Tulloch meet, 16-17 February

Eleven club members had a great weekend at Tulloch Station Lodge bunkhouse.  Most hills tackled were defended by deep snow or forest lower down, but a couple of Munros, a Corbett and a Marilyn were successfully ascended on foot and snowshoes.  We enthusiastically celebrated a club member’s significant birthday (see below; who would have believed that he was so young?) and your scribe fell head first into a rather cold burn and also narrowly escaped the amorous clutches of Kevin’s lively hound.  It was all very good fun, apart from the burn and the hound incidents.

On Saturday, a trio of Steve, Dougie and Michael made their way through the woods near Burnside Cottage, eventually joining the usual way up Beinn Teallach.  Although there was a group ahead of them, the snow conditions made it hard work.  Summit found, they slip-slided their way back.  Skis would have helped.

Arthur, Nell, Robin and Shona set off for Cnap Cruinn along the old tramway from Fersit, but became bogged down in a mixture of deep snow, running water and mud.  They ended up following the old tramway and new forest road in a circuit of Meall Laire instead.

Another group of four people (Mel, Ewen, Richard and Kevin) and two dogs (Sky and Bracken) ascended Beinn Bhan, west of Gairlochy,  in mixed conditions but clear of the worst of the weather.  Great views of the Great Glen were had until after lunchtime, but a whiteout on the summit meant they had to search around on the plateau for the cairn.  It was a fairly brief day, but that allowed a trip to Nevisport for coffee and cakes.

On Sunday, Dougie and Michael, following in their footsteps, also went up Beinn Bhan from Errocht, describing it as a calf busting circuit; see top photo.

There was a lot of snow in Glenspean – that’s Stob Coire Easain above – so Steve, Richard (pictured below) and Ewen decided to go snowshoeing on Sunday.  Meall Luidh Mor to the south of Loch Laggan was conquered in very deep snow – hard going even in showshoes – and they were glad they hadn’t tackled anything more ambitious than 514m.

Arthur, Kevin, Nell, Robin and Shona went east to Aberarder and headed up Carn Liath initially in very deep, soft snow; conditions improved considerably from 600m upwards.  Poor visibility near the summit gave some navigation practice and the sight of avalanche tracks on the Sron a Choire spur of Creag Meagaidh on the descent kept them focussed.

Day Meet 4 February 2018 – the west Fannaichs

Eleven of us met up at the parking area on the A832 near the track to Loch a’ Bhraoin at the west end of the Fannaichs.  The weather was fine, with snow down to about 500m.

Two parties set off for the Corbett, Creag Rainich.  John and Ewen went via Loch a’ Bhraoin – see below – and Lochivraon bothy, intent on using their snowshoes – and they were pleased to report that they enjoyably did that.  Marion and Peter also went to Creag Rainich, but set off directly across the moor from the car park.  We didn’t see them again!  But they did text to say they had a very enjoyable day and got home safely.

Just past the east end of Loch a’ Bhraoin was the parting of the ways for the other two groups.  Michael and new member Dougie headed off east for the Fannaich munros of Meall a Chrasgaidh and Carn na Criche.  The rest of the group, comprising Arthur, Nell, Robin, Shona and guest Masoud set off up the north end of Druim Reidh to Sgurr Breac (below) and down to the bealach at the head of Allt Breabaig.

There was good neve on windward slopes from about 650m upwards with unconsolidated windslab on the lee slopes.  The sunny, almost alpine conditions may have given Masoud, from Iran, a less than typical impression of Scottish winter conditions.

We resorted to the Inchbae Lodge Inn for refreshment and recounting of the days adventures.

Burns Supper meet, 19-20 January 2018

The first arrivals at the Caving hut in Elphin were met with a need to dig out the track to the hut – thanks, guys – and all assembled on the Friday night full of anticipation for a good day on the hill.  The SMC contingent ascended Cnoc Breac at the back of the Naismith hut on Saturday in deep snow, and thanks are due to Mike the snowplough.  Others went on a photographic trip down the Cam Loch.

Michael headed out early on Saturday for Cul Mor followed by Shona, Jim, Richard and Robin, who caught up with him about halfway.  The fresh soft snow slowed progress considerably – see above – but conditions underfoot improved with height and crampons were donned for the final 200 metres to the wind blasted summit cairn.  There then followed another long exhausting trudge through yet more deep snow to regain the road and the hut.  Thankfully the superb views made it all worthwhile.

The snowshoers had a brief trip up the south ridge of Quinag.  Great conditions – snowshoes on from the road and bright sunshine – but Andreas’s culinary duties meant a short day on the hill, returning via the not-to-be-missed pie shop in Lochinver.  The haggis towers – see below – were worth the effort, and all 18 attenders had a very convivial evening with a huge choice of culinary delights.

The weather on Sunday was poor, so everyone decided to bank their gains from the previous day and go home, some calling in at the cafe on the seafront at Ullapool for coffee and lunch.