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: TBA

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

May 2017 Weekend Meet Report – Skye

Thirteen members plus one guest caught a boat to a hut in the middle of nowhere, enjoyed some excellent company and scrambling in good weather, drank a little and caught a boat home again. That in outline summarises what was an excellent May Day  meet following the long tradition of going to an island for the public holiday long weekend.

By deciphering the illegible scrawls in the big red book I can reveal a bit more detail.

Colin arrived early on Skye and went for a 32 km bike ride around the Sleat peninsula to Tokavaig and Tarskavaig.

Heavy Whalley and Ray Harron arrived early, opened the hut and then went up Sgurr na Stri to find the crash site of an F1-11 where Heavy had led the rescue team in 1982. Sue Beardmore arrived a bit later, having walked in from Sligachan, and got cold for several hours, not realising  the hut was open. The others arrived on the evening RIB boat – a ride of barely 15 minutes.

The hut has been upgraded recently and now has electric lighting from solar panels.

Next morning Joe and Jake were up early and set off to do the Dubh ridge and arrived back fourteen hours later having continued along the ridge to Sgurr nan Eag and Sgurr a Choire Bhig. Joe looked as fresh as a daisy on his return – Jake slightly less so.

Jenny, Ellen, Simon, Dan, Sheena, Colin and guest Lesley Muirden also set off to do the Dubh ridge. The wind was very strong and some of the lighter members were grateful for a confidence rope in places. At the top of Sgurr Dubh Beag they spent a little while watching Jake and Joe on the final pitch in the snow of Sgurr Dubh Mhor. It was too windy to safely do the abseil so they back tracked a little and traversed around to the col and then descended, painfully slowly, down Coir an Chaoruinn. This lived up to it’s name with several ancient rowan trees surviving within the boulder fields. Nine hours to walk five miles – there are no short days on Skye.

Ray, Heavy, Bob and Fiona walked around the bay to ascend Gars-bheinn. Ray and Heavy turned back at about 650m while Bob and Fiona carried on to the summit, enjoying a ten hour day.

Sue did a circular walk up to the memorial on Sgurr na Stri, down into Glen Sligachan, on to Camasunary and back along the coast path via the bad step.

Sunday saw Sgurr na Stri as the main objective. Heavy and Ray took Jenny and Ellen up the West face. “Jenny’s route” involved an increasingly precarious ledge on the vertical face in very strong gusts of wind. As Jenny’s face went whiter, and her tightly gripping hands got bloodier from the razor sharp gabbro, Heavy eventually offered to get out his rope. The trouble was that he’d forgotten it. Some how they survived and went on to the crash site where large amounts of debris can still be found. On the summit they met up with Dan, Sheena, Lesley and Simon and everyone enjoyed lunch on what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in the country. The complete panorama of the Cuillins stretches out around you, and also encompasses the red Cuillin, Blaven and Loch Scavaig and the mainland hills. Ray organised a Vogue fashion shoot with the mountains posing behind Jenny and Ellen.

Dan, Sheena, Lesley and Simon had gone along the coast path, past the bad step to ascend the south east ridge. The guidebook was very detailed but was hardly necessary once we realised the trick was to head straight up the hardest looking bits, with easier routes to the left if needed.  Excellent scrambling for nearly 1,000′ brought them to the summit where their peaceful enjoyment of the hills was shattered by Heavy and co’s arrival.

On the descent on the north of the hill we found a large piece of wreckage from the same crash that had been thrown right over the hill for nearly a mile. Over the weekend Heavy told us a lot about the story of this crash and it’s aftermath, including visiting the site with some of the pilot’s family. There is a lot of history and tragedy behind these bits of metal that can be found scattered on so many of the hills and islands.

Joe had a late start and wandered up past Loch Coruisk and up to Bealach Coire na Banachdich and on to Sgurr Dearg. He would have enjoyed his lunch there but having forgotten the bread nibbled on a lump of cheese while sheltering from the wind. A return around the sunny side of the loch rounded off an excellent day.

