This year’s traditional meet to Skye, with a good crowd of 20 people, was notable for several reasons – the organiser actually attended for the first time in six months; we had the key code in good time so we knew we would get in and everything worked. It was also notable for the sheer length of all the entries in the big red book, so this report will be a heavily abbreviated version.
For several the weekend started early and Friday saw Adrian M and Minnie (his dog) on Blaven enjoying the great views in the late afternoon. Meanwhile Carol J and Adele N, before Carol started writing War & Peace, finally made it to the summit of Aonach Meadhoin on their third attempt. Starting from near the Cluanie Inn at 3:30pm they were surrounded for much of the way by bellowing stags in full rut. On her way across, Evelyn explored the Balmacara Woodland Walk near Kyle and then went for another walk up Glen Sligachan, also surrounded by the bellowing of the rutting stags and enjoying some clear views of the Cuillin ridge.
Alan and Fiona D, in full Corbett ticking mode, climbed the Druin na Ruaige ridge onto Beinn Dearg Mheidhonaich. A quick descent to the bealach was followed by the steep climb to Beinn Dearg Mhor and then another steep descent down the scree slopes. This was third time lucky for them too – previous attempts on Beinn Mhor having been defeated by rain and high winds. Although the wind was chilly it was clear and they too were able to enjoy good views of the Cuillins. At this point we should mention that Alan has now been a member of the club for thirty years. This is not as long as three of the others on this meet who found their names in the Hut logbook from a MMC meet in October 1985. It is satisfying to note that despite all the intervening years none of us look a day older.
The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was for Saturday to get steadily worse and for Sunday to eventually get better. Saturday morning therefore saw an early start for most; many of whom probably later wished that they had started even earlier.
Adrian, with Minnie running behind, cycled the Loch Eynort loop in Glenbrittle forest.
Andy B took a gentle plod into Glen Banachdich with the rain getting heavier and the wind getting up to knock-you-over strength. He was rewarded by a good sighting of a sea eagle which unusually was having to flap its wings rather energetically.
Dan ‘Tigger’ Moysey was suffering from an unusual attack of lassitude, which may or may not have had its origins in excesses the evening before. However, everyone else was busy getting ready for adventures so he suffered an attack of FOMO and hastily packed his bag for a wander into Coire Laggan where he met some of the others. At this point in his account a further attack of lassitude struck and he left it to them to continue the story.
One of these others, Carol, in volume two of War & Peace, takes up the story. “I was undecided what to do so ran after Andy, Jan and Alison Ross, to have a look at the Great Stone Chute, with no hopes of making it to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair due to the forecast strong winds. We stopped to admire the waterfall and some lochans and were eventually joined by Dan at the bottom of the GSC. Alison headed back at that point and we eventually made it up to the ridge. Surprisingly the winds were not as bad as predicted so we scrambled up to the summit of Sgurr Alasdair. There were no views so we headed back down the Chute, stopping again for a second lunch. It was pretty wet.”
Susan J had a pleasant wet and windy walk along the coastal path to Rubha an Dinain, meeting Alison on the way. Debbie R, enjoying her first trip to the Cuillins also walked into Coire Lagan, with Evelyn, only getting blown over once.
Alan and Fiona used the poor forecast as the stimulus to take the car over to Raasay where the first stop on their explorations was for cake and coffee at Raasay House whence they enjoyed the superb views back to Skye. Suitably fortified they walked up Dun Caan, where there was no wind at all. A quick jaunt up Callum’s road was followed by another stop at Raasay House and the new distillery.
Meanwhile Ben and Joe thought they would put ‘Mountaineering’ back into the MMC. In full knowledge of the weather forecast and rucksacks bulging with climbing gear they set off into the hills with plans. But Amphitheatre Arete had other ideas and it started to rain as they reached its base. 300′ up the rain was heavier, the wind was stronger, the clouds were something illegible, fingers were numb and the slabby rock had become a series of waterfalls, so Joe fixed a belay and brought Ben up to join him for a quick conference. This led to the unanimous decision to beat a hasty retreat so they abseiled and down-climbed to the base and bravely ran away.
Meanwhile, further to the north Adele was keen to bag a peak on the ridge. Despite the forecast she coerced two easily led souls, Sheena and Simon, to join her on an attempt on Bruach na Frith. The head wind on the ridge proved too strong so they traversed into the corrie for a more sheltered approach. The cloud was only just down on the summit but the rain held off and the wind had dropped a bit so it was a better day than anticipated.
Someone who has chosen to remain anonymous, but by a process of elimination was probably Robert R, on a flying visit from London, headed back to the mainland to climb A Ghlas Bheinn. He had fewer problems than the day before when after climbing Beinn Fhada he went wrong on the descent and dropped into Coire Chaoil and reascended to Sgurr a Choire Garbh. He descended a long ridge in the mist and the dark, not getting back to the car until 19:45. He then got stuck in the roadworks and didn’t make it to the hut until nearly 10:00.
Drummond and Ella headed north with a long drive to the Quirang. This, like the Fairy Pools, has been discovered by hordes of tourists, so having paid their £5 parking fee they joined the throngs on the path who eventually thinned out by the time they got to the far end. They had excellent views and visibility and they explored the Prison, the Table and the Needle. A spectacular location. They headed back in heavy rain. Apparently the Quirang features as the backdrop to a very popular video game in the far east so is a ‘must see’ for many tourists. The road to the Quirang is disintegrating rapidly; as is the road to Glenbrittle. This keeps the local garages busy and we were joined in the hut on Saturday night by a young couple who had badly dunted a wheel rim and had to wait until the next day for a call-out.
Saturday night saw the usual sampling of traditional beverages and Sunday morning dawned wet and cloudy as forecast. Consequently most people decided to head for home, though Andy, Jan and Robert headed for Blaven. The rest is known only to those who were there.