistair’s, so we were doubly fortunate.

I don’t pretend to have any knowledge of the subject, but being on a field trip and seeing such amazing examples on Cairngorm certainly gave most of us an appetite for geology. Amongst many things discussed and examples seen were:

Different periods of geology ( eg Dalradian)

Effects of the Ice Age on Cairngorms e.g. Truncated spur, Devil’s Point; glacial moraines, ice dam lakes (Loch Einich), glacial troughs and corries ( Coire an Lochain) kettle holes formed by melting ice blocks (Loch Morlich) Other features observed included soliflucation lobes on Coire an Lochain, etchplains and deflation surfaces on the plateau, the Tors on various locations and how they were formed, nivation hollows and ploughing boulders on Coire Mhearaid, metamorphosed Dalradian rocks.

Despite Alistair being a great leader and so much interest being shown, he somehow began to lose his group, most of the renegades claiming injury etc.  Firstly Lenny (including all his knowledge) dropped off, didn’t even stay for lunch, Simon and Jake were polite enough to have lunch with us, then disappeared via Lurcher’s, Maurice accompanied us to Coire Raibert and was last seen bounding down said Coire with large rucksack to go camping at Loch Avon.

However, less is more, so they say, and we enjoyed a lovely second break on the eastern Tors.  Ella was so exhausted with her learning that she fell fast asleep up there and had to be awakened for the descent!

Thanks so much to Alistair for all the work he put in to make this such an interesting day for us along with a great walk.  I hope he does another one sometime.

Report by Babs Kizewski

Weekend Meet Report, Glen Brittle, 4&5 Sept 2021

The joy of moving on rock: visiting 6 Munros avec des amis dans le grenier

6 Skye Munros over the two days.

Day 1: Am Basteir and Nan Gillean from the Slig (Alistair, Carol, Graeme, Adele)

After minor navigational alterations seeking bare rock we ended up on the North East Ridge to Sgurr a Bhasteir.  This yielded pleasant scrambling and a bonus introduction to the day.  After cutting under the Tooth we quickly followed the ridge directly to the ‘Bad Step’.  Overcoming this with a short abseil to the left we summited and were soon back at the ‘Bad Step’/ VDiff slab which we all decided to solo rather than the planned ascent where we’d left the rope.

Over to Nan Gillean and along the ledge.  A long conversation on which route to follow resulted in back footing up the extreme midge infested Tooth Chimney Continuation along the West Ridge to the summit was swift as we continued to be chased by the midge heavy in the humid and stifling air.  The descent along the south east ridge provided its interest to be followed by the screes, with a few ‘foot breaks’ during midge happy hour, back to the Slig’s steaming Chicken Balmoral.

Day 2:  In Pin and the ridge to Fater (Alistair, Carol, Graeme, Adele, Pieter)

A large club party (within some clag) followed the ridge up to the In Pin, with our wee gang staying on to summit.  Some trepidation and other emotions followed.

A big bag of courage was located and at first Alistair, with Carol and Graeme roped behind, did the deed! Round 2 Alistair led new member Pieter with mission accomplished once more.

The fresh breeze soothed us and the cloud lifted providing spectacular views. Adrenaline was high and some ‘post In Pin’ fears rippled about as we moved along the Main Ridge to Banachdaich, Moody and Greedy or in best gaelic ‘Greta and Fater’.   Not long after we were back at the Hut for food, singing and a deserved late night.

N.B.  It was really grand to see folk again along with new members.

The pied piper leading the way

Words by Alistair Jeffs (probably), photo by D Moysey

Weekend Meet Report, Shiel Bridge, 6 & 7 August 2021

A few plans were made for something to do on the journey over to Sheilbridge and changed many times which is usual for me.  With all the toys onboard I decided on a paddle from Plockton so left and headed through the small islands towards Kishorn couple of lumps of merely there getting dismantled probably.  Flat calm as I hugged the coast back round and landed on a wee island with a massive well built cairn on it would be interesting to know what for. Lot of seals going about.

Saturday had a late start and headed straight up Ben Screel steep going up and steep coming down.  Clear till just before I summited. Lovely vies coming back down.  On the way back I whizzed down on the Ebike to Sandaig for a look at the memorial.  I met a young couple on the top of Ben Screel who had anchored their yacht here and walked up from there. Trying to mine if I was over that keen. Cycled up from Kintail centre part of the Affric way. Once on the single track I thought there were too many drainage ditches sometimes 3 or 4 in a row 10 feet apart took the fun out of it so about turn. Great weather all weekend plus the added bonus of some midgies at the campsite.  Good on the campers for enduring them I was ok in van but felt so guilty I never put any repellent on.

