March 2017 Bus Meet – Fannichs

Sunday 19th March 2017

O.S.Map(s): 19, 20

Bus Stop: Loch a’Bhraoin (NH162760)

Est. time of arrival: 9.15am

Time of departure: 6.00pm

Leave Elgin: 7.00am

The Fannichs lie between Loch Fannich and the A835 Garve to Ullapool road. With Munros, Corbetts and Grahams in the area there should be plenty of choice for all abilities. There is even the Corrieshalloch Gorge, with the Falls of Measach. The bus will be parked at Loch a’ Bhraoin for the day and drops can be made along the way as usual.  On the homeward journey, there will be a refreshment stop at the Inchbae Lodge Inn.

The likely walks include:

from Loch a’Bhraoin 

  • Beinn Bheag and Groban (Grahams)
  • Creag Rainich (Corbett)
  • A’Chailleach and Sgurr Breac (Munros)
  • Meall a’Chrasgaidh, Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Sgurr nan Each (Munros)

From Braemore junction

  • Beinn Enaiglair (Corbett)
  • Corrieshalloch Gorge plus Lael Forest

from Loch Droma

  • An Colieachan and Meal Gorm (Munros)
  • Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich and Sgurr Mor (Munros)
  • Cona’ Mheall and Beinn Dearg (Munros)

from Loch Glascarnoch

  • Am Faochagach (Munro)
  • Beinn Liath a’Ghiubhais (Corbett)
  • An Coileachan and Meall Gorm (Munros)

Please contact Gordon Eccleston by 16:00 on the evening of Thursday 15th March please to book a seat on the bus for this meet.

February 2017 Bus Meet Report – Cairngorms

cairngormThe first bus meet of the year was to a local destination and the only one of the year to have a formal mountain skills session.  Experienced club members Ray Harron and David “Heavy” Whalley kindly gave their time to pass on their skills to fellow club members.  Luckily, there was sufficient snow for winter skills to be taught and learned.  This has been a particularly lean winter so far for snow lovers.

First off the bus in Aviemore, was John and Bob.  They walked to Loch an Eilean, then past the northern reaches of the Lairig Ghru and Loch Morlich to Glenmore for a coffee and cake stop before returning down the glen to Aviemore.  So they say… although the fact that they were dropped off at the Cairngorm Hotel and were already there (or should that be still there) when the bus turned up eight hours later raised suspicions!

Next off the bus at Glenmore was a group of four that quickly split in two.  One group of one was Tom, who set off home.  Literally.  He lives in Forres and walked the 40-odd miles home.  The poor chap was charged full whack for the bus despite only getting it one way but hey, if it’s a good enough policy for rail companies it’s good enough for the MMC.  He finally reached his front doorstep at 8.10pm, which, incidentally is about when the bus got back into Elgin which begs the question what were the rest of us doing for all that time?!

But as for the other three, Jake, Stewart and Joe set off up Bynack Mor with the intention of traversing it, A’ Choinneach and Cairn Gorm.  A fine high traverse is perfect for a bus meet when people can start and finish a walk at different locations.  Joe had prepared for a big day in the winter hills by attending a beer festival the day before.  There had been at least eight beers on offer, all of them good, some of them needing to be sampled more than once, including the Windswept Werewolf, a thick black chilli-laced glass of delightfulness which at 6% abv was wonderful at the time but may have contributed to a slightly sub-prime Moray Mountaineer the following morning.

The walk to Bynack Mor is for at least a couple of miles an easy flat tree-lined walk which helped the hopeless case keep up with the two fit hillwalkers, occasionally bouncing off trees like a pin ball and wishing he could just curl up into a ball and wake up the next day.  The summit was reached with an increasing westerly breeze but stunning clarity.  Stewart enjoyed the views, Jake complained about the lack of Champagne and tablet “But, but, there was lots on offer last time I was here…” and Joe blinked stupidly at the views wondering where he was and how he had come to be there.  By this stage the wind had reached ferocious proportions and a descent was welcome.  The group wandered unsteadily down over A’ Choinneach to the very calm Saddle, with Strath Nethy to the right and the grand and sublime Loch Avon to the left before a wee wander over Cairn Gorm and back to the bus.

The main mission on this bus meet, and by far the largest group was Ray and Heavy and their merry band of followers, all keen to learn how to stay safe on Scotland’s winter mountains.  They incorporated a lot of skills into their walk into Coire an Lochain and over the top of Lurcher’s Crag, such as safe use of ice axe and crampons, ice axe arrest, and navigation.  Heavy emphasised the fact that nobody is merely a follower in the hills, especially in winter, and everyone should learn the skills to be safe and be able to look after themselves.  It was great to get a decent turnout of ten people to take advantage of this session – David, Dotty, Fiona C, Fiona D, Lucy, Jan, Bob, Al and enthusiastic newbies Ellen and Stefan.  All they need now is more snow to put their learned skills to practice!

