Monday, March 18, 2013

Dinner Meet 2013

This weekend was the AMC’s annual dinner meet – held this year at the MacDonald Hotel in Kinlochleven where we’d booked a number of cabins for the weekend, as well as arranging what promised to be a slap up feed in the hotel for Saturday night.

Feeling we should really do something to warrant the meal to come, Juliette and I headed of bright and early (well, quite bright and reasonably early) and after a couple of false starts in the woods behind Kinlochleven were on our way out towards Binnein Mor in the Mamores.

The bright crisp morning was perfect for slogging up the slopes from sea level kinlochleven towards loch Eilde, with the reward of views like this down the loch

Following the excellent stalkers path up the flank of Eilde Beag, we were caught up by Roddy and Austin who had applied brains rather than brawn to the morning and had a longer lie, followed by a drive up to Mamore lodge to start the walk in.

Continuing as a four we followed another stalkers path up the Southern ridge of Eilde Beag to the 956m spot height, we got lovely views of the Glen Coe hills from here from an unusual perspective.

Buachaille Etive Mor

Bidean Nsm Bian Group
Aonach Eagach
We continued up from here to Binnein Mor via its south summit, along a ridge made lovely and almost knife edge in places with some delicate and interestingly sculpted cornices by the recent snowfall and light winds.

Coming back the plan had been to continue along the ridge to Na Gruagaichean and hence down to the landy track coming up the glen, but just after the south summit of Binnein Mor, the cloud dropped and wind picked up leaving us in whiteout conditions with lovely stinging spindrift.  After traversing a couple of hundred meters along the corniced ridge we decided to turn back as it was taking so long to safely negotiated the ridge’s narrower sections due to the cornicing and rapidly forming windslab on the windward side of the ridge.

We re-traced our steps and dropped back down to the glen via Eilde Beag, and hence back to Kinlochleven. 

Back at the hotel we settle down by the fire with a pint in hand to watch the 2nd half of the rugby as the weather closed in and rain started to drum on the windows.

Luckily the rest of the teams out also had cracking days and managed to dodge the worst of the weather too.  More of their days exploits to come I'm sure!

Dinner in the hotel was a find social affair, with three courses filling us up nicely, with just enough room left over for a wee deoch an dorus (well maybe two....) in the snug before we drifted back to cabins.

SlĂ inte!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beinn Bhrotain

On Sunday John & Ann finally got up their first Munro of the year with a ski ascent of Beinn Bhrotain. During the long approach from Linn of Dee we were struggling to keep faith in the forecast that the low cloud would lift through the day. After a couple of hours it was showing no signs of doing so but tired of carrying the skis we tried putting them on as soon as possible, at about 500m. Despite the patchy appearance we managed to keep them on with only tiny sections of heather hopping.

Skis on at 500m
The snow was in great condition, firm and spring-like, if a bit wet. We traversed around the south side of Carn Cloich Mhuillin, where we had a top eagle spot, and from there more or less straight to the summit, which was reached in a minor whiteout.
Carn Cloich Mhuillin

Just about to summit
While we ate a late first lunch the cloud thinned enough for some surface definition but this only lasted for about the first 100m of descent. It then got very thick, damp and drizzly, with the goggles needing wipers (gap in the market here for Scottish skiing?). It was a shame as the snow was excellent but we had to pick our way down carefully on a bearing and unable to make out any surface at all, never the easiest task. Soon we reached the stream that heads east from just below the summit and popped out of the cloud to enjoy a glorious run down to minutes away from the Lairig Ghru path. Four and a half hours to the top, 30 mins descent, and 2 hours back out. Crazy, but still worth it.
Starting the walk out (bit blurry but it shows the conditions)