Pre Christmas Escape meet, 17 Dec 2017

Sunday morning saw 8 club members (Robin, Arthur, Ewen, Michael, John, Lawrence, Shona and Nell) congregate in the teeming rain and ice rink that was the Achlean car park.  The day’s destination and route had yet to be finalised but an easy decision was made: we all piled back in the cars and headed for the Boathouse Restaurant at Loch Insh!  While we enjoyed coffee and convivial company, the weather got its act together and by 10am we were headed off along Glen Feshie in much more pleasant conditions.

Four stream crossings were safely navigated, although recent floods had rendered the approach to the Allt Garbhlach quite awkward.  By midday we had reached the bothy: we tried the door and found, not only a beautifully tricked out bothy, but a roaring fire and a pot of fresh coffee on offer!

Tempting though it was to stay in the bothy, we headed west, following convenient cat-tracks on the lower slopes of Druim nam Bo.  One of the party decided to turn back in order to appreciate properly the views and take photographs.  Our aim however, was Lochan nam Bo (770m) and we reached the north end of the loch by mid-afternoon.  We settled down for a coffee break and to admire the frozen loch and then headed west to Creag na Gaibhre, where we were exposed to the the full force of the biting west wind.  We glanced passed the cairn and hurried on, following the zig zag path down the hillside and back into the shelter of the Caledonian Pines.  From there we passed the bothy again (resisting the temptation to stop off for a while) and retraced our steps back along the glen.  It was fully dark by the time we got back to the cars and I don’t think I was the only one with soggy socks after wading through the streams again.

The day was finished off with a visit to the Old Bridge Inn at Aviemore.

Morvich Christmas Dinner, 8-9 December 2017

The venue for this year’s Christmas Dinner was the Morvich Outdoor Centre; room for 20, and we had 19!  An added attraction was Steve Bell’s last Graham, which was Biod an Fhithich beside The Saddle.  On Saturday the entire party – of 17 at that stage – trooped up the track from Glen Shiel, and enjoyed a well-earned dram to toast Steve’s achievement; he is pictured above in his moment of triumph.  The weather was mixed as you can see from the photos, and no-one went on down the ridge to Shiel Bridge, instead concentrating on preparing enough food for at least 28.  It was almost all consumed during a very convivial evening.

It froze down to -8C over Saturday night, and the winter morning ritual of scraping ice and frozen snow off car windscreens and thawing frozen locks was a bit of a novelty after our spell of mild winters.  The day was promising, low winter sun sparkled on fresh powder as we gingerly drove a couple of icy kilometres to the car park below Sgurr an Airgid.  Kevin, Shona, Kate, Michael and Arthur planned to go up Sgurr an Airgid.  Alan and Gina  followed the same route to the bealach and then went for Beinn Bhuide.

The day was as promised.  Low winter sun, little wind and lovely views.  The progress of both parties was hampered only by trail breaking in soft snow and unmissable photo opportunities.  Both parties met up at the bealach on the way down and descended with views of the sun setting sun behind Beinn Sgritheall and the hills astride Mam Ratagan.  Not a bad day.