Monday, December 22, 2014

Sunday walk - Spittal of Glenshee

Morna and Scuz headed out to snatch a pre-Christmas Corbett from the Spittal of Glenshee. Fortunately the 100mph winds over hills and ridges didn't materialise so Ben Gulabin was achieved with ease and even a few views! To extend the walk we continued on a round over grouse moorland and was lucky enough to shelter in a high hut for lunch which had a patio heater and supply of beer!!! What moor could one ask for?
A descent to the valley and a wade across a river in spate brought us back to the car. A stop off in Braemar for a cuppa and a cake and a peruse around the 'toy' shop rounded off a fine day out.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Meet, Milehouse, Kincraig

Rarely, if ever, has the booking sheet been as dynamic as the one for this meet. There were almost as many cancellations as attendees, and that was with us making good use of the overflow camping facility. So with a wild and wintry forecast the committed headed off to Kincraig and a bit of a snowy shock. Despite the wintry weather in Aberdeen the sight of a good few inches of the white stuff in the hut car park still caused us some surprise, and a few parking problems.
Saturday was pretty much like the forecast; some clouds, cold but hardly a breath of wind. Most folks set off for reasonably big days out for the time of year. After failing to agree on a start time the popular choice of Bynack Mor saw two parties. Ann and John were the early birds who paid the price of breaking trail most of the way up, until caught by Stu and Juliette who had been delayed by dog issues. Their payback was getting down in the light, unlike the tardy tailenders of Roddy, Evie and Malcolm, despite having a ploughed trench to follow. Sadly the fine weather didn't hold and high up it was cloudy on and off, and there were some ferocious gusts too. Meanwhile, Jamie, Naomi and Linda B headed for the Glen Feshie hill and club members can see more of their exploits on the Facebook group. Sticking in Feshie, Scuz went for an ambitious double Corbett bag at the southern end of the glen but even she was defeated by the deep snow after just one, and Denis and Susan stuck to a low level walk around Achlean.

Deep going near the old Bynack stable

Bynack Mor in sight, but the clouds rolling in
Nearly there...

Getting a bit wild as we came down

Looking over to Ben Avon

Bright spell as we headed down
Saturday night brought on the usual excellent communal feast, with Malcolm's turkey terrine and Naomi's huge banoffi pie deserving special mention. There then followed what for me was a first, a bit of festive singing due to some secretive pre-planning amongst the musical types. All very festive.
Time for carols (singing chefs not shown for hygiene reasons)

Waking to the sound of heavy rain is never good, and less so with so much snow around. Given the exertions of the wading the day before most folks were happy with a long breakfast in preparation for some enthusiastic car pushing, before heading off to various cafes, gear shops and getting their skis out of storage. There have been some unconfirmed rumours about biking and some wee wanders...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Raeburn Hut Meet, Dalwhinnie

Reports from this autumn are starting to sound a bit familiar with another dodgy forecast and another bunch of members heading off on a meet to see what could be salvaged. In the end it turned out OK, the forecast on Saturday being overall better than forecast and Sunday was fairly pleasant for November. What did make this meet unusual was the large number of new members attending, almost half the meet. Luckily they didn’t seem too put off by the rest of us and soon joined in with the route planning for Saturday’s outings.
The interesting hill party selected an unusual route up The Far via the rocky cleft of the Dirc Mhor, which provided plenty of botanical and geological diversions for Denis, Malcolm and Jane.
Dirc Mhor

Dirc Mhor

Linda B fancied a crack at Creag Meagaidh and was accompanied by Naomi, Lai Yan, Greg and Roger. Despite rumours of a navigational “wobble” around Mad Meg’s Cairn I’m assured they did reach the actual summit, then carried on round the corrie over the other two Munros. (see Ann & John’s ski round of this route here)

Rod and Bob went for a bit of a yomp over most of the West Drumochter Munros and as expected were easily back in time for tea and cake, as was Giancarlo who bagged the solitary Meall Cuaich. Another solitary effort was put in by Roddy who went on a mission to bag one of the Corbetts above Glen Roy.

