September 2017, Weekend Meet, Dundonnell

When: Nights of Fri 1 and Sat 2 September 2017

Where: The Smiddy, Dundonnell, OS Grid Ref NH 095 877

Cost: £8.00/person/night; £1 coin meter for power

Facilities: Accommodation for 10 on alpine-style sleeping platforms with mattresses.  Electric lighting, heating, water heater and cooking; microwave oven; fridge; all utensils supplied; open fire (coal supplied); running water; WC

Things to do:  The Smiddy is at the foot of An Teallach and handy for the northern Fannichs and the Fisherfield Munros. Gruinard crag close by has good climbing and the loch offers kayaking. What is not to like?

To book: Contact Simon Jacyna to book your place (even if you are one of the OATs – Old Age Travellers)

August 2017 Bus Meet – Clachnaben and Mount Battock

Date: Sunday 20 August 2017

Map(s):  Ordnance Survey 1:50k maps 44 & 45 or 1:25k OL54
Est. time of arrival: 10:00
Time of departure: 17:00
Leave Inverness: 7:00

The first pick up point is Inverness at 7:00, followed by Nairn at 7:20, Forres at 7:40 and then Elgin at 8:00.

The bus should arrive at the Bridge of Dye car park at 10:00 and will park there for the day.  You need Ordnance Survey 1:50k maps 44 and 45 to cover the start and summits.  Alternatively, the 1:25k map OL 54 covers all the routes.

There aren’t many options for alternative hills – so the routes are either Clachnaben, or Clachnaben plus Mount Battock, or Mount Battock, or a wander around the Glen! There is the option of some scrambling on the summit tor of Clachnaben (but this can be avoided).

There are good paths to the summits of both hills. However, take a little bit of care near the summit of Mount Battock – there is an electric fence close to the summit.

The bus will leave the car park at 17:00 to allow enough time for a refreshment stop.

 

Check out Walkhighlands for descriptions and routes for most of the above hillwalks.

Please contact Gordon Eccleston via email or phone on 01343 842314 or text to 07884 358077 by 16:00 on Thursday 17 August to book a seat on the bus for this meet.

August 2017, Weekend Meet Report, Strontian

Strontianite

Strontian, a small village in a remote corner of a remote region on the remote west of Scotland, is mostly known for its ancient oak woodlands (prime example of temperate rainforest), craggy mountains and midges. In times-gone-by, minerals and mining played a much bigger part. Sir Alexander Murray discovered galena in the hills the region in 1722 and a mine was opened in 1725, in partnership with Thomas Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk and General Wade. Various materials were mined, including lead and strontianite, which contains the element named after the village, Strontium (Sr). Strontium, lurks on the left hand side of the period table of elements, below Calcium and Magnesium. Until recently, it was used extensively in the glass on the front of cathode ray tube televisions – it absorbed x-rays so that we didn’t get zapped. Anyway, enough history and science, on with the adventures…

 

Babs and Heavy started their weekend early (on Thursday), with a view to fitting in a wee hill (Sgurr na h-Eanchainne) before checking into the Ariundle Centre Bunkhouse. However, the “wild tormented rain” defeated them at the car park. Later in the afternoon the sun came out and they explored the wonderful nature trails through the Ariundle woods. The following day, the weather was still wet and so more Corbett plans were binned and instead they headed to Ardnamurchan, where they had a tour of the lighthouse and enjoyed great views to Eigg, Muck, Rum and more.

On Saturday (at 9am sharp!), a large party (Babs, Fiona Duncan, Ellen Cox, Lesley Botha, Malcolm Campbell, Dougall Lamont, Andy Brooks, Alex Wilkinson, Jake Lee and Dan Moysey) headed up Ardgour’s highest Corbett Sgurr Dhomhnuill. The book of Climbs records “A long day with many steep ridges to conquer.” The party split at one point, with some tackling the subsidiary summit of Sgurr na h-lghinn and the rest skirting its northern flank. Everyone gathered on the summit and were rewarded with a 360 degree panorama, including The Ben (shrouded in clag), Glen Coe and the small isles. There was a steep descent to the col between Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Druim Garbh. From here, most of the group descended the valley via to the old lead mines and then took the path back to Strontian. The day was summarised by Ellen (soon to be deported) as “Terrific day, have absolutely loved adventures with the MMC. Come and visit me in Australia!”