Sue joined Dan and co for the first part of her walk past the bad step again, followed by a circuit of Sgurr na Stri and Loch Coruisk.

Bob and Fiona also circumnavigated the loch, enjoying the flowers and wildlife en route, including sightings of an eagle.

Monday was a leisurely day for most with bird and wildlife watching from the beach. Quite a few waders were seen, as were a pair of sea eagles who flew around for several minutes.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, favoured with excellent weather.

April 2017 Bus Meet Report – Glen Affric

In excess of 30 MMC members and guests from the LDWA attended this meet, for which the weather was just about perfect – bright, dry and not too hot, with snow on the summits.

With only a couple of exceptions everyone followed one of two routes, either through to Morvich or the slightly shorter, but rougher walk to the Cluanie Inn.

John Henderson with seven LDWA members, plus Drummond and Ella, Babs, Graham Milton, Graham Bartlett, David Brown and Bill Lindsay walked through to Morvich. Just over 20 miles in 8 hours and 15 minutes.

The others, Simon, Lianne, Russell Mounce, Ray, Barbara, Maggie , Katrina, and Aileen took the route to the Cluanie Inn, some via the north side of Loch Affric, others on the south. Nearly everyone took lunch at the Youth Hostel. Lots of deer were seen, also a lot of frog spawn in the pools. The cloud lifted and everyone enjoyed the views. Good paths for most of the way but wet and boggy for about three miles over the watershed. This was not helped by a new forestry plantation with a couple of awkward stiles with a trip wire designed to catch the unwary – not a good advert for the National Trust or Trees for Life to block a right of way like this.

Ray Newell also managed to take in the Corbett of Am Bathach on his way to the pub.

Less success was enjoyed by Malcolm Campbell. He planned on staying on the bus to Morvich and doing a circuit of Ben Fhada. His plans started to go wrong when the (very large) bus took over an hour to get back down Glen Affric due to all the traffic. They went further adrift when the driver announced he also had to take a 45 minute break in Drumnadrochit. His eventual start time of 13:00 led to a quick assessment with Naismith’s rule and Ben Fhada was left for another day.

Everyone enjoyed the evening stop at the Cluanie Inn, though Ray Harman had been heard to say earlier in the day that there was “no point in being at the pub too early”. He wasn’t, but most others who disagreed with this sentiment managed a reasonable session.

April 2017 Weekend Meet Report:Loch Ossian

For the third time in as many years the Moray Mountaineering Club had an excellent Springtime weekend at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel.  Some arrived early, the earliest being Alan who arrived at Tulloch Station on Thursday, climbed Cnap Cruinn and raved about how good the cooked breakfast was at Tulloch bunkhouse after a night’s stay.  He was joined by Babs, Gus and Brent on the Friday for the early train into Corrour and coffee and breakfast rolls at the Station House Restaurant.  Definitely a pattern emerging here!  Alan cycled to Loch Treig, climbed Creag Ghuanach in the rain, but thankfully below the cloud.  He couldn’t manage his next objective for the day due to the river being too high to cross.

Babs, Gus and Brent climbed Beinn na Lap in the rain… “Cold, wet and windy and that was just Gus!  No views, wet sarnies and then watching Babs slide most of the way down on her backside!  To the hostel.  Beer, food, whisky and storytelling from Heavy.”

Heavy and Derrick arrived on the midday train and as Derrick retold in the Book of Climbs “After assisting Heavy to the start of his ascent of Beinn na Lap (without oxygen and under his own steam) I headed off up the path on the north side of Loch Ossian for a wee stroll and enjoyed various weather systems.  Quite refreshing.”  Heavy’s report from Beinn na Lap records that it was cold and windy but the views were good.  Just goes to show that in the hills timing can be everything.

Weekend revellers arrived on the next two trains from Tulloch or, in the case of Dan, by bicycle, and Ellen and Robert, on the last train from Glasgow.  Robert taking the train all the way from London and Ellen very happy to have managed to get out with the club despite having to be in Fife for work on Friday.

