Ladder Hills bus meet
Sunday 18th March 2018
O.S.Map: 36 (& 37)
The bus will leave Elgin at 7:00, with the usual pick up points of Forres (7:20), Nairn (7:40) and Inverness (8:00). We should arrive at the final drop off point (car park at NJ242209) by 9:30/9:40 (dependent upon road conditions). The bus will depart at 17:00 to allow time for a refreshment stop at Grantown or Aviemore.
The club had previously attempted this as a Christmas meet walk, but the road conditions prevented the coach from our destination. So, a slightly different approach this time: parking at Chapeltown and doing a circuit of Carn Mor (an 840m Corbett). There are plenty of alternatives: low level walks in this area (Glen Livet) as well as other hills that can be tackled via different drop off points e.g. the Corbett Carn Ealasaid.
Remember that although it is officially Spring that this walk/hill would classify as a winter walk. Check out he Mountaineering Scotland website for advice on suitable gear/advice on summer and winter walking. The club has some equipment, crampons, ice axe and helmet, that can be borrowed for bus and weekend meets. Please let me know if you require any equipment.
Contact Gordon Eccleston by email or phone (01343 842314) or text (07884 358077) or via the MMC Facebook page by the evening of Wednesday 14th March to book a seat on the bus for this meet.
The Moray Mountaineering Club’s 81st Annual General Meeting will be held at 19:30 on Tuesday 20 March 2018 at the Druthie Cobbler, Elgin. Please support your club by attending (one free drink for members).
The management of the Club is vested in a committee comprising the Office Bearers (President, Vice President x 2, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary) and four Members. The current committee is:
- President: Simon Jacyna
- Vice President 1: Malcolm Campbell
- Vice President 2: Daniel Moysey
- Honorary Treasurer: Alasdair Dennis
- Honorary Secretary: Katie Dyke
- Committee Member 1: Gordon Eccleston
- Committee Member 2: Al Dennis
- Committee Member 3: Ben Watson
- Committee Member 4: Vacant
Any member may stand for any of the positions. You do not need any particular experience just enthusiasm. The allocation of specific roles and responsibilities is not defined in the Club’s constitution, but the current arrangements are:
- Weekend meet co-ordinator (Simon Jacyna)
- Bus meet co-ordinator (Gordon Eccleston)
- Climbing co-ordinator (Ben Watson)
- Membership (Malcolm Campbell)
- Website (Al Dennis)
- Newsletter (Daniel Moysey)
- Library (Katie Dyke)
- Equipment (Ben Watson)
Annual General Meeting will be followed by
- The J. Alister Sword photography competition (Click here for more information)
- A slideshow by Robbie Roberts.
The annual J. Alister Sword photography competition will take place after the Annual General Meeting on 20 March 2018. The competition rules are:
1. Competition is open to current members of the Moray Mountaineering Club only.
2. Two categories: “Scottish” and “Non-Scottish”.
3. Any subject with a mountaineering theme (landscapes, people, macros, wildlife, etc.).
4. Entries must have been taken in the last 12 months.
5. Submit up to a maximum of two photographs per category.
6. Entries must be made as hard-copy on the night (please write your name and photo details on the reverse).
2019 Calendar. All entries for the Scottish category will be considered for The Moray Mountaineering Club’s 2019 calendar… but only if you email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unlike the competition, there is no limit to the number of photos that you can submit for the calendar (within reason!). Please email at the full resolution and include a description (location, date…etc).
Last year’s competition winners…
Inbhirfhaolin, or Ibuprofen to give it its true Gaelic pronunciation, is renowned for many things. Its staggering beauty, the ferocity and grandeur of its majestic peaks which rise from the sea with such relentless pitch and, in most visits by the MMC, for its phenomenal rainfall. It was with much anticipation then that a bunch of adventurers met on Friday evening and, emboldened by a far from awful weather forecast held their collective breath – it might be a weekend of hills rather than table -traverses and ice-axe games in the kitchen. So, apologies to all that is missed out, but some endeavours went unrecorded.
As with the impending promise of fine weather, it was also with some good fortune that we met at all, given that our great leader was nowhere to be seen. New members Annika and Rob Acheson stumbled upon the party and were welcomed. Their slightly bemused expressions explained by the fact that they had actually been on their way to a Star Trek Convention at the King’s House, but were lured in by the cars parked at the hut and decided to make a weekend of it. Good effort.
