Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Inaugural Bothy Master Chef Set Menu - Saturday 23rd March 2019

Tarf Hotel

Inaugural Bothy Master Chef Set Menu

Saturday 23rd March 2019

Finest black pudding served on a bed of lightly dressed lambs lettuce and cherry tomato. Topped with goats cheese and caramelised red onion. Accompanied by toasted flat breads.


Smoked sausage and root vegetable casserole, with hand-made herby dumplings.


Dessert One

Homemade raspberry ice-cream served in a brandy snap basket, covered by sugared autumn fruits and berry sauce.


Dessert Two
Tropical banana loaf with lashings of custard, followed by;

Fire side whisky and chocolates

Note: All contestants pre-qualified by carrying a substantive amount of coal, wood and beverage over at least one Munro, multiple river crossings and two suffered from 'bog-leg'.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lagangarbh Mountaineering Hut Meet (Glencoe) 16-17 March

A wintery forecast didn’t put off a group of 10 club members from heading to the iconic SMC Lagangarbh hut nestled below the northern buttresses and corries of Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe.  The hut was a cosy, comfortable and spacious home for the weekend in serene surroundings.
Derek and Hazel started the weekend on Friday with a short ski tour up the Eastern flank of Geal Charn, west of the A9 near Dalwhinnie. 

Hazel walking up to the snowline
Snow conditions were questionable but the strong winds certainly blew the cobwebs away. 

Hazel skinning up from the snowline near to the summit of Geal Charn
 Holly, a former member, had joined us from Cardiff for the meet to catch up with old friends and to enjoy some fresh Scottish air.  On Friday with a wet and very windy forecast Holly, Charles, Mark and Judith walked to Peanmeanach Bothy near Arisaig which had a super location right on the coast.  Some views were had during the walk.   

The 'red' team on the walk (Judith, Charles & Holly)

On Saturday members woke to heavy snow forecast to fall all day, convincing Holly, Judith and Bruce to explore Oban rather than hit the hills.  A fun day was had exploring the town, waterfront, McCaig’s tower, local museum and cafes. 

Mark and Stephen Miles went for a circular walk around the wee Buachaille (Buachaille Etive Beag) from the hut. 

Derek, Hazel, Aaron and Simon (a prospective member) headed for Aonach Mòr to tackle Golden Oldy, a grade II/III winter climb on the Western face.  It was a hard approach through deep, fresh snow. 

Derek and Simon on the approach towards Golden Oldy on Aonach Mòr
Conditions weren’t perfect but Derek and Hazel decided to continue with the climb while Aaron and Simon decided to retreat, retracing their steps in poor visibility back to the car park. 

An enjoyable AMC supper was had by most (more on that later), thanks to volunteer chefs Judith, Mark, Hazel (cooked in absentia), Holly, Charles and Stephen, and to Simon for the wine. 

Due to a late arrival at the foot of the climb, Derek and Hazel quickly realised that attendance at dinner would be unlikely but, already committed to the climb the only way was up, so they continued on, arriving at the summit of Aonach Mòr after dark.  

A frosty (and dark) finish for Hazel & Derek at the summit of Aonach Mòr
A message was sent to the rest of the club members to continue with dinner, along with the cooking instructions for Hazel’s main course (thankfully already prepared)!  Derek and Hazel finally arrived back at the hut just before bed time having refuelled in Fort William with pizza on the way. 

Sunday’s forecast was certainly better with scattered shows, sunny spells and slightly stronger winds. 
After tidying up the hut, Judith, Mark and Holly set off for the Lost Valley in Glencoe.

Holly & Judith in the Lost Valley
Mark & Judith in the Lost Valley

Simon, Stephen and Aaron hiked up Stob a Ghrianain via the Druim Fada ridge, West of Fort William on the North side of Loch Eil.  

Aaron, Stephen & Simon at the summit of Stob a Ghrianain

Aaron near the summit of Stob a Ghrianain
Hazel & Derek went for a half day downhill skiing at Nevis Range and watched the second Skimo race and last of the season.  Club member Bob was participating so Hazel & Derek took time to watch him progress through the course and to cheer him on.

