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:           £20 per person for the weekend

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.

Weekend Meet Report, Scourie, July 2019

It was Scourie Gala weekend, which meant that the town folk, including the campsite staff, were mostly occupied with tractors, drinking and more tractors. Dan and Sheena were greeted at the campsite entrance with a rather gruff “you were supposed to be here before six o’clock… park wherever you want.” The rest of team MMC (Maurice, Iain, Jake, Sam, Andy and Becky) dissipated to the four corners of the campsite (or in Andy and Becky’s case, the local cemetery). Rumours of a lone cyclist on the Tour de France prologue turned out to be Malcolm, who had battled Scotrail all the way to Lairg, followed by 70km into a headwind, before finally arriving at Scourie.

Andy and Becky were the first of three MMC parties to set foot on Handa Island. They were ready and waiting for the 9am ferry, which departed at a reassuringly west-coast 09:30. Once on the island, they did a spot of bird watching (Puffins, Arctic Skuas, Great Skuas, Razor Bills etc) and also ticked off the HUMP known as Sithean Mor (Altitude 123m).

Andy and Becky on the boat to Handa Island

Andy and Becky on the boat to Handa Island

Seabird City, Handa Island

Seabird City, Handa Island

This was Iain’s first official hillwalking outing with the MMC, “…and it was indeed a good one! I got picked up by Maurice from work and enjoyed the feeling of leaving my troubles behind and proceeding directly to the Northwest coast. Getting in mid evening there was only really enough time to pitch tents, prepare some simple dinner and introduce ourselves to Dan and Sheena. The highlight was definitely a tipple of choice on the edge overlooking Scourie Bay.

After waking the next morning, we [Iain and Maurice] set off first heading north through the gorse and peat towards the ferry to Handa Island. Waiting for the ferry was made more pleasant by bringing out a sketchbook which would become a common theme throughout the day. Handa Island was a very nice walk round, broken up by attacks by Skuas, sketches and talking to tourists from all over.

Puffin, Handa Island

Puffin, Handa Island

After a slight navigational blunder on the return trek we returned relatively late and I immediately set to cooking a delicious bean, chorizo and pepper stew! Ultimately I cooked far more than we could eat, so the leftovers were saved for later! The day finished with a few drinks in the Scourie Hotel telling tall tales of the past (and more recent tales of my own).”

Dan, Sheena and Malcolm followed in the footsteps of Maurice and Iain across the overland path from Scourie to Tarbert. The path is only about 5km on the map, but the reality proved much twistier and hillier. The eastern aspect of Handa Island is somewhat benign, but this all ends abruptly at the great cliffs that endure the full force of westerly gales. The cliffs, and especially the three legged “Great Stack”, are home to thousands of Razor Bills, Guillemots and Puffins and are patrolled overhead by Great Skuas (Bonxies). In 1876 three crofters from the Isle of Lewis reached the summit of the Great Stack using a Tyrolean traverse, which is sometimes cited as the first example of climbing for pleasure. A reconstruction in 2011, using period equipment, showed that it was feasible. There’s not much in the way of facilities on the island, so after a few hours we were looking forward to tea and cake at Tarbert (fuel for the return journey to Scourie). It was with no small amount of despair that we read the small handwritten sign informed us that the café was shut for the day.

The Great Stack

The Great Stack, Handa Island

On Sunday, Malcolm was up at Sparrow’s fart (we don’t know quite how early because he had left whilst the rest of us were still tucked up in bed). He set off south back towards Forres, this time with a tail wind. Rather like Forrest Gump, he just cycled on and on, eventually running out of water, food and legs at Nairn in time to catch a late train home. He might not have climbed any mountains, but he “scaled” Ben Nevis and more, climbing over 1800m and riding for 188km. Malcolm’s forthcoming Tour de Rhine will be a walk in the park after that!

Others had a more leisurely start. Dan and Sheena cycled long the rough track from Kylesku to Glendhu bothy. It’s a fine bothy in a fine location. The glen is surrounded on all sides by steep slopes and even steeper cliffs. The river cascades down the head of the valley in a series of waterfalls. A Golden Eagle soared overhead and various other birds chirped away in the occasionally warm sunshine. Coffee and (overpriced) cake was had at the Kylesku Hotel.

Sheena cycling in to Glendhu Bothy

Sheena cycling in to Glendhu Bothy

Iain went for a trail run, which turned into well over 16km by lunchtime. Meanwhile, Maurice completed his North coast tick-list, hiking Ben Stack in the same time.
Jake and Sam had the most leisurely of leisurely starts… but what happened after the start remains a mystery.

Words by Dan Moysey. Photos by Andy Lawson and Dan Moysey

Weekend Meet: Lagangarbh, 2+3 August 2019

Date:           Nights of Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August 2019
Venue:        Lagangarbh Hut, Glen Coe
Location:   OS Grid Ref NN 221 560.  There is a car park just off the A82, but you can carefully drive down a track to a second car park next to the river.  From here it is just a short walk to the hut.
Facilities:  Heating and cooking are by propane gas and electricity, lighting is electric. The hut has drying room, toilets and a shower.  Alpine bunks. No camping or fires allowed in the vicinity of the hut
Cost:           £10pppn

What to do: There is a plethora of hills of all shapes and sizes to choose from.  The classic scramble up Curved Ridge starts from almost the back door of the hut. For a poor weather option there is the climbing wall at Kinlochleven.

Contact Simon Jacyna to book your place.

Weekend Meet Report: Glen Affric 8+9 June 2019

Part 1 – The Adventures of Adele and Alistair

The Weekend Meet Report hasn’t yet made it off the printing press but Alistair Jeffs has kindly supplied a report of his and Adele’s wanderings on the weekend meet.