Deeds had already been performed by the idle rich on the Friday, unencumbered as they are by the need for honest toil. Alistair Jeffs takes up the tale, and possibly rules out an invite to Dentist Dave’s wedding:
Beinn a Chaorainn and Ben Teallach with David the Dentist. Shortly after we set off up the forest track I heard a voice. “Think there is somebody in the forest camping” I said. “No” says David, it’s just the nagging woman on the phone… (not a very nice way to talk about your fiancée I thought to myself. The nagging woman then piped up very annoyingly about every 10 minutes for the rest of the day. She couldn’t be turned off apparently. May be is he in pre-marriage training? Very heavy going underfoot due to deep snow and heather. Visibility poor especially on higher ground. Large cornices on eastern slopes as SAIS had predicted. A good day out.
Mr Cowie, our very own Buckie loon was also happy to gloat about his hedonistic Friday and he records his bicycling exploits thus:
Started off with a jaunt round Wolftrax at Laggan on Friday enroute. Snowy tracks but managed to cycle up with just a few wee walks on the technical bits going up. Good run down stopped and peered over the edge of the Tingler (renamed by me) they have put a ramp at the bottom for the elderly and infirm or the Feerties so as I fell in to all categories took the chicken route yet again. Fine tale Colin. I dread to think which bit of you was a tingling (Ed).
Graeme ‘Zippy’ Morrison ran up Ben Lomond in 15 minutes, but then he often does. And round 38 comes ever closer.
Doubtless there were other feats performed, but no record was made. Andy ‘Wednesday’ Lawson had surely conquered some Marilyns enroute, but he was too interested in polishing his van (no, that’s not a euphemism) to let us know.
A convivial evening was spent making next day plans and getting Dentist Dave away from the stove as the hut turned into a sauna.
Saturday was a much better day than expected and everyone got oot n aboot. (I think Andy may have had to go home early, but he gets more good days on the hill than most. Graeme definitely needed to get off early, but he’s out even more than Wednesday!)
Dan describes the largest of the parties with his usual brevity: On Saturday, me and Sheena were in the Beinn Fhionnlaidh party (also including Zippy, David Treagus and Alistair Jeffs). I’ll let others tell that story.
Well may you presume Tigger. But due to the Book of Climbs being as apparent as our favourite omnipotent being and a degree of lassitude prevailing amongst the rest of the party, no such story exists. I do recall an exhausted Zippy mumbling something about kicking steps for everyone for most of the ascent, and looking at the calibre of the group, that is to be wholly expected.
Dave ‘The Colonel’ Galloway is a much welcomed returnee to weekend meets. For many years a stalwart of the club he is making a return. It was noted that Dave ‘re-finding’ the club could have been literal, as for many present this weekend, their last sighting of this fearless hill-walker had been on the slopes outside Ibruprofen hut some years previously. Could it be that The Colonel had wandered these lands alone for all those years? The legend continues. But enough supposition. With military precision Dave describes his day:
Walked from Inbhfhaolin hut to the Allchaorunn bothy with Robbie & Annika.Followed the stream south round to Coire Odhar before parting company and making the ascent of Beinn Mhic Chasgaig. The cloud base was just above munro level and the snow had consolidated above 559mts, wet and sugary below that.
Another of our ex-military members, Adrian Marsay is as concise in his language as he is expansive in the repertoire of his adventuring: I played Splitboarded around the Glencoe ski area, then recce’d the devil’s staircase case for mountain bike. Lunatic. Must be all that marching about and shouting.
Jan and Andy took a very wise tourist option and skied on the piste at Glen Coe on Saturday in perfect snow conditions once above the access chairlift. Lovely.
Colin was in ambling mode: Saturday had everything going for it except motivation by me so had a wee walk through Lairig Gartain to Glencoe then past Laghangarbh hut following the path up to Curved ridge area then dropped in to Glen Etive .Walked a few mile on the road eventually some one stopped it was Jan and Andy who gave me a lift up the road.