That just left John & Ann to tackle the biggest outing of the day, the traverse of the three Munros south of Loch Laggan. Despite being a big day a lot is on landy tracks so the going was quite fast, except for the direct descent north from the summit of Beinn a Chlachair, which has little to recommend it. Like the Creag Meagaidh group, the promised clearance from the west never really happened although a few good views were had.

Brief break in the clouds near Creag Pitridh

Saturday night as usual brought out the culinary flair in members, with an excellent three-course communal meal well up to the high AMC standards.
Most of the group ready to face Sunday

I’m a bit less sure of what went on on Sunday, which was a much better day in terms of weather – cold and clear with some fresh snow on the higher tops. The Creag Meagaidh five went up The Fara, John & Ann did the East Drumochters, Jane & Bob went for a bike-assisted bag of Beinn Mheadhonach from Glen Tilt.
West Drumochters from the east

West to The Fara

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Torridon Meet

Last weekend a hardy bunch of AMC-ers were undeterred by the foul forecast and headed across to Torridon where the excellent accommodation of the Ling Hut was waiting. Most even arrived in time to cook in the hut and get the place warmed up the tail-enders. 
Ling Hut
Saturday dawned reasonably bright, with little sign of the promised heavy showers although the strong winds were getting going. Most played it safe with sensible lower-level routes with easy escapes. Lowest of all, Mark and Ed undertook the Great Northern Panorama Traverse (around the back of Liathach to the rest of us). Linda B and John traversed Beinn na h-Eaglaise & Seana Mheallan, which gave them fine views of all the main Torridonian peaks and the considerable bonus of a finish in the pub. My, how the Beinn Damph Bar has changed. Malcolm and Donald battled up Sgorr nan Lochain Uaine and got back in time for an afternoon nap, while Rod laughed at the wind and managed to bag most of Beinn Eighe. That just leaves Linda S, who put us all to shame by running over Sgurr Ruadh just to get to Fuar Tholl, then almost ran back over Beinn Liath Mor but by then it was too windy even for her. And she wasn't last back...
The customary communal meal was suitably demolished despite the not inconsiderable challenge of Ed's Christmas Pud appearing as a finale, all washed down with the surplus wines from the Sailing Meet.
As predicted, Sunday was the sort of windy washout only the West Coast can deliver, so we all came home.
Beinn Damph from Beinn na h_Eaglaise

On Beinn na h_Eaglaise

Liathach from Seana Mheallan

Loch Torridon from Seana Mheallan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scuz Last Munro (Round Two): 7th September 2014

Drill Sergeant Scuz and her long-suffering Goat mascot set out to undertake an assault of four hills on the Black Mount, comprising one Logical Munro Unit (LMU). Following consumption of beer and burgers at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, the squad manoeuvred past the mighty Clashgour Hut under the cover of darkness and made an inconspicuous camp beneath a stand of trees. An early wake-up and a kit inspection preceded a route march along the track in a Westerly direction to the foot of Stob Coir an Albannaich.
Ascending the lower SE ridge of Sron na h-lolaire, the three-speed Goat reduced pace from a trot to a trundle, and there was no improvement in the pace of the advance despite the Drill Sergeant’s bellows of “Slackers will not be tolerated!” 

 Granite slabs were encountered, and overcome with ease, at mid-height.

On gaining the steep SE summit ridge, a rival party was observed attacking the hill from the West, and the trundle broke back into a trot to claim the summit first. Target accomplished (1044m); a fine vantage point from which to survey the next objectives.
 A lolloping descent to the col at 754m was followed by a trundle up and over Meall Tarsuinn and a fairly unspectacular blitz of Meall nan Eun (928m).

A continuation of the route NW revealed unmarked territory: the perilous un-tramped descent to the col at 633m, followed by a similarly abrupt re-ascent to the ridge above. The LMU became marginally less logical at this point, and was achieved at trundle speed. 
This grassy but lengthy ridge was followed Eastwards, still trundling. The panorama of the Etive and Glencoe hills was witnessed on route, and culminated in the combat of Stob Ghabhar (1090m).