Loch Ossian Hostel is a fine place to convene for the evening.  No stereotypical finger-wagging rulebook-waving SYHA warden imposing curfews and the like, just the club left to its own devices, with resident warden Jan very friendly and welcoming as ever.  As the sun set behind the Grey Corries plans were hatched. Maps were pored over as the whisky and wine liberally flowed.

On Saturday morning a contingent set off once again for the station and caught the early train to Rannoch.  Heavy was a member of the party and he reckons the best part of the day was meeting “six to eight angels in lycra” on the train who departed at Rannoch Station to run to Fort William.  Once composed he, Adrian, Babs, Derrick, Brent and Gus headed off to the elusive Corbett of Meal an Meoig.  After summiting, Brent and Gus followed the “Road to the Isles” track back to Loch Ossian.  They arrived at the hostel just in time for Cate to serve up hot cross buns.  The rest of the party returned to the hostel over the hills and Mam Ban, all enthusing about this lovely hill, often neglected in favour of its higher neighbours that just happen to breach the magic 3000 foot barrier.

Alan, not a man to be beaten, cycled back to Loch Trieg and vanquished his nemesis.  Beinn na Cloiche was not going to get the better of him two days in a row.  Sure enough, he made the summit this time and returned with time to kill so cycled around Loch Ossian – a lap of honour perhaps.

Dan, Sarah and Brad set off on their mountain bikes for an epic tour…  best told through Sarah’s excellent comic.

Ossian ComicCate, Ellen and Dougal set off for a low level walk along the banks of Loch Ossian and then onto Strath Ossian.  They started off on the south side of the loch and saw lots of frogs and spawn in puddles and ditches.  Flowering rhododendrons were passed closer to Corrour Lodge, and interesting architecture at the lodge itself.  They may have seen an Anthony Gormley statue but weren’t entirely sure.  Lunch was eaten by the River Ossian just before rain came in but it cleared for them to return to the hostel along the north shore of the loch.

Joe also decided to do a low level walk and got to Corrour Station in time for the 9 o’clock train – the sleeper from Euston – to whisk him to Fort William, with the intention of walking back.  Half an hour after the train was supposed to appear he phoned the enquiries number to find that the train had been cancelled.  The next one was at 11:30 so this left enough time to return to the hostel, have a couple of mugs of tea and some brunch and then return to the station.  The walk from the metropolis of An Gearasdan to Loch Ossian was very pleasant, if boggy in places.  An almost direct west to east wander through beautiful and remote scenery.  The walls of Glen Nevis gradually closed in towards the gorge before suddenly opening to reveal the splendour of Steal Falls, full with the recent rain.  The wilderness to the east followed, with the occasional tree stump and ruined building giving a visual reminder that these glens were not always as bleak and quiet as they are today.  The old drove road through Lairig Leacach was joined by the shore of Loch Treig and followed southwards.  This route was featured in Simon’s excellent slideshow at the club’s recent AGM and was once the main road from the Great Glen to the south.  This ancient route gave way to a brand new track, built alongside the new hydroelectric scheme, which wound its way up towards Loch Ossian and under the railway.  The hostel was reached as the slender crescent moon rose above the water and the sun sank low towards the Atlantic.

The following piece in the Book of Climbs concludes the Saturday adventures of the weekend:

“At 9:00am an eclectic team set off along the south side of Loch Ossian.  David and Robert were the early pace walkers before being caught by the chasing pack approaching the Lodge.  Two committee meetings were convened in rapid succession to agree the route up the first top towards Sgor Gaibhre.  Whilst David was confirming that the track out was viable but not direct Drummond escaped and held the lead for the next one and a half hours.  The team regrouped before Jan, Fiona and Robert led the way over Carn Dearg – Drummond and David stopped for a chat.  The return along the road was orderly and we all appreciated a day with weather way ahead of MWIS.  Dinner at the station was outstanding.”