Ray (no, not that Ray, the other Ray) had a fine scramble up Fiacaill Ridge and wandered down the far side of the plateau towards Loch Avon.  He then traversed the tops of the cliffs, taking in the magnificent views of the Loch and hills beyond which are hidden from those on the very top of the plateau.  Cairn Gorm’s summit was Ray’s final destination before descending to the bus.

Bob and Ella did the classic circuit of the Northern Corries, peering over the cliffs and checking out the gullies for some exciting ski descents if they ever receive enough snow (well, Bob was, Ella is much too sensible to contemplate such antics).  They reported seeing a lot of people on their walk and they topped it off with an ascent of Cairn Gorm followed by a bowl of soup in the Ptarmigan Restaurant.

A fine day enjoyed by all, finished off with a sociable pub stop in Aviemore.  The next weekend meet will be to Braemar, followed by the next bus meet to the Fannaichs.  Weather as good as this bus meet can’t be guaranteed and there certainly won’t be a restaurant serving hot soup at over 3500 feet but both meets will definitely provide plenty of fresh air and good craic.

J Alister Sword Photography Competition 2017

J Alister Sword  Best Scottish Photo

The annual J. Alister Sword photography competition will take place after the Annual General Meeting on 23 March 2017. 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).

2018 Calendar.   All entries for the Scottish category will be considered for The Moray Mountaineering Club’s 2018 calendar… but only if you email them to moraymountaineeringclub@gmail.com. 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…

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Scottish, Loch Ossian by D Moysey

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Non-Scottish, Tignes, D Moysey

March 2016 Weekend Meet: Braemar

Sat 4th – Sun 5th March 2017
O.S.Map(s): 43
Accommodation: Braemar Lodge Bunkhouse
Cost: TBC
Facilities: Fully equipped kitchen. Linen and towels provided.

The hotel is situated on your right as you travel south along the A93 (the road to Glenshee).

There are lots of Munros in the area, snowsports at Glenshee (if you can find snow this year) and good climbing on Lochnagar.

Email Simon Jacyna to book a place.

23 March 2017 – 80th Annual General Meeting

The Moray Mountaineering Club’s 80th Annual General Meeting will be held at 19:30 on Thursday 23 March 2017 at Glen Moray Distillery, 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: Joe Glennie
  • Vice President 1: Richard Knak
  • Vice President 2: Katie Dyke
  • Honorary Treasurer: Malcolm Campbell
  • Honorary Secretary: Daniel Moysey
  • Committee Member 1: Simon Jacyna
  • Committee Member 2: Al Dennis
  • Committee Member 3: Gordon Eccleston
  • 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 (Joe Glennie)
  • Bus meet co-ordinator (Gordon Eccleston)
  • Climbing co-ordinator (Richard Knak)
  • Membership (Malcolm Campbell)
  • Website (Al Dennis)
  • Newsletter (Daniel Moysey)
  • Library (Daniel Moysey)
  • Equipment (Daniel Moysey)

Annual General Meeting will be followed by

MMC Ceilidh: Friday 17 February 2017

ceilidh

Date: Friday 17 February 2017
Time: 7.30pm to midnight
Venue: Elgin Town Hall
Band: Buskoe Sike

Tickets: £10 (includes stovies)
B.Y.O.B.

Tickets can be purchased in advance from committee members or on the night at the door.

Raffle (prize donations most welcome)

Tell all your friends and bring everyone along for a great evening of dancing and craic.

Prospective members most welcome.

February 2017 Bus Meet – Cairngorms

 

Sunday 19 February 2017
Departs Elgin: 07.00
Pick-ups in Forres, Nairn and Inverness
Estimated time of arrival at the ski centre main car park: 09.30
Time of departure: 16.30

Hopefully there will be plenty of snow about, and this will be an opportunity for you to practice your winter skills in the company of some of the more experienced members of the Club (Ray and Heavy). A number of topics will be covered including the use of ice axe and crampons. If you would like to take advantage of this sharing of knowledge and experience, then please mention this when you book the bus. It is best if you bring your own winter gear (ice axe, crampons and maybe a helmet), but the Club does have a small selection. If you want to borrow Club equipment, please advise when you book the bus.

There are plenty of high-level and low-level options available in the Cairngorms, for a great day out.  For example: Meall a’Bhuachaille via Ryvoan Bothy, Bynack More, Cairn Gorm…etc.  Don’t forget to check the MWIS and SAIS websites for weather and avalanche risk and plan your day accordingly.

Guests are welcome to attend the meet, but note that the winter skills is open to members only.

Contact Joe Glennie by the evening of Thursday 16th to book a seat on the bus for this meet.