Strontian River Crossing

Crossing the mighty Strontian River

Strontian Slow Worm

A resident of the Ariundle Forestry Commission car park

Dan, Jake and Alex continued along the undulating ridge of Druim Garbh to complete an “aesthetic” round. Alex’s Finnish roots drew him to one of the small lochans for a quick swim. The going was somewhat lumpy, but eventually they reached the road at its high point. Downhill all the way…to the cries of “oh my knees [foot/arm/big toe…etc]”. After a mile or so, a car stopped to enquire where we had been. It had barely come to a halt before Jake had taken his seat – “Strontian please”. Dan and Alex walked.

Alan Duncan is ticking Grahams, so that means lots of days out on his own. Today he followed the main group for a while, but then strayed right towards Sgurr a Chaorainn. He was spotted on the top by the main party (so that’s one out of 219 that can be verified). Alan’s original plan was to leave Sgurr nan Cnamb for another day. It’s only a kilometre or so to the south, but there is about 500m of re-assent. But Zippy had said “of course you can do those two together…and take in Sgurr nan Bog and Beinn Rounded Lump… and be back for tea”. A surprising short time later, having achieved both Graham summits (only one verified), Alan met up with the main party on the track back to Strontian.

Graeme “Zippy” Morrison cycled to Lochaline, caught the ferry to Fishnish, cycled to Dhiseig and ascended Ben More. A quick cycle home completed the 73.12568 mile journey. Zippy’s time is not recorded in the Book of Climbs, but I read somewhere that someone has done this particular round in 5 hours 34 minutes and 15.3 seconds…on a penny farthing.

Heavy spent the day on a film set in Fort William. All top secret, but keep your eye on the Shopping Channel over the next few months.

As usual, Sunday’s proceedings are somewhat less well documented in the Book of Climbs. Ellen and Lesley went to Sanna Bay and Ardnurmurchan Lighthouse. Alan, Fiona, Babs and Malcolm ascended the Corbett Carn na Nathrach from near Polloch.
Dan, Jake and Zippy went on a bike ride from Strontian to Strontian. “Shortly after starting we arrived at Salen Pub, and although tempted, we decided to push on before first coffee stop. Being peak season on the west coast, all subsequent coffee facilities were shut, until we wobbled into Lochailort many hours later. Zippy was not for stopping so he headed off on his racing bike, leaving the two mountain bikers to savour their coffees and the journey. The road to Glenfinnan was a bit tedious, but eventually we free-wheeled into Glenfinnan, past the “car park full” sign. Time for second lunch at the foot of the monument. After 60km, it was time to commence mountain biking (that’s a long warm up). The track along the shore of Loch Shiel has potential, but in the pissing rain it had lost some of its appeal. We eventually arrived at Polloch. Great! Only a couple of kilometres and we’ll be home, warm and dry. Unfortunately, there is the small matter of the 350m ascent. It was bottom gear all the way. The sign on the other side said “1 in 4”. The descent was somewhat more rapid, but there was a problem… back home with 99km on the clock. Obviously, a 500m out-and-back along the road was required.”

Strontian Oak Woods

The ancient oak woodlands

August 2017 Weekend Meet: Strontian (Ariundle Bunkhouse)

When: Nights of Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August

Where: Ariundle Bunkhouse, Strontian.  Grid Reference NM 821 631

Facilities: There are two bunk bed rooms upstairs each with their own private facilities. Linen is supplied with the exception of towels.  There is a restaurant at the adjacent Ariundle Centre.