Alan and Fiona, thinking they were last off, had a cracker of a day. Alan wrote it; as the tone might indicate:
Despite waking up to a better than expected forecast Fiona was feeling a bit under the weather and no idea what to do. By 9 o’clock everyone had gone leaving her and Alan as billy no mates. Alan made a few suggestions but Fiona just said I’m not sure. He persuaded her to get in the car and they drove down to the Ben Starav parking spaces to have a look at Stob Dubh. Arriving Alan immediately put on his boots but realised that Fiona was still sitting in the car. When asked why, she replied that she was having a look. Some faffing time later they set off for the 2km walk to the base of the unforgiving relentless steep slope of Stob Dubh. The crux was the snow covered crags at 600 metres. Despite a few protests along the way they finally reached a small snow gully which gave access through the crags. After another slog they reached the top an hour more than the book time. Fiona funnily enough was overjoyed and chuffed that she had got one of her remaining Corbett bagged. It was fortunate in the snowy conditions that we could follow our footsteps down through the crags, although it was near vertical and required good use of the ice axes. As Fiona said afterwards that was a real adrenaline buzz. On reaching the bottom we met a landowner from Dalness Estates who showed us around a holiday cottage. He seemed impressed with the climb. What a stunning location. Our drive up the glen was slow due to hundreds of deer feeding all along the roadside.
Alan and Fiona’s ‘late start’ was positively Alpine by the standards of those two laggards, Joe and Jake who bimbled away from base camp sometime after 10. An ambitious and highly improbable route was sketched out and then immediately abandoned as the buffoons set off in a vaguely uphill direction. Further deviations from the sensible involved an aborted climb up a melting and crumbling gulley, another retreat and a final ascent of a hill somewhere. Their keen eye on detail and planning an example to no-one. But what a fantastic day! That evening’s debrief made more interesting by the discovery of an ancient map on the hut wall which described the clown’s ascent as an area of ‘winter climbing’
Another night in the sauna saw many early to their scratchers, as the day’s effort took its toll. Just as well, as Sunday was an absolute topper!
Dan, not reliant on the record of others described his a day as this: On Sunday, Sheena and I ascended Meal nan Eun and Stob Coir an Albannaich. We walked up Glen Ceittlein and then the snowy shoulder of Meall Tarsuinn, where we had first lunch. Next we ambled along the broad ridge to Meall nan Eun, following the footsteps of the only other person we saw all day. In Glen Etive, everything is pretty steep, even the normally benign “Mealls” (heap or mound). So you know that a Stob is going to be pretty sharp. Stob Coir an Albannich does not disappoint. From a distance, the ascent from the bealach looked a bit intimidating, but fortunately a lovely snowy ramp materialised, with only a little steepening at the cornice. It was now mid-afternoon and the sun was beating down, which made the slog up the final summit slopes a rather sweaty affair. The views from the top were stunning. A small patch of mist even drifted into the corrie below and provided a brocken spectre. We arrived back at the van and put a brew on, just in time for Jan and Andy as they returned from Ben Starav.
Alistair, having offended all his walking companions set off alone: Sgor nah-Ulaih Solo. Glorious day and set off early whilst many remained in their slumbers still enjoying the night before. Lower bog frozen. Did a full loop via Beinn Fhionnlaidh Pass. Descent on other side proved very tricky and very difficult to find safe way down due to dead terrain and snow. Had climbed down a tricky step but then had to re-ascend as route further looked quite risky. Found easier route round end of slab. Much evidence of mini-avalanches and some cornicing.
Well it all sounds very exciting, but of course Alistair was alone and we can only take his word for it. This report would never wish to cast any aspersions, but a man fitting Alistair’s description was seen tucking into the belly-buster breakfast at the Clachaig that morning. Just saying…….
Another newcomer was amongst us. If Adele had ventured out on Saturday, that journey has been forgotten, but I feel her outing on Sunday will definitely be remembered, glorious as it was. Adele’s description of her first encounter with the MMC is beautifully non-committal, but it is hers and shall duly be recorded: Thanks everyone for welcoming me this weekend. I appreciated your general warmth and welcome around the blazing sauna fire :), and even managed a pretty good night’s sleep in my tent among the trees with the owls! Special thanks go to Fiona, Alan and Jake for guiding me on my first real snowy winter hill walk. I found the snow quite a strange thing to deal with while hillwalking, and you were very supportive. What an absolutely cracking day we were blessed with too!
The hill that Adele climbed with Fiona, Alan and Jake was Fiona’s final Corbett of this area, Beinn Maol Chaluim. Such a cracking hill, that on realising it was the same peak that he had ascended with Joe the day before, Jake was happy to climb it again. (Idiot). Truly spectacular day, with a moment of high drama near the top. Having been told that it was just a walk, the rather inexperienced Adele found herself on steep mixed ground and gripping her ice axe as if she meant it. A faultless climb saw her conquer fears and the summit with aplomb. Alan and Fiona of course sprinted up like a couple of chamois. At the top, the party split and Jake took another route down, as the trio walked toward a glorious setting sun.