December 2016 Weekend Meet Report: Glenshee (Blackwater Centre)

dec-2016-dinner

Fiona Duncan, Ella Grant, Drummond Beattie, Ray Harron, Evelyn Droege Heavy Whalley, Bob MacDonald, Brian Jones, Fiona Cuninghame, Joe Glennie, Sheila Patel, Adrian Marsay, Carol Jack, Cate Bulmer, Brad Doswell, Bea Chater, Ben Watson, Al Dennis, Miriam Duncan, Jake Lee

The above revellers and miscreants travelled to the Blackwater Outdoor Centre for the annual and wonderfully conceived Hogmanay meet. I only half apologise if any names have been left out, as folk don’t write in the Book of Climbs and some of this happened last year for goodness sake!

For such a great gathering there is also scant record of what went on, and this befuddled author is the very last person to recall events. And despite the bad weather and heavy emphasis on a sociable time, there were deeds performed that were not written down. Here however follows the scribblings from those good souls who dashed off a few lines.

Evelyne and Uncle Ray, ever the early birds in for a worm, arrived in time on the 30th to go up what looks like Creag mam Gablar. A fine but blustery ascent in the company of many mountain hares, some grouse and a couple of monarchs of the glen. Most folk however, made the trek from North and South to gather for what was essentially the purpose of the weekend – Jake’s birthday. That dispensed with, the might of the MMC launched into full culinary mode. More of which. Later.

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Sheila and Joe present Jake with his birthday cake

31st December. Uncle Ray took Heavy out for a short, but brisk walk up the mighty Mount Blair – all 744m of it – and then, against his secret orders, brought Heavy back again. Next time Ray.

Fiona C, Bob, Sheila, Joe, Drummond, Ella, Cate, Bea, Ben, Brad and Carol, taking heed of a dreadful forecast that never really arrived, set off from the entrance to Pitcarmick Estate and went on an excellent loop up to Pitcarmick Loch. Lunch was taken in a very conveniently placed air-raid shelter and the walk was made fascinating by a quantity of cairns and stone circles, remnants of far earlier times. The club often ends up in some spectacularly remote places, where the hand of man is light (if often tragic) and it is always fascinating to walk in more southerly locations where there are more obvious and numerous reminders of our past.

hogmanay-dec-2016-mount-blair
Mount Blair

Evelyne, Fiona D and Jake also opted to eschew the heights and went from the hut to Blacklunas to pick up the Cateran Trail. Following the Blackwater river, it was a beautiful walk, with lovely views and jam-packed with history. Although low in altitude, it was a high decibel route and so as Evelyne and Fiona turned back, Jake headed up into the clag to ascend Mealna Letter and return via Folder. His late return in what was becoming more inclement weather, greatly worried Fiona, but once telephone contact was made and the whereabouts of the gin established he was quickly forgotten.

1st of January 2017. Heavy went to Glen Isla again – Monamenach 807m. He was early away and on the icy drive to Glen Isla. Strong winds and frequent snow showers saw a quick return to the car, leaving Heavy asking himself why no-one wanted to go with him again! We did Heavy, but most folk were in their Pjs rather than crampons at that time on New Year’s Day.

Fiona C, Bob, Ella, Drummond, Sheila, Fiona D and Jake made a blustery start to the hillwalking year by ascending Mount Blair. The quality of the light between showers was translucently beautiful and the views from the top could have been wonderful. But they weren’t. And 5 minutes cowering inside the small ring cairn at the top was all they managed. The return, though brief was fully into the fierce wind that had blown them up. Jake having taken the obvious precaution of removing his goggles out of his bag for the first time in 6 years, mentioned several times how his recent eye surgery made the descent incredibly painful, but to the credit of everyone else who was well equipped, they ignored him. We passed another party making the same route, but as they haven’t written in the book and the author was by now blind, their ascent will remain un-chronicled.

Evelyne once again left from the hut and went via Blacklunas to Drumore Loch for a beautiful walk in bright sunshine. Something was seen in a field, but Evelyne’s Germanic script keeps what it was as a mystery.

Brad had great plan of a mountain bike route. However, after spending 10 minutes getting about 30m into the wind, that idea was left for another day and he discovered some mtb trails nearby. Here, he was able to whoop and holler to his heart’s content, flying over jumps and acting like some baggy-trousered hoodlum.