Cost: To be confirmed by meets organiser

What to do: Plenty of quality Corbetts, Grahams and Marilyns in Ardgour, Sunart, Moidart, Morvern and Ardnamuchan. If you are desperate for a Munro tick, you could drive the short distance to Lochaline and take the ferry across to Mull to ascend Ben More. Nearby Corbetts include Garbh Bheinn, Beinn Resipol, Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Carn na Nathrach. If Grahams are your thing there are several close by to choose from. Ardnamurchan has some quality Marilyns including Ben Hiant and Meall nan Con (part of an old supervolcano caldera). For further adventure you could charter a wee boat on Loch Sunart to visit the Isle of Carna or if the tide permits have a walk across to the tidal island of Eilean Shona in Invermoidart. There is also classic climbing to be had on Garbh Bheinn and great cragging on Gabbro in Ardnamurchan.

Bookings: Please contact Simon Jacyna to book a place on this meet.

Membership Due

A wee reminder that membership fees fall due by the end of July. The annual membership fee is £30, which includes Mountaineering Scotland affiliated membership.

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 the Club website for further info). 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.

It helps us enormously if everyone pays on time i.e. before the end of July.

Cheques should be made payable to “The Moray Mountaineering Club” and sent to Malcolm Campbell, Honorary Treasurer & Membership Secretary at: Invermay, 12 Bank Lane, Forres, IV36 1NU. Email: mcampbell078@hotmail.com

It is now also possible to pay your membership directly via BACS:
Bank: RBS
Name: Moray MC
Sort Code: 83 20 06
Acct No: 10830480
Ref to Use: Please state “subs + your surname” (otherwise we will not know who has made the payment)

If any current member does not intend renewing, it would be appreciated if you could please let Malcolm know: Email: mcampbell078@hotmail.com

June 2017 Bus Meet Report – Torridon

Slioch 2017iOn 18 June, 28 Members, Guests and LDWA Members set off from Moray on a sunny Sunday morning.  The forecast was pessimistic, but spirits were high as the party headed towards the iconic hills of Torridon..

First off the bus a few miles before Kinlochewe, George, Drummond and Ella headed north to climb Beinn nan Ramh returning via Leckie and Heights of Kinlochewe. They got back in good time for a refreshment at the Kinlochewe Hotel.

A large group disembarked at Kinlochewe.  4 stalwarts undertook the long slog to Slioch (Malcolm, Jan, Maggie and Dawn) and just made it back to the bus in time (but to late for a beer).  They enjoyed good views on the climb, but the weather turned as they approached the summit so lunch was a brief stop in driving rain. The descent had its moments when they strayed from  the path in thick mist and had to resort to map and compass to navigate off the hill.

Slioch 2017 ii

The 8 members of the LDWA, accompanied by Bill who did not feel like climbing into the mist, set off on a low level walk to Lochnan Fada and back by Gleann Blanasdail to Kinlochewe.  Their major excitement occurred at the outflow from Lochan Fada where, with the stepping stones fully submerged, they were forced to wade across the river.

Bob Sivewright and Stewart Evans headed for the Corbetts Ruadh-stac Beag and Mealla’ Ghiubhais while Scott and James Hammond and Brian Fraser conquered Beinn Eighe.

Of those remaining on the bus,  Teresa, Faye and Ray climbed Benn Alligin while Graeme Bartlett headed for Beinn Dearg and Peter Goodwin, recovering from an ankle injury  stayed low level.

All in all, it was a successful trip to a popular area.

June 2017 Weekend Meet – Lagangarbh


Traversing the Aonach Eagach

Date: 30th June/1st July 2017
Venue: Lagangarbh Hut, Glen Coe (Grid Ref NN 221 560)

Location:  The hut is situated at the head of Glen Coe about 300m off to the right (travelling south) of the A82.  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. The hut sleeps 20 (although 6 of these beds are reserved for SMC members and guests).

Cost: £10pppn

Note: No camping or fires allowed in the vicinity of the hut

Amazingly there are still places available at only £10 per night. Bookings to Simon as soon as possible please.