Adrian, neither wanting to waste words or do anything remotely sensible: went up beinn bheag on mountain bike then launched myself off down the devil’s staircase case. Such fun. Certifiable.
Joe went to the pub. But this is Joe, so there’s more to it than that: Kindly deposited at Invercharnan by Alan (which only a fool would confuse with Inbhirfhaolain, but enough of that) I wandered up Gleann Charnan to the south ridge of Sgurr nah-Ulaidh. A wee bit scrambly in places with crampons required, I reached the summit in glorious weather, T shirt and crampons, and not a breath of wind. I descended the short but steep NE slope and over Stob an Fhuarain before walking the length of Aonach Dubh a’ Ghlinne.
It is sensible to descend sooner rather than later from this ridge. However,
- a) It was glorious weather and I had no wish to say goodbye to the sunshine before I had to
- b) I’ve always thought that this ridge looked lovely, I remember it from when I was a child on family holidays and I still had never been on it
- c) I’m not sensible
The descent was distinctly NFJL (not for Jake Lee) for some of the upper portion but allowed a reasonably quick descent with not too much retracing of steps. A mercifully short walk along the A82 led to the Glen Coe visitor centre from where I could cross the bridge to the Clachaig, have a seat, a beer and read the book that I’d carried over the hills for this very purpose.
Yes, Joe sat in the pub and waited for someone to pick him up and take him home.
Dave G was able to navigate out of the Glen and: Sunday saw me drive to Laganarbh before enjoying crystal clear views all the way to Beinn a Chrulaiste and back. Classic winter’s day.
Meanwhile Jan and Alan spent a great day on the mighty Starav: we walked up the north ridge from Glen Etive to Ben Starav in absolutely stunning conditions, returning by the same route. Crampons and axes only being needed on the top section below the summit.
The Buckie loon – always wanting to be different (there’s no doubting success there!) took to the water: Sunday dawned beautiful I had arranged a paddle with Karl Bungay from Otter Adventures in Stontian. Left from the head of Loch Etive and went as far as Camas na Cuirte stopped for tea and returned on the other shoreline. Glass conditions all the way reflections amazing took loads of photos a fourteen mile round trip brilliant day. Still a few club member cars parked going out the Glen all making the most of an awesome sunny day.
Could not put it better Colin. An awesome sunny day!
Words by Jake. Photos by J Glennie, A Marsey, C Cowie and D Moysey
The first bus meet of the year set off on a fine February morning to a familiar destination. The Cairngorm ski car park may not be exotic but it is handy when daylight is still in relatively short supply and it does boast almost guaranteed conditions for the all-important winter skills. Luckily, the club was blessed with decent snow cover, good weather and a very skilful and knowledgeable club member in the shape of Ray Harron who kindly offered to take the winter skills session for fellow members.
First off the bus was John Henderson and his group from the Long Distance Walking Association. This symbiotic bus meet relationship works beautifully to provide transport for the LDWA and much-needed bums on seats for the MMC bus. They departed at Aviemore Railway Station and walked to the Cairngorm Hotel. For those with a passing knowledge of Aviemore, yes this does involve merely crossing the road. However, if John and the LDWA are to be believed they enjoyed a fine circular walk through Rothiemurchus Forest, circumnavigating Loch Morlich and finding sufficient time for a café stop in Glenmore and a chippy stop in Aviemore before reaching their final destination.
Next off the bus was Joe, who was torn between reaching heady heights with good company and visiting places as yet untrodden by his feet. The latter won out, mainly due to the fact that that plan involved a certain fetish of his – the Traverse. A traverse can often be quite difficult to organise but can always be achieved on a bus meet. He left the bus in Glenmore and walked past Ryvoan Bothy and up Meall a’ Bhuahaille before following the ridge to Creaggowrie in gorgeous sunshine. As the cloud spilled over the top of the Cairngorm plateau like a gigantic tidal wave he did contemplate at what point a combination of LOFOMO (lack of fear of missing out) and satisfaction at having made a good decision becomes Schadenfreude. Descent was by some bush whacking, the presumably rarely ascended Creag a’ Ghreusaiche and heather moorland to Coylumbridge and then Aviemore.
