The irony of Joe Glennie telling anyone to ‘hurry up’ is rich indeed, but this has been an honour afforded to me these past few weeks, as memories of the MMC Hogmanay meet recede and Joe harries me for the report. Apart from upsetting Joe (a difficult, yet satisfying endeavour) it does of course mean that no-one remembers what actually happened and your addle-headed author can pen what he will with little fear of recrimination. So here follows that which was recorded in the Book of Climbs. If it isn’t there, then it won’t be here and I certainly can’t remember.
The last day of the year was also one of the wettest and those venturing out would be more in need of gills than crampons. Alan, Fiona, Alistair and Karen travelled to the wonderful Glenelg. It was a bog trot, but declared an amazing bog trot by those taking it. The ‘tickers’ did a recce for some future Grahams which pleased them, (curious breed). There was also a new brewery to be visited and a very wet day was made better by the Glenelg Inn.
Dan ‘Tigger’ Moysey, always a man to sneer in the face of inclement weather set off on an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Beinn Fhada. Setting off up Glen Lichd at a good rate of knots with a strong tail wind an un-verified Golden eagle took off from the right next to the track, but as usual, when evidence is required the camera was buried and the crow got away. It was hike-a-bike territory up the steep path past the waterfalls of the Alt Grannda. Had first lunch/second breakfast at the lovely Camban Bothy, but loitering here was only putting off the inevitable return to the wind and rain. Turned left up Gleann Gniomhaidh – straight into a fierce headwind. The lea of Bealach an Sgairne offered a bit respite from the weather and time for a refuel. The top part of the descent is technical at the best of times but with a gusty wind and wet slippy rocks it was almost impossible. Fortunately it got better after a bit of height loss and provided a fine finale back to the bunkhouse. A descent slowed only by the bimbling and thoroughly sodden Sam and Jake returning from a hunting trip with the very smelly dog Lucas.
Sheena, Adele, Andy Lawson, Evelyn D, Heavy and Diane M went on a popular ‘wet weather option’ from Kintail to the Falls of Glomach. It’s quite a long way, and spectacular though the falls are, the route takes you the top of the falls and so to the less exciting end. It was probably with little regret therefore, that three of the six turned back early on this wet, windy and altogether miserable New Year’s eve. The torrents flowing off every hillside almost as impressive as the main event.
Evelyne, ever a student of history and a collector of atmosphere made a creative trip from Dun Totaig Brock from Letterfearn. She set off along the coastal road and then along a beach. Then followed woodland paths to the ruins of the Iron Age broch, which still had some of the passageway. After exploring the broch Evelyne followed the path a bit further and had views of the Skye bridge and Eilean Donan Castle.
Carol Jack, with clinical judgement, may well claim to be the only person to stay dry. Pootled up to Eileann Donan castle then Kyle in the air-conditioned and extremely dry car. Her only dilemma being .which cake to have with her coffee. Wise.
All returned safely however for a change into evening wear ready for the night’s festivities. More of which later, but first, the remaining tales from the Book of Climbs (it is after all allegedly a mountaineering club).
Now I am sure that more was done on the last day of the old year, just as there were no doubt other feats performed on the first day of the New Year that are not here recorded, but as already mentioned, that which lies outside the official record lies in the memories of those who were there. And perhaps just as well.
The day was much more clement than the dreich affair previously endured, and it was into this bright and brave new world that Andy Brooks and Deb Ward stepped. They drove along the loch Long road to Camas, then bogtrotted along to the bridge over the River Elchaig heading for those pesky Falls of Glomach. Over the footbridge and to the path that goes up and round for much longer than expected. Finally their goal was achieved with a distant view of the falls which was deemed sufficient and it was decided that enough was enough. A good day with weather so much better than yesterday.
Alan Duncan had arranged to set off with Jake, but decided better of it and so sneaked away ten minutes before the designated time. He set off from the outdoor centre and walked up Glen Choinneachain and from Bealach an Sgairne climbed up to Aghlas Bheinn. A great day with excellent visibility and views. As there was a small amount of fresh snow it is safe to say that Alan was the first person to summit this munro this year as there were no other footprints about. His obvious intention and the reason for his cruel deception
Evelyn, Diane, Fiona D, Heavy and the forlornly abandoned Jake decided upon a New Year Day ascent of Sgurr an Arrgid. It was a sociable group that followed a good footpath all the way to the summit with its shattered trig point. Nearer the top there was a dusting of snow and the views of snow covered mountains all around were fantastic. A grand day out on the first day of 2019. Jake, perhaps in a futile bid to find Alan, decided the day too good to cut short and set off alone across the rough bounds of the Inverinate Forest to take in the little visited and lumpy Beinn Bhude and Beinn Bhreac before getting lost in the forest tracks on his late return to the hut.