Yet another sociable evening was spent at the hostel, with some people heading to the Station House for dinner and others staying in to eat.  The presence of the new hydroelectric scheme meaning that for the first time in the hostel’s history guests can cook with an electric cooker, boil water in an electric kettle and, perhaps most revolutionary of all, have a hot shower.

On Sunday morning Heavy, Babs and Derrick climbed Meall na Lice, just south of the hostel before retiring to the station for lunch.

Others climbed Leum Uilleim… from a process of elimination probably Robert, Brent, Alan and Gus but at this report goes to press the facts are unclear, indeed the alternative facts may be even unclearerer, so some of the above may have spent the day drinking coffee at the station house, a pursuit just as respectable as hillwalking.

Almost everybody else climbed Beinn na Lap.  The top had been covered in cloud early in the morning but it gradually lifted above the summits and, by afternoon, blue sky and sunshine were revealed.  People left the hostel in dribs and drabs and gathered at the summit.  Drummond, Fiona, Jan, Brad and Adrian sat on the lee side of the cairn eating lunch and admiring the terrific views.  Dougal desperately tried to work out if that really was Ben Lawers, and what the twin summits of Ben More and Stob Binnein should look like from this aspect.  Dan and Joe muttered about the lack of snow and consequential lack of skis whilst Sarah generously offered everyone pitta bread and hummus and Ellen glowed with a sense of achievement from having climbed her first Munro.  By the time everyone was down at the hostel there was time to eat up the remaining food.  Bread, cheese and scotch eggs were gobbled up and Cate’s toasted buns were enjoyed by many.

But the weekend wasn’t quite over for all… Dan takes up the story:

“After quite a long mountain bike ride on Saturday, a quick jaunt up Beinn na Lap was an attractive prospect.  But, having completed that by about lunchtime, there was the question what to do with the afternoon?  The lap of course!  Several folk had mentioned it, but they all disappeared quicker than a Balvenie at a MMC meet.  The tradition is that if you run around Loch Ossian in less than an hour, you can add your name to the list of other nutters in the YHA book.  Shortly after setting off, I began thinking that the preceding 36 hours were probably not the best preparation, and by the time I was half way around my legs were definitely getting heavy.  However, after 57 mins and 32 seconds I was welcomed back by much cheering, followed a few minutes later by a mass departure as everyone went to get their train home, leaving just me and my bike.  But wait…I can beat Scotrail!  With the benefit of a tail wind and a good bit of downhill, I was back at the Loch Laggan lay-by just in time to see everyone heading east along the A86.”

February 2017 Weekend Meet Report:Laggan

Drummond, Ella, Cate Bulmer, David Treagus, Adrian Marsay, Evelyne, Alistair Jeffs, Andy Lawson, Jan Nowell, Dave Maclean, Robert Ross, Heavy, Heavy’s Plus One, Alan Duncan, Fiona Duncan, Jake Lee, Malcolm Campbell.

Most of the above arrived at the Great Glen Hostel, Laggan, in the month of February for more MMC frolics in the hills. A new venue, which had its plus and minus points, gave us a fine base. This area is too easily ignored as folk head off like a flock of turtles to the obvious delights of Lochaber and beyond and even though the forecast was poor there was much scope for shenanigans. Unfortunately, the scribblings within The Book of Climbs are either absent or illegible and as your author’s grip on reality – never mind distant events – is at best vague, the following report describes little.

As usual, there were various state-sponsored elderly folk and barely employed public servants able to take advantage of better weather on the Friday. David Treagus, Alistair Jeffs, Adrian Marsay and Smudge met at Creag Meagaidh car park and thence up in to the Coire. Mixed visibility and an increasing wind made the day interesting, but sadly no snow to test David’s winter boots.

Alan ‘Nanny’ Duncan was given the Friday off babysitting duties and had a great day bagging the ‘Graham’ Glas Bheinn up Loch Arkaig and enjoyed fine weather.