Months ago Adele planned to bag the Glen Affric Munros with some with wild camping thrown in. As the day approached the weather continued to look persistently bad but having considered various options we stuck to our guns. In the end, I’m all for bad
weather, low confidence forecasts as they serve to keep the less committed away and we mostly enjoyed the fine weather of the Affric Hills to ourselves.

We set off from the Mullardoch Dam at 1500 with our big, heavy bags of excitement. As the bit of Clag lifted, we enjoyed fine views in every direction including downwards at an array of wild flowers (Lousewort, Milkwort, Butterwort, Tormentil, Harestail Cottongrass, etc). The enjoyment of our ascent was increased with a
big lump of Robert’s (friend of Adele’s nfi) very delicious fruit cake. Miso Soup was offered to wash it down – umm not for me Sir thanks.

We ambled along the ridge over spot height 1129, conveniently placed to allow a descent to Am Socach 1 and onto to the Coire for our camp. The ground was saturated but by 2300 we found a relatively flat, dry grassy knoll. Having done all the usual wild camp
things I got my swede down. The next thing I heard was a tent zipper at 0400. The following morning it turned out to be Adele’s first shovel recce of many. Unfortunately she had caught some sort of bug. Luckily, she had very recently attended the Ladies’ Feshiebridge Mountain experience and was able to refuse my offer of extra tissues as it is traditionally vogue to use the readily available moss.

Though this does raise an ethical question in the light of the allegedly sexist “Music to Watch Girls Go By”, why in this age of equality wasn’t the Feshiebridge Experience open to all gender types. Part of this experience was to watch Girls coming dancing over the
brae and I’m sure that the Boys could have appreciated this aspect of mountaineering just as well.

The next day we enjoyed further fine views (including over to the Cullins), mostly separately as I strolled ahead by about 100m ahead to avoid any collateral yakking incidents. We completed the fine ridge walk of Chrysanthemum and the other two which was followed by a descent via the Coire rough, boggy path. For future reference, with hindsight, it would have been better to have descended on the An Socach 2 spur.

We arrived at Strawberry Cottage to meet Jake on OP OVERLEE bringing in the welcome comfort bags.

The next day we had an amazing walk doing Carn Eige and the other two (rewarded with ice-cream) but I’m sure others will raconte the adventures of the Saturday.

Having discussed the benefits of Ladies in the Mountains during our hike, I have now completely changed my shirt on doing a second round of Munros. A second round of bagging will be completed using the Nan Shepherd technique. If one can see the Munro summit looking upside down through their legs then it is bagged. This has the advantage of concurrently checking the nethers for ticks – thank you Jake for removing the one from my upper bottom.

Part 2: The adventures of David et al

Maurice and David. Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe, Beinn Fhionnlaidh and An Socach. Met early morning at the end of the Glen Affric road. I got to test out my new orange bike with fat tyres – no more ladies bike for me! Cycled in to Strawberry Cottage and Maurice set up his tent. Started alongside Loch Affric and up to the summit of Mam Sodhail. Continued along the ridge in fine weather over to Beinn Fhionnlaidh. Back along the ridge and noticed we had some time to spare. Decided to head along to An Socach and back to Strawberry Cottage. A fantastic day in great weather. Unfortunately my neck was peeling for a week after due to sun burn.

David, Dianne and Brent. An Socach (again), Mullach na Dherigain and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.  Cycle to Alltbeithe hostel where we were invited in by the warden for coffee. We then headed up to An Socach (yes the same An Socach as what I did yesterday). We met Alan and Fiona at the top, they were headed over to Mam Sodall. We then headed down the bealach and over to Mullach na Dheragain where the rain started. Over to Sgurr nan chrysanthemum and then back down for a cycle back to the cottage. A day with mostly great views with a one crash of thunder heard.

Membership Due for 2019-2020

Membership fees are due by the end of July.  The annual membership fee is £30, which includes Mountaineering Scotland affiliated membership.  [If you are already an individual member of Mountaineering Scotland, then it is £13.75]

Club Membership affords many benefits, including discounts at various outdoor shops, civil liability insurance, access to the Club library, access to Club equipment, access to Club Facebook Group and primarily the ability to attend Club Meets (see membership benefits). Lapsed members are not permitted to attend meets (so says the Club Constitution), so please get renewing to continue to enjoy Club Bus Meets, Weekend Meets, Climbing Meets and Social Meets.

The preferred method of payment is by BACS:
Bank:              RBS
Name:            Moray MC
Sort Code:     83 20 06
Account No: 10830480
Reference:    “subs + your surname”

Cheques should be made payable to “The Moray Mountaineering Club” and sent to Malcolm Campbell, Membership Secretary at: Invermay, 12 Bank Lane, Forres, IV36 1NU.

If you do not intend to renew, please inform Malcolm Campbell accordingly: Email: mcampbell078@hotmail.com

Weekend Meet: Scourie, 6+7 July

Date:            Nights of Friday 5 and Saturday 6 July 2019
Venue:          Scourie Campsite
Location:     Scourie, Grid Ref: NC 154 447 (Google Maps)
Facilities:    All the usual campsite facilities.  WiFi.
Cost:             Prices as advised on Scourie Campsite’s website.

What to do: Assynt is packed with fantastic hills and coastline.  Some of the best hills include Foinaven, Arkle and Ben Stack.  For those seeking more adventurous routes, there is at least one good scramble on the northeast face of Foinaven.  Handa Island , with its spectacular sea cliffs and sea bird colonies, is also very close by (Check ferry times here – no ferry on Sundays).  If you’ve never been to Sandwood Bay, then don’t miss the opportunity.

Contact Simon Jacyna to book a place on this meet (However, you will need to contact the campsite directly to book your own tent/van spot).