Nearby Hills:

Munros: Buachaille Etive Mor, Buachaille Etive Beag, Bidean Nam Bian, Aonach Eagach, Creise, Meall a’Bhuiridh, Sgor na h-Ulaidh, Beinn a’Bheithir, Stob a’Choire Odhair, Stob Ghabhar, Meall nan Eun, Stob Coir’an Albannaich, Glas Bheinn Mhor, Ben Starav, Beinn nan Aighenan, Beinn Fhionnlaidh.

Corbetts: Beinn a’Chrulaiste, Beinn Mhic Chasgaig, Stob Dubh, Beinn Maol Chaluim, Meall Lighiche, Fraochaidh, Beinn Trilleachan.

Grahams: Meall Tairbh, Beinn Suidhe, Meall Mor, Sgorr a’Choise, Pap of Glencoe.

Sub2000ft: Meall Mor, Glas Bheinn, Leathad Mor.

June 2017 Bus Meet – Torridon

torridonapr201402Date: Sunday 18th June 2017

O.S.Map(s):  19/24/25
Est. time of arrival:  9:45/10:00
Time of departure:  17:30
Leave Elgin:  7:00

The bus will park for the day at the Beinn Alligan car park.

The first drop off point is at Kinlochewe (at approximately 9:30) giving time to tackle Slioch, a considerable day out with a pub finish – once I’ve checked the time that the pub will be open on time!  I remember tackling Slioch on a previous bus meet and being rewarded with meeting my first herd of mountain goats.

The next drop off point will be the Beinn Eighe/Liathach car park (at about 9:30). This gives the option of tackling the 2 Munros that make up Beinn Eighe and either returning to the start point or traversing East and aiming for the pub at Kinlochewe. Alternatively you could stay “low” and walk into Coire Mhich Fhearchair. This low level walk can be combined with the walk “behind” Liathach and finishing at the Beinn Alligan car park. I did this walk last year with my daughter when she was 8 months pregnant!  You can of course tackle Liathach with its 2 Munros, and some of our climbers may wish to come along and give some support/guidance on tackling the pinnacles. If you do the traverse of Liathach then the pick up point would be the Torridon Vistor centre junction. If you just wish to tackle Mullach an Ranthain then the bus will drop you off at the visitors centre.

Finally, the bus should arrive at the Beinn Alligan car park by 10:00. This should give you plenty of time to tackle the 2 Munros of Beinn Alligan and take in some scrambling over the Horns of Alligan.

The Corbett of Beinn Dearg can also be tackled from the Beinn Alligan car park.

The Munros and Corbetts to the south of Glen Torridon could also be tackled on this meet, but perhaps are better suited to the Achnshellach bus meet scheduled for 15th October 2017.

Check out Walkhighlands for descriptions and routes for most of the above hillwalks.

Unfortunately, I am still unable to come on bus meets this month, but should be back for the August bus meet. Anyway, absolutely stunning views all over this area – so remember to bring your camera!

Please contact Gordon Eccleston via email or phone on 01343 842314 or text to 07884 358077 by 16:00 on Thursday 15th June to book a seat on the bus for this meet.

June 2017 Weekend Meet – Torridon

Date: 2nd/3rd June 2017
Venue: Ling Hut, Torridon

Location: The hut is situated on the south side of Glen Torridon at NG958562. (See map)

Facilities: Ling is a traditional Highland house, with no upstairs living space. There is accommodation for 12 persons (Four places reserved for SMC members). Cooking, lighting and heating are by propane gas. Don’t forget your sleeping bag!

Cost: £10 pppn

Nearby Hills: (Munros) Beinn Eighe, Liathach, Beinn Alligin, Beinn Liath Mhor, Sgorr Ruadh, Maol Chean Dearg and Slioch. (Corbetts) Sgurr Dubh, Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine, Beinn Damh, Beinn Dearg, Meall a’Ghuibhais and Ruadh Stac Beag. (Grahams) Beinn na h-Eaglaise, An Ruadh-mheallan, Beinn a’Chearcaill. (Sub2000ft Marilyns) Seana Mheallan, Bidein Clann Raonaild.