The starting line of the Skimo race
Bob on his ascent up Aonach Mòr
As always, a fun weekend of mountaineering and socialising with the Aberdeen Mountaineering Club.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

AMC members go in search of ice climbing in Rjukan, Norway

A group of AMC members (Roddy, Derek, Mark Cadman, Razzak, Emma & Calum) and two friends (Simon & Ruari) headed to Rjukan in Norway at the end of February in search of the Winter that has been lacking somewhat in Scotland. 
Rjukan is located in a narrow valley West of Oslo and is famous for its 104m waterfalls which were harnessed for hydro power production and later the location of Norsk Hydro's heavy water production plant famously sabotaged during World War II to prevent the Germans from producing nuclear weapons.  The Heroes of Telemark war film is based on that true story.  Rjukan is also one of the most popular places in Norway for ice climbing as it remains cold, stable and has a typically long Winter season.

Rjukan, Norway
Razzak, Emma, Calum and Ruari were first to arrive with the rest of the team arriving a few days later for the final 5 days.  Accommodation for Roddy, Simon, Mark & Derek was a typical Norwegian hytte comfortably equipped with handy underfloor heating (more on that later) and kitchenette.  The rest of the group stayed locally.  
The typical Norwegian hytte, home for 5 days
Even in Norway the weather was warmer than expected at this time of year with ice routes thinner and a bit (quite) wet.  Despite the weather the group managed to climb several routes over the course of the trip.  
Calum, Ruari, Razzak and Emma started by tackling some ice and mixed routes in Krokan including Jomfrua (WI-4) and De kaller meg fjard (M7).  The following day they moved on to Ozzimosis but found the area to be quite busy.  They did ascend Farfoss (WI-3), Skrueis (WI-3)and Zombie Hill (M7) as well as Mastermind (M6).
The rest of the crew arrived to mixed weather and strong winds.  The plan had been to go high to the Gausta area but the fresh snow and an hour's walk in was not desirable for a first day so the group split. Half continued to complete Gaustatoppfossen (WI-4) in Gausta while the other group chose Ozzimosis which was fortunately much quieter (routes Ozzimosis (WI-4), Klassisk (WI-3) and Minidisken (WI-3)). 
Mark on Ozzimosis with Derek on belay
Roddy & Simon
Roddy & Simon
After a well fought hill day it was time to meet up for beer, food and to exchange war stories before sending Calum and Ruari off on their return to Aberdeen.
Razzak enjoying a well earned beer

Celebrating the day's achievements with a Talisker
The next day brought some colder weather firming up conditions and helping to sustain the remaining ice; it was off to the Upper Gorge for some longer multi-pitch routes. It was Balkveien (WI-4) just right of the bridge which was first be be visited by two AMC teams. Razzak and Emma took the falls to the left whilst Mark and Derek completed the right side at the same time. Roddy and Simon took on Lettvann (WI-2 ) and Tracey's Eyes (WI-3). 
Spot the tiny climbers on the ice fall
Mark's eyes were firmly fixed on completing the classic route of Sabotorfossen (WI-5). The route was looking lean but the team of three (Mark, Razzak and Derek) were confident it should stick. The second pitch was as thin as predicted but with some delicate work, and donning a pair of flippers and a snorkel, Mark swam up the rather wet chimney. This only left Razzak with the equally wet and even steeper final section to complete.
That underfloor heating came in handy to dry all the wet gear
The only way to celebrate such an epic day on ice was to visit the local swimming pool for a relaxing sauna and swim in the outdoor pool followed by time trials in the water slide; Simon won with a world class sub 8 second descent.
The final day was back to Krokan before the temperature was expected to steadily climb. Derek and Mark had a final sprint taking in Unknown 1 (WI-3), Unknown 8 (WI-2), Kjokkentrappa (WI-4), Gaustaspokelse (WI-4) and Jomfrua (WI-4). Roddy and Simon tackled Kjokkentrappa (WI-4), Gaustaspokelse (WI-4) and Jomfrua (WI-4). Razzak and Emma finished up a hard week's climbing with Gaustaspokelse (WI-4).

Derek ascending Jomfrua

Roddy & Simon

Razzak on belay
With the end of the ice climbing and temperature on the rise it was time to head back to Scotland.  A great time was had by all and plans are afoot for a return trip in 2020!
Written by Derek Meehan