The motley crew arrived Friday night and listened enviously to the tales of what the early arrivals had got up to, as the forecast was doom-laden. Andy ‘Wednesday’ Lawson spent a subdued night supping on his passion fruit cidre and then made a hasty exit on Saturday morning with a haunted look and a keen eye on the next possible toilet stop. Sorry to see such a stalwart struck down by the furious colliewobbles, but it happens to the best of us and you can’t keep a good man down for long. (Though possibly longer than Andy’s tea).

‘Nanny’ said it all with his opening comment – “what a difference a day makes!” Sunny yesterday, but rain, sleet followed by snow above 300m clag down to a pretty low level. Headed back to Loch Arkaig and parked at the Allt Mhuic butterfly reserve, one of the best places to see the rare Chequered Skipper. Unless its winter and they are hibernating! Climbed Sgurr Choinnich in pretty awful conditions, so nothing more to be said.

Adrian and Smudge made a valiant effort to climb Bein a Clachair. The heavy rain turned to snow at the bealach and on the ridge a fierce wind whipped the snow into a driving blizzard. A wise retreat at about 800m saw an early return to base camp. There are alternative phrases to ‘valiant effort’.

Malcolm and Jan’s target for the day was Ben Tee. Set off from the car park at 09:30 and headed into the mist. Should have read the Corbetts book – “ don’t take the path by the burn as it only leads to the waterfall” well, the falls were spectacular, but we then had a steep climb out through a birch wood. Then the glories of a bog-trot into a stiff wind and driving rain/snow. Near the summit, met the redoubtable Ella and Evelyne who, being fleet-footed mountain athletes, were already heading down. A good choice of hill for a day of less than ideal weather and so to the Glen Garry Hotel. ‘Stands the clock at ten to three, and is there honey still for tea……’

As well as being finely tuned athletes, Ella and Evelyne can also read, so did not end up at the base of an unexpected waterfall. It may also be why they ascended so rapidly and as Malcolm rightly said, it was a good hill for a shite day. More wisdom from Ella as she observed that it was good to see even a small amount of snow to remind us all that it was afterall meant to be winter. Winter. Where in the name of Betsy did that go?

Wisdom then deserted the party as the Heavy mob set off down the torturous and long long Loch Arkaig road. There was Heavy, Fiona ‘the Minx’ Fifi, Heavy’s mate and Heavy’s mate’s mate. And it doesn’t matter if the car has heated seats and surround sound speakers, you still feel like throwing up after 5 minutes on the bendiest road in all of Scotland. This disreputable crew sauntered as far as the upper Glendessary and were then prevented from going any further due to stalking issues. It seems that Heavy’s restraining order knows no geographical bounds. A subdued crew made their way back to the hostel for coffee and cake.

Dave and Jake, the trailer trash itinerants of the meet, didn’t fancy a soaking on a windy hill and so got soaked cycling in the wind along the Great Glen Way to Fort Augustus. Fabulous track which is well worth a pootle if your cycling is more Mary Poppins than Tigger. It is also a route with more industrial heritage and history than you can shake a stick at. Stopped for coffee to warm up, which was swiftly followed by ale to strengthen resolve for the return leg. An early return saw the peloton consume a vat of fierce curry that ‘Wednesday’ could only dream of tackling.

With many folk returning to the hostel dripping wet and cold and with the promise of similar joys tomorrow, the evening took on the atmosphere of a ‘last supper’ as many of the party had little ambitions for the high places on the Sunday. As ever, it was a most convivial atmosphere with Fifi fiddling from her repertoire of about a million tunes and Heavy regaling us with double that amount of Mountain Rescue tales. Bloomin’ marvellous!