Ben and Joe had commendable ambitions. Made more commendable in view of the poor weather and more ambitious once they set off close to midday. A lift to the ski centre of Glenshee and then a looong walk back to the bunkhouse taking in Glas Maol and the ridge of Creag Leacach before lowering onto the tracks and eventually road home. A fine concept and achieved with elan due to Joe’s mountaineering skills (only lost twice according to Ben) and Ben’s youthful vigour (only moaned three times according to Joe).

hogmanay-dec-2016-fiona-duncan
Fiona clears the room

dec-2016-road-safety-5c9a7464
Al, Cate, Bea, Sarah and Jake first footing on the A93

But of course the Hogmanay meet is a little bit different from other meets in that for many, there is not even the pretence of bagging multiple peaks and enduring long days in the hills. This is a more gregarious, although often as not, more exhausting affair! The success of it, and it’s always been very successful is the absolute refusal by anyone to do anything other than what is best for the group. It would be unfair to single out any of the chefs, although some performances were stellar and everyone did their part. Also, I expect that we had different favourite dishes. Suffice to say Babette’s feast would be a margarine sarnie in comparison to the THREE days of feasting we had. As well as the efforts people had made to contribute to the jamboree, it should also be noted what lengths folk had gone to to even attend. Doctor Cate had to shorten her stay, but revelled all the same; Brian was ill, though soldiered on best he could; Joe and Sheila travelled 3500 miles whilst cuddling babies and herding together extended families, only to pitch up when required; Big Al and Miraim came all that way just for one evening and Bea, Brad and Ben travelled up from PLYMOUTH in a oner in a van that had already broken down. Some wonderful entertainment was provided by fiddlers Fiona D and Dr Jack, but an even more spectacular sensory delight was given to us by the crystal clear skies that happily coincided with ‘the bells’. Few things finer than a clear night under a billion stars with your pals. Happy New Year to all you wonderful people!

Words: Jake Lee
Photos: Carol, Ray and Heavy

December 2016 Bus Meet Report: Aberlour

Numbers on the Christmas bus meet are difficult to break down but, 41 members and 1 guest on the bus, and 2 by car doing the walk. There were a further 5 members and 2 guests attending the meal. This was by far the largest attendance of members on a bus meet in 2016. I hope that this is a good sign of an increase in bus numbers for 2017.

First of all, a warm welcome to our new member, Teresa.

The bus started off from Inverness, at 8:00, and then continued to Forres. At Forres, there was slight delay, since one of our members (Jake) was now getting on at Elgin! From Forres the bus then made its way to Elgin. However, another ramblers association had a bus arriving at our pick up point in Elgin –so some of our keen members – keen to get out of the rain – rushed to pack their bags and get on the wrong bus. Fortunately, everyone got off and onto the right bus! Anyway, a further stop at Fogwatt and at Craigellachie, meant an almost full bus arrived at Dufftown at about 9:30. By now, the rain had stopped and it was very pleasant walking weather.

The first group of the bus were aiming to do the Speyside Way spur down to Craigellachie, followed by the continuation of the Speyside way to Aberlour.

The next group, Bob, Fiona, Tom and Stewart, set off to tackle Little Conval and Meikle Conval. Bob and Fiona successfully completed these two hills and made the journey back to Aberlour. Tom and Stewart raced up and down Meikle Conval before venturing over to Ben Rinnes to catch up with the main group of the day.

The final bus stop was at Ben Rinnes, where the largest group of the day set off for the traverse of Ben Rinnes. The weather was extremely mild and there were great vies all around until …well, the top was covered in mist. A nice discussion about windfarms and electricity/power generation on the descent.

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Brocken Spectre on the summit of Ben Rinnes
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A gathering on the summit Ben Rinnes

So, everyone was at the Aberlour Hotel for 16:00 for our meal. Unfortunately, the hotel staff were expecting us to be there by 15:30!!

Following the meal, the toast to the club, the President’s speech and the awards ceremonies. The winner of the President’s Award for Mountaineering Achievement was Shane Younie. This was in recognition primarily for his amazing progress in climbing (from nothing to multi-pitch E-graded mountain routes after only a few years), but also for his all-round mountaineering.

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Shane Younie receiving the President’s Award for Mountaineering Achievement

Trophies for completing the munros were handed out to Shane Younie and Tom Summerscales.

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Shane Younie receiving his quaich from the President (Joe Glennie)
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Tom Summerscales receiving his Tankard

There were many worthy nominations for the Order of the Golden Boot Award, including most of the usual suspects (Drummond-NeverReady-Beattie – Torch/batteries; Simon Jacyna – Torch/Batteries; Fiona Duncan – Torch/batteries; Joe Glennie – Beer & crampons….to mention just a few). After much deliberation Rob Murray was deemed the winner. It’s probably best to speak directly to Rob if you want a full description. But put simply… Rain + Paper Map = Long Journey home.

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Unfortunately, Rob was unavailable to collect his “award”
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Christmas Meal at the Aberlour Hotel

A final reminder that there is no bus met in January and that the next scheduled bus meet is February 19th 2017 to the Cairngorms. It will include winter skills. Further details of the February meet will be posted on the website and Facebook early in the New Year. If anyone is wishing to go on a car meet in January, then do get in touch with me.

In the meantime, may I wish all our members, friends and family good health and happiness for 2017.

Words: Gordon Eccleston, Bus Meet Co-ordinator
Photos: Daniel Moysey