Burns Supper, 18-19 January 2019

We had an almost full house of 18 for our Burns Supper at the ever-popular Elphin caving club hut, north of Ullapool. Dougie and Michael made an early start to the weekend, heading for Quinag – above – on Friday but being repulsed by loose snow and steep ground at the rock band on the centre peak. With darkness and a strong wind picking up, they retreated via lochan Bealach Cornaidh.

Success on Conival

The weather gods smiled on Saturday; Kirsty, Shona Ellie and Dan went for an early start, and planned a big day on Conival and Ben More Assynt. There was so much snow – and the days are so short – that they wisely called it a day after Conival – above – getting back in time to enjoy the festivities. They met up with Arthur, who was visiting for the day and had been up to the aircraft crash site near Beinn an Fhurain. It’s so remote that the casualties were buried onsite; one of the few crash sites that is also a grave, now with a substantial memorial flown in by the RAF.

Group on Canisp

Dougie headed for Glas Bheinn, having fun on the loose blocks and powdery snow. The rest of the party – including visitor Jo Dytch from Mountaineering Scotland, her partner Michael and dog Jess – made a mass ascent of Canisp. The visibilty was superb – below – and the views were enhanced by a temperature inversion, with mist drifting into the valleys from the east as the day progressed.

Cul Mor and Stac Pollaidh from Canisp

Now to the social event; the Burns Supper. With a choice of four starters, four desserts and of course various sorts of haggis, no-one went away hungry. Many thanks to all who provided the food, prepared it, did the washing-up and other tasks. Special mention goes to our musicians – Andrew on guitar, moothie and vocals, and Ian on fiddle. Thanks also to Robin who did his idiosyncratic address to the haggis.

The weather on Sunday was not good, so after a visit to a coffee shop in Ullapool most opted to head home. There are rumours of folk going up Ullapool hill, but they haven’t been seen since.

Monadhliaths Meet, 6 January 2019

Only Dougie saw blue sky on our trip to the Monadhliaths and he has a photograph to prove it. The rest of the group saw nary a sight of blue sky, or much else for that matter.

Our first meet after the New Year took us to Glen Banchor to the west of Newtonmore, where we parked at the road end and discarded our crampons and winter boots. The temperature driving down the A9 had been well above freezing and that was to continue on the hill.

Blue sky sighting

Dougie, in Corbett bagging mode, shot off to Carn an Fhreiceadain via the Munros of A’Chailleach and Carn Sgulain. Following the blue sky sighting, above, he described the rest of the day as “very cold, dreich and clagged in, necessitating a wee bit of navigation.” He was later found, at the end of the day, ensconced in a bar in front of a roaring fire in Newtonmore.

Three dogs set off along Glen Banchor to check out the hut marked on the OS map at Loch Dubh in Gleann Lochain. They were accompanied by Ewen, Rob and Fiona who duly reported back that the hut was no more, its remains scattered in the peat hags near the Loch.  They returned over Carn Macoul, and were interested by the features described below.

The team on Carn Ballach

The rest of the group also headed along Glen Banchor to Carn Dearg by Carn Macoul. Narrow, rocky sided meltwater channels from the ice sheet of the late Devensian period breach the ridge, south and north of Carn Macoul. The mist limited any views, with only the remnants of cornices fleetingly glimpsed en route to Carn Dearg. The group descended via Glen Fionnndrigh in the gloaming, joining up with the rest of the party in the aforementioned bar in Newtonmore.

Despite the weather, it was a very enjoyable and social outing.  Participants: Shona, Nell, Michael, John, Daniel, Arthur, Ewen, Kirsty R., Dougie, Wendell, Rob (members). Tanya and Fiona (potential members).