Time was pressing on, so the narrow ridge section and steep descent to the col at 668m was embarked upon with due haste.
The squad gallantly tackled the re-ascent to claim Scuzza’s Last Munro of her second round on the peak of Stob a Choire Odhair (945m) at 4:30pm. Mission accomplished and photographically recorded with an empty can of cider and the remains of a chocolate bar.
Thanks go to the long-suffering three-speed Goat who has now lifted the decade-long ban on Corbett bagging, on the proviso that ruminants are not invited.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Glen Affric Meet

Last weekend's meet to Strawberry Cottage saw a full hut of AMCers make the trip to the heart of one of the most scenic glens in Scotland. Having two vans available for the run up the forestry track certainly made the approach to the hut easier.
Saturday was on the worst end of the forecast with a fair bit of cloud and some heavy and at times wintry showers. Donald, Mark and Judith tackled the Munros to the south, Morna and Jane did the two Corbetts to the SE and most of the rest did various long combinations of the hills on the NW end of the glen.

Upper Glen Affric looking broody

The long trek out to Mullach na Dheiragain

Brief break in the clouds on Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
Final hill of the day, Sgurr Gaorsaic
All of this activity was followed by a hearty communal meal and a fine social evening.
Sunday brought the promised improvement in the weather which brought about a mad scramble to load up the vans and get on the hill. The Corbetts to the SE were the popular choice for John, Ann, Mark, Donald, Judith, Denis and Naomi, while Morna and Jane went of to the Mam Sodhail area. 
The northern Affric hills from Carn a Choire Ghairbh

Summit ridge of Aonach Shasuinn


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Western Scrambling

With last weekend’s forecast good for the SW and poor for the NE, Ann & John took the long Friday night drive to Roy Bridge with an eye on some easy mountain climbs. Forecasts being just that we awoke early on Saturday for the long approach to the NE Ridge of Aonach Beag, to find it shrouded in the only cloud around. A hasty change of plan got us under the clear skies of Ardgour for a route on the well-named Garbh Bheinn (rough hill). 

Pinnacle Ridge is the right skyline
An hour later we were at the base of Pinnacle Ridge, a grade 3S scramble. There is some uncertainty about what the S stands for in this system but some of the more printable ones are scary, serious and slimy. Still being geared up for our harder previous choice of route this didn’t bother us too much, but we were soon glad of it.
The lower section

The rock is very rough gneiss with lots of good holds, but in places there is a lot of exposure. Typically this seemed to be worst at the one part where the holds ran out at what the guidebook called an awkward move, which was an inelegant belly flop onto a ledge clutching handfuls of heather and loose soil. Difficulties soon eased and the rest of the ridge was very pleasant with straightforward but varied scrambling in a great situation. 
Upper, easier section

Nice slab to finish

As always the view from the summit was stunning in all directions, and we were slightly relived to see that Aonach Beag still had a cap of cloud, so good choice there.
Since it was still a bit early to call it quits on such a fine day we decided to complete the full round of the corrie, in itself a bit of a classic day out with two more Marylins to do. 
View west up Loch Sunart from the summit
On the steep pull up Beinn Bheag I was beginning to regret the choice given the heat and a pack weighed down with rock gear and a rope. Luckily Ann recognised the signs of brewing discontent and shut me up by producing a bag of Tangfastics. Sorted.
Wandering along to Beinn Bheag
The angle then eased and we had a pleasant tromp around to Sgorr Mhic Eacharna in what we realised was early evening light. Luckily the bogs were all dry and springy so the descent was fast and dry, and as a final highlight we found a nice stand of the increasingly rare lesser butterfly orchid.
Towards Glencoe from Sgorr Mhic Eacharna

Down Loch Linnhe to Lismore

Lesser butterfly orchid
Sunday brought more fine weather but sore legs confined us to a supposedly short day out in Glencoe. We went for Barn Wall Route on Aonach Dubh but ended up on who knows what, certainly not a grade 3 scramble. Lack of gear placements and increasing steepness led us to quit before things got silly, the first abseil retreat we’ve done for a very long time. And before you rush up there on a salvage mission, I still remember enough tricks to have not left any gear behind.