Onich meet, 10-11 March

The weekend of 11/12 March saw a full house at the Alex Macintyre hut in Onich.  Indifferent weather meant that no-one had a big day on the hill, but Steve and Ewen had a cloud-free day on Saturday up Sgurr Choinnich, a Graham to the north of Loch Arkaig.

The objective for the ‘A’ team on Saturday was Meall Lighiche, south of Glencoe opposite the Clachaig.  Mel, Cerian, Annie and Michael followed the Allt na Muidhe burn intending to cross to the west bank to climb, however the burn was very high so they continued south to the bealach.  They returned down the intended ascent route, fortunately finding the burn had dropped enough to cross.  A visit to the Clachaig Inn was great motivation!

Deteriorating weather from the west on Sunday meant that most folk headed east to Beinn a’Chrulaiste north of the Kingshouse Hotel, which is currently closed for extensive renovations and will not re-open until 2019.  Now the good news; there’s a small cafe bar at the back which is open, and was a very welcome refuge after a damp and misty ascent of the hill.

Also on Sunday Richard and Shona enjoyed a rather claggy walk up the Pap of Glencoe, with limited views from about 450m on the way down.  It didn’t seem a popular hill that day!  In accordance with Fort William tradition they stopped off at Nevisport for a browse and a coffee.  Richard felt that he could have composed this part of the meet report before he left inverness!  But despite the weather, it was a very sociable meet in a comfortable hut.


Day meet to Glen Shiel, 5 March 2017

The heavy rain and sleet, mist and low cloud did not augur well.  We had delayed the meet from the previous day when the weather was even more inclement, on the promise by the Met Office of better weather.

Only on reaching the Cluanie Dam did our pessimism recede.  Fresh snow sparkled in the spring sunshine, cottonwool clouds floated around the peaks and all was reflected in the mirror like surface of Loch Cluanie.

We set off up the path from Lundie wending our way between the boulders, small crags and slabs at the top of the path before joining the ridge and wandering over to Carn Ghluasaid summit.  Cloud enveloped us briefly, but navigation to Creag a Chaorainn was easy – “keep the cornice to your right”.

There, Michael and Arthur turned around and strolled back down over Carn Ghluasaid.  Meanwhile, Elinor, Robin and newcomer John – an expat from the Caithness Club – went on to Sgurr nan Conbhairean and returned the same way.

Glen Shiel (MG)

The Cabin, Laggan: 17-19 February 2017

Eight club members turned out for this meet.  That was probably a good number for the Edinburgh JMCS cottage at Balgowan, near Laggan.  It meant that there was plenty of room on the alpine hut style sleeping platforms and the kitchen and social area were comfortable.

The weather forecast was not great, but Wendell and Shona set off for the Carn Mor Dearg arete.  They encountered rain, cloud, wind and almost no snow.  People were walking off the climbs on the North Face as they walked in.  They abandoned the plan for the CMD but went up the Corrie Leis headwall, over the summit and down via the Half Way Lochan in pretty miserable conditions.

Michael was nursing a sore ankle so went up the track by Cluny Castle and climbed Carn an Leth-choin at his own pace.  Kirsty biked up the same track and climbed Carn Dearg, then went off to Wolftrax in search of coffee and more biking action.

The remaining crew of Arthur, Ewen, Richard and Robin went up Meal nan Eagan and explored the glacial meltwater channels of Dirc Mor and Dirc Beag.  The idea of going on to The Fara was quietly dropped as the weather closed in.  One significant learning point was that the path from the Raeburn Hut to Loch Caoldair  was not the best approach to Meall nan Eagan.

Sunday saw Lisa, Wendell and Kirsty head off to Three Wise Monkeys Climbing Wall in Fort William.

The rest of the team explored the early Pictish fort on Dun da Lamh and wandered along the forested ridge of Black Craig then on to the Graham of Creag Ruadh.  The approaching bank of cloud over Loch Laggan made the idea of coffee and cake in the Pottery Bunkhouse on the old Wade Military Road (more prosaically, the A889) very attractive.  And so it was.

Cloud rolling in over Loch Laggan – AMcC