May 2017 Bus Meet Report – Lairig Ghru Traverse

John 1Thirty MMC members and guests, including a healthy contingent from the Long Distance Walkers Association, boarded the bus for the somewhat twisty journey to the Linn of Dee.  At Cock Bridge, Joe Glennie decided he’d had enough – so we left him by the side of the road…more of that story later.

Next off was Graeme Bartlett, who we dropped off just before Invercauld Bridge.  From there, he traversed through to the Glen More Hayfield via Ben Avon, Beinn a Bhuird North Top and Faindouran Bothy.  It sounds a long way, and it is, but so is the length of Graeme’s stride.

Everyone else disembarked at Linn of Dee and made a quick dash to the port-a-loos.  Essential business completed, the loosely bound group made their way to Derry Lodge.  Here the party split.

Bob MacDonald and Fiona Cunninghame traversed Derry Cairngorm and Ben Macdui to the ski centre car park.  The clag was down and so no views.  In fact, it was so thick they couldn’t see their hand (or watch) in front of your face.

Dawn Fraser, Caroline Brewer, Dotttie Wildman, Bill Lindsay, Lianne Murrie, Jenni Coelho, Sue Cave, Leigh Cave, Sue Foster, Lindsey Kendrick, Teresa Berg, Faye Gonzalez, John Henderson, Riki Beck, Julie Cribb, Carrie Patterson, Pete Mitchell, Jan Adamson, Andy Treweeke, Ray Harron, Mick Greenshields and Lucy Haycock formed a large group who all walked through the Lairig Ghru to the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore.  A total distance of about 22 miles.  The weather was overcast and a little drizzly around the Pools of Dee, but cleared up for the latter stages through the Rothiemurchus woods.  Some got a pint in the pub, some got to the pub but with insufficient time for a pint, and a few stragglers along the road from Coylum Bridge made little effort to refuse the offer of a lift from the passing MMC bus.

Ray Newell and Stewart Evans traversed to the ski centre car park via Carn a Mhaim and Ben Macdui.  The clag was down most of the way across the high ground and only started to clear in the final stages towards the car park.

IMG_9244Dan followed the group as far as Derry Lodge and then set off on his own.  “Beinn A Mheadhoin was dead ahead and cloud free on the approach up Glen Derry.  However, by the time I arrived at Loch Etchacan everything was in clag.  I stumbled into at least four tors on the summit plateau, one of which was presumably 1182m above sea level.  Whilst clambering up the largest one I heard a call of “is that you Dan?” from the far side of the tor.  For a moment I thought that maybe the Old Grey Man of Macdui was lost in the mist, but it turned out to be Liam, well known to the climbers of the Club”.

Peter Goodwin covered more miles than anyone else…a distance of over 60 miles!  Having travelled to Linn of Dee, Peter then stayed on the bus all the way to the Sugar Bowl car park.  It was a very scenic journey full of wild animals, such as Boy Racers and Idiot Bikers, and included a coffee stop in Tomintoul.  The driver, Willie, was particularly cheery.  Peter eventually commenced his walk through the Chalamain Gap to a grassy patch that is all that remains of the Sinclair Hut.  He noted that the path is much improved since his last visit “tum-te-tum” years ago.

Joe arrived back at the Ski Centre car park with time to spare, which is a noteworthy feat since his traverse from Cock Bridge included Ben Avon Beinn a Bhuird, Beinn a Chaorainn Beag, Beinn a Chaorainn and Cairngrom.  “I consulted with Mr Naismith and he suggested that having set off at 9am I should reach the bus at 6:30pm, the advertised bus departure time.  Well, I can report that when you have a cold, stayed out too late on the Saturday night, it’s rough underfoot and you spend much of the day stumbling around in the clag starring at a map and compass, getting lost and climbing extra summits by accident, Mr Naismith is a surprisingly difficult man to keep up with.  Happily I did manage to beat him, but only just”.

John 2There was no time for a pub stop, but never mind, next time it’s Bob and Fiona’s round.

Words: Daniel Moysey

Photos: Dan and John Henderson