Alistair, Adele and Carol, were the true athletes of January the 1st as they set out to conquer Four Sisters and two Brothers. No lie-in for these rabid ‘tickers’ as they set off at 07.00 hours from west end of Glen Shiel Ridge. It was very dark and the only reason they were able to locate the “shed” in the shed start, was from Sheena’s excellent inside information. Excitement was the word. Snow flurries at 10 cleared by 11 for a beautiful day. Slippy underfoot made progress slower than hoped and ambitions were reigned in slightly as they cut down after the first two brothers as dark was quickly reappearing. Being true athletes of course, they took full advantage of any kind of outside agency and completed their day out with a lift home from the redoubtable Karen Jeffs in the support car.
Colin Cowie, as usual beating to a slightly different drum, decided against a hill and met Kate Duffus at Plockton for a paddle. Weather was way better than expected as they headed up Loch Carron. After five minutes two otters bobbed up with crabs in their mouths. Paddling on this rugged coastline throws up all sorts of wonderful surprises and the pair found a secret howf, well hidden and according to our grizzled mariner – only accessible from the sea. Headed up to narrows then on to north coast up and round Kishorn Islands then back to Plockton. Met a couple and paddled with them for a while. Good tiring day. Burger van was open in Plockton, but Colin claimed to have resisted.
Brent, Diane and Gus made a sensibly late start after the Hogmany celebrations. Cycled down the road to the cemetery then up up up to the summit of Sgurr an Arrgid (Corbet 841 metres) where the other group had headed. Gus, who is happy to take in the atmosphere and compose sonnets on his way up made a slower ascent. The eventual reward were fantastic 360 degree views. Then it was back to the bothy for day two of the Hogmanay pigout.
Andy Lawson, who does more hills than most and has a real love of these wild places started 2019 as he undoubtedly proposes to continue it with a fine day. Parking at the Cluny Inn he set off walking the south GlenShiel ridge doing the four easterly munroes, which are Creag a Mhaim, Druim Shionnach, Aonach air Chrith and Maol Chim-Dearg. Descended from fourth munro down the Druim coire Nan Eirecheanach ridge and walked the road back to the Cluny Inn. A cracking day.
Dan and Sheena with their usual ambition set out to complete the Five Sisters. The great thing about the Kintail activity centre is the great walk straight from the door. With this in mind the geographer and the engineer ascended the west end of the Kintail ridge and travelled as far as Sgurr nan Spainteach before dropping steeply northward to Gleann Lichd. Great views and a dusting of snow. Large bird footprints were spotted on the summit of Sgurr Fhuarn. Possibly golden eagle. Or more likely the same crow from yesterday.
Sam. A newcomer (and actual not even a member – please note Malcolm) decided against big hills or distant waterfalls and instead went on a lovely local bimble. The main intention was to rid the dog Lucas of some of his stinkiness, but he failed to shed any of his malodorous pong and was therefore banned to the van for another night.
As usual, there was more done than this, but the Book of Climbs has failed to record it. And also as is usual, the Hogmanay meet is so much more than a couple of days in the hills. It’s a great chance to catch up with old pals and have a right good shindig, with magnificent food. It would be unfair to pick out any gastronomic highlights, as it would necessarily miss so many others, but Alistair and Karen were certainly our very own Fannies and Johnnys (apologies to younger members for the ancient cookery reference) and would surely make it to the next round. There was the usual musical cacophony of fiddle and guitar, but sadly Fiona D was unable to delight us with her wonderful repertoire as she had only recently been thrown off her bike by Alan and her wrist was broken (Retirement has clearly not mellowed him). A true highlight was the late night wassailing of Heavy and Gus with a fabulous medley of songs. Gus in particular possessing a fine tenor voice.
The Kintail outdoor centre is a great venue for a Hogmanay meet. Very comfortable and able to seat many for a feast, as well as being in a wonderful and secluded position. It even had a resident stag stalking the grounds during our stay, just to sprinkle a bit of festive magic. A great start to the year as ever and should auld acquaintance be forgot………………
Report by Jake Lee