Meet to Loch Cuaich and Kintail, 23 August 2020

As with the last few day meets, we’re having a series of mini-meets to keep the numbers in each group down to comply with the Government’s guidance.

The Munro-baggers team saw Daniel, Tom, Brian, pooch Monty and Dougie all congregate at Loch Cuaich on the Knoydart road. A direct ascent of Spidean Mialach from the radio mast, located 2km further past the dam, was quickly achieved and then the second hill, Gleouraich, also ascended. Tremendous views all around with some light coverings of cloud on some of the highest tops. The South Cluanie ridge could be seen along most of its length apart from the final western summit, The Saddle, which remained covered in cloud for the duration. The temperatures were lower than recently, but an extra layer of clothes was sufficient to ward off the cold.

Catherine, Richard and Ewen went up Sgurr Mhic Bharraich from Shiel Bridge in very warm conditions; shown below in winter on another club meet. The well-made stalker’s track soon led them up to the bealach, and they were rewarded with excellent views from the top. A descent by the north-east ridge went well to begin with, but culminated in very rough ground before the Glenelg road was reached. The day was rounded off with a trip to the Kintail Lodge hotel for refreshments.

Day Meet 9 August 2020, Glen Carron and Ben Avon

Our Covid-19 day meets continue. We are organising meets so that we have a number of small parties on different hills or doing different things to comply with meet up rules. Also, because we are not car sharing, we try to avoid a large number of cars turning up at the same car park.  One group of three went to Glen Carron, another group of four tackled Ben Avon from the north and two others also cycled up Glen Avon.

Robin, Anne and Brian had a good day on Sgurr na Feartaig, albeit slightly longer than anticipated.  The views all round were fantastic, taking in Beinn Eighe, Liathach and numerous other mountains, with the Cuillin ridge – pictured above – and the Sgurr of Eigg both visible from the top.  There was a good breeze on the ascent and along the top which kept them cool, but on reaching Coire Leiridh they lost the breeze and the temperature quickly climbed as they descended.  To keep spirits and energy levels up on what turned out to be a very hot and sweaty trek back out to Craig, Robin produced a packet of Jelly Babies from his rucksack which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Beinn a Bhuird from the summit tors of Ben Avon

The bike and hike crowd – Carol, Michael, Jim and Arthur – biked in along the good estate road from Tomintoul to just past Inchrory.  They took the stalkers path past Carn Fiaclach to East and West Meur Gorm Craigs and on to the summit (Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe) in fine weather with superb views. Jim wanted to visit all the original Munro tops and so took off on that mission, while Michael, Carol and Arthur retraced their steps back down the stalkers path.

Ewen and Catherine also biked in, with Ewen going further up Glen Avon on a reasonable track as far as Faindouran Lodge. Catherine indulged in a bit of wild swimming in the cooling waters of the Linn of Avon, and both met up later for a sociable cycle run back and a coffee in Tomintoul.

Tors near Clach Bhan, Ben Avon

Participants: Robin, Brian, Ewen, Catherine, Michael, Jim, Arthur with prospective members Anne and Carol.

Day meet, 26 July 2020

Like the last day meet – and possibly a good few in future – this meet was in fact a series of mini-meets to allow for the prescribed maximum group size and maximum number of households. Thanks to Dan, John and Catherine for setting it all up.

Wendell, Irene and Dan met at the car park West of Loch Laggan. Sceptical opinions were voiced about the day’s initial plan for a round of three Munros which were formed on the windy drive along the loch, and so a decision was made to aim for one or two. Irene and Dan had already experienced high wind and no views on Craig Pitridh with the club in February, and so it was left out. Bikes were taken to just beyond Lochan na h-Earba, then walking on an excellent path to the bealach between Geal Charn and Beinn a’Chlachair. From there it was decided to go for the closer Geal Charn. At this point visibility was still poor with heavy rain, and so there was an opportunity for navigation practice on the hill’s featureless North western side. The hope of views seemed lost, but then a miraculous clearance of clouds on arrival at the top gave fine views. Further squalls were visible to the West and so the group decided to cash in their chips and head home. The use of mountain bikes to lessen the plod in and out was a welcome addition, with the consensus being to use this method wherever possible in future.

Geal Charn, with Irene and a piratical Wendell

The second group comprising John, Robin and Brian, ably assisted by