Five Sisters – Dianne and Brent Craig. The morning after the evening midge hell and nothing had improved. Made some midge sandwiches and had a cup of tea with plenty of black flecks in. Waved everybody else off or were they just swatting the national bird of Scotland?

It was a relief to get on the hill steep as it is to get up to the bealach between the brothers and sisters rounds. Turning left we headed up to the hill of the Spaniards, rocky and rough ground but at least there was a path unlike my previous outing 34 years ago! Then it was snowy with low cloud and a cold wind, today the ridge was clear and the air was still and warm. After a short break we headed down the narrow and rocky ridge towards the first Munro of the day. We were in no rush as it was so warm and heavy and anyway it was as well to go carefully as there are some tricky bits to camber down.

After what seemed an age we got to the bealach and looked up to the first Munro and sister of the day. A steady pull up with quite a few breathers as we wiped away the muggy sweat and admired the tremendous views over to the South Clunie ridge. Reaching the top we had a leisurely lunch of haslet and midge rolls. All we could see in every direction was fabulous hills with the Sgurr Fhuaran, our last Munro of the day, the awe inspiring. Festooned with rocky ridges and walls it looked almost impossible. After a tiresome and foot hammering descent off Munro number 1 and then ascent and descent of Munro number 2, we stood at the bottom of this incredible looking hill.

Another break and a little more refreshment and we set off up the steep ridge. Like many hills though it looked more impressive from a distance than up close. That said the views from the top were fantastic and it really felt like a mountain top, sharp and exposed. As we dropped down the west side the North ridge and the remaining two sisters came into view. Wow, what a fabulous ridge, what a pleasure to be here in such brilliant weather. The descent down towards Loch Duich was long and a little painful on our hot battered feet. Having said that it was without doubt one of my favourite descents, the views were fabulous, awe inspiring walls of rock punctuated by steep swooping gullys. It went on and on but at such a shallow easy angle. Then it ended with a two mile road walk back to midge hell. 

Report by Alistair Jeffs: It was fantastic to get out again to the weekend Club Meet at Kintail.  The sun shone and banter resumed.  On Friday I warmed up with a solo of Beinn na Lapp.  The 3 hour return train allowed for a massive wedge of hazelnut chocolate cake and irn bru at Corrour station.  On to Glensheil where I camped in the cheap seats but was very grateful to be invited over to Dianne and Brent’s (the posh side of the street) for a rhubarb gin and a padded seat.  Dinner wasn’t bad either… Adi’s showcase cooked steak was washed down with David’s Aonach Eagach beer.

Saturday: the Forcan Ridge lived up to its expectations as myself and Adele took great delight in keeping one eye on the geology and flora and the other on our foot holds.  Sunday over to Loch Quoich where we did a round of the 2 munros and I was provided endless oatcakes and apple.  Great views.  Peter joined me on Monday for my penultimate munro.  Very generously he provided peppermint tea and fruit cake (I provided map and compass for my part); and even more generously he served a fine dram of Glen Moray as celebration at the summit.

Words (and spelling) by Colin Cowie

Sports Climbing Workshop, 23 & 24 October 2021

Date: 23 and/or 24 October 2021
Location: Kingussie
Cost: £15.00 per person per day

There will be a Club Sports Climbing Workshop, led by Ben Gibson from Mountaineering Scotland, at Kingussie on the bolted crag (see UK Climbing). This is a great opportunity for members to do some sport climbing, practice safe techniques and learn new skills & techniques.

The workshop is open to all Club Members and will be tailored to participants needs, experience and skill levels. You can be an absolute beginner, intermediate or advanced. All equipment can be provided or you can bring your own.

You can attend one or both days. Contact Alistair Jeffs to book your place. Contact Alistair or the Club’s climbing co-ordinator, Ben Watson, if you have any questions.

Order of the Golden Boot Award, 2021

Have you (or more likely a fellow club member) ever set off with only one boot, ascended the wrong hill, or got lost in the car park. If so, it’s time to submit your nomination for the annual Order of the Golden Boot Award – simply email a description of the event to Alistair Jeffs by 31 October 2021. The “winner” will be announced at the 90th Anniversary Dinner. See here for the illustrious list of previous winners.

MMC Calendar 2022

Time to look through all the magnificent photos you’ve been taking of Scotland over the past twelve months (approximately) and select a few gems for consideration for the 2022 MMC calendar. Send your photos to moraymountaineeringclub@gmail.co by 31 October.

Photographs should preferably be taken during the past twelve months (ish) and have some connection to the club’s “raison d’etre”… landscapes, wildlife, club meets, social events, activities etc. If there are any recognisable faces in the photographs then please confirm that you’ve obtained permission. Landscape format only. High resolution is preferable so that the pictures can really shine!