“So who was under said tidal wave?”, I hear you say… well in mountaineering clubs it is often custom to have a “Presidential Party” but with no visible president there was at least a club secretary, Katie, who along with Gillian, Ray (no, not that one, the other one) and Stewart set off towards Ben Macdui, as Katie wrote in the Book of Climbs “in sunshine, little wind and great visibility. Once on the plateau the clag came in. Despite the lack of views, it was still nice to be out in the hills and a great opportunity to test our navigation and figure out where we were going all together. Once in the clag we decided to cut our walk short and not head to Ben Macdui but back to Cairn Lochan and follow the ridge back to the ski resort, watching climbers and taking in the beautiful views as we went. Got back in time for a cuppa and to watch the kidz wizz down the slopes on their snow boards. Then to the pub for a roast dinner.”
It was a great day for the winter skills day, led by Ray Harron. Last year there was barely enough snow and in some previous years the weather has not been conducive to standing around and talking, teaching and learning. This time however, a group of intrepid Moray Mountaineers followed Ray into Coire Cas where Ice axe skills were duly passed on and practised. Then, crampons were donned and the Fiacaill Coire Cas was followed to Point 1141 (probably the most famous unnamed summit in Scotland) before Cairngorm was climbed. There was enough time for a tea break in the Ptarmigan Restaurant before the descent down the ridge to the bus.
The various parties reconvened at the Cairngorm Hotel bar and swapped stories of their day on the hill. Some tucked into their afore-mentioned roast dinners while others made do with beer and crisps or a cup of coffee. Another enjoyable club meet was rounded off with bus-boss Katie shepherding the last incorrigible drunkards (the guilty shall remain nameless but if you’ve already guessed you’re probably right) back to the bus for the journey home.
The next meet is to Gerry’s at Achnashellach.
Well known to generations of walkers this is the longest established independent bunkhouse in the country. Gerry died recently and the hostel is now run by his son Simon. Full details on the link below. https://gerryshostel.com/
There is still one bunk available (we’ve booked 13) but it may be possible to take addtional bunks. Please let me know as soon as possible if you want to come. Well located for a number of Munros as well as cycling and possibly even some skiing. Cost from £17 pp.pn.
Date: Friday 16 February 2018
Time: 7.30pm to midnight
Venue: Elgin Town Hall
Band: Buskoe Sike
Tickets: £10 (includes stovies). Can be purchased in advance from committee members or on the night at the door.
Raffle: (prize donations most welcome). All proceeds from the Raffle will be donated to charity (Mountain Rescue).
Tell all your friends and bring everyone along for a great evening of dancing and craic.
Prospective members most welcome.
The bus will be leaving Elgin at 7:00, with the normal en-route stops at Forres (7:20), Nairn (7:40) and Inverness (8:00) and should arrive at the Cairngorm car park by 9:30.
Hopefully there will be plenty of snow about, and this will be an opportunity to practice your winter skills in the company of some of the more experienced members (Ray and Heavy) of the Club. A number of topics will be covered including the use of ice axe and crampons, and you will need to bring all your winter gear. If you would like to take advantage of this sharing of knowledge and experience, then please mention this when you book the bus. If you do not have an ice axe, crampons and a helmet, there will be a limited number of sets available on the day. It is likely that, after some practice, the group would then proceed to the summit of Cairn Gorm and its northern corries.
There are plenty of high-level and low-level options available in the Cairngorms, for a great day out. However, do check the MWIS and SAIS websites for weather and avalanche risk and plan your day accordingly. Other possible walks include:
- Meall a’Bhuachaille via Ryvoan Bothy;
- Bynack More;
- Cairn Gorm;
- Plus numerous low level walks around Loch Morlich.
Visit Walkhighlands for some further details and options.
The bus will be leaving the Cairngorm car park at 16:30, with a refreshment stop in Aviemore.
Please ensure that you have checked that your crampons fit onto your boots before venturing out on the hills!
Names to Gordon Eccleston, either via email, Facebook or text by 12:00 on Thursday 15th February.
Date: 21 January 2018
Destination: Ben Wyvis
Meeting Point: Car park on the A835 at 09:45
Transport: Private cars (no bus)
This is a car-meet to one of our closest munros. The “normal” route to the summit is not too long, which makes this ideal for a short winter’s day. Don’t forget that this is winter, so ice axe/crampons etc likely to be required.
Contact Gordon Eccleston if you are interested.