Now although ambitions were limited, there was surely more activity than has been recorded. However, it hasn’t been recorded, which may be just as well. All that is known by this poor scribe, is that Fiona, Alan and Jake went up the uninspiring Leana Mhor East. They were meant to be following the remarkable ‘Parallel Roads’ of that glen, but the particular ‘road’ they were following didn’t seem to exist. A horrible ascent/descent/ascent through soft snow and vertical bog saw them onto the flat top where 45 minutes was spent looking for a 6 inch cairn hiding in 5 inches of snow. Feckin baggers!

Weather was undoubtably against us, but if Disneyworld could come up with a way of creating more fun than we had, then they’d be gazzillionaires. Oh…….. They are. Right Simon. Florida next February.

May 2017 Bus Meet – Lairig Ghru Traverse

Sunday 21st May 2017

Lairig Ghru Traverse

O.S.Map(s): 36

Bus Stop: Glen Affric car park

Est. time of arrival: 9.30/9.45am

Time of departure: 5.45/6.00pm

Leave Elgin: 7.00am

We will be tackling the Lairig Ghru from the Linn of Dee to Aviemore. The pick up points will be Elgin (7:00), Forres (7:20) and Grantown on Spey (8:00). The bus should arrive at the Linn of Dee car park around 9.45am.

The walk (21 miles) will take around 8 – 9 hrs depending on rest stops along the way.  We will exit the Lairig Ghru at Coylumbridge and then make our way down to Aviemore. Some members may wish to take in a hill or two and so end up at The Cairn Gorm car park.

The coach will drop off at the Linn of Dee car park and then make its way to the Cairn Gorm car park. The pick up time at Cairn Gorm will be 18:30 and drop off at the Cairngorm Hotel (across from Aviemore Railway Station) at 19:00. The members should be back on the coach by 20:00 at the latest to be back in Elgin by 21:15 ( via Grantown and Forres).

Please contact Gordon Eccleston by 16:00 on the evening of Thursday 18th May to book a seat on the bus for this meet.

May 2017 Weekend Meet: Coruisk, Skye

At the ‘Bad Step’ en-route to Coruisk

Date: 28th April – 1st May 2013 (3 nights)
Venue: The Coruisk Memorial Hut, Skye

Location: The Coruisk Memorial Hut is situated on the Island of Skye at the head of Loch Scavaig, close to where the River Scavaig flows the few hundred metres from Loch Coruisk to the Sea. It is about 100m from a landing stage in Loch na Cuilce (off Loch Scavaig) (OS Sheet 32, Grid Ref: NG 487197).

Boat from Elgol – a 30-minute sea crossing. There are now two operators but please check their website: Bella Jane Boat Trips or Misty Isle Boat Trips.

Walking from the road at Kilmarie – a 10km (6 mile) hike.
Follow the land rover track as far as Camasunary, then the rough track round the headland by way of the ‘Bad Step’ and the Scavaig River to Coruisk. This route will take between 2 and 4 hours depending on one’s fitness, load and weather.

Walking in from Glen Brittle, with a heavy pack, not recommended.

Please note that a boat has been booked going in Friday evening – group price negotiated. If anyone intends making their own way in, please let Simon know.

Facilities: The building is self contained and sleeps 9 persons in bunks within the main room. Sleeping bags are required although there are a number of blankets. Power is supplied by bottled gas that serves the cookers, lights and new stove. Both the flush toilet and the kitchen sink are served by a water pipe running from a nearby burn. All pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, etc. are also provided. (Only sleeping bags, clothing and food are required.)

Cost: tba

Activities from hut: In spite of its remoteness the hut is ideally situated for excursions to Sgurr na Stri (recommended), Druim nan Ramh, The Dubhs, Gars-bheinn and the more demanding traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. Rock climbing of all grades is found nearby. On less energetic days one might include low level walks around Loch na Cuilce, where there are many seals and other forms of wildlife, or around Loch Coruisk, where the scenery is most dramatic with the black rocks plunging into the watery depths.

Bookings: As many who want to come can come, however, please note that all 9 bunks in the hut are already taken, with numerous members also already on the reserve list. If you don’t have a place in the hut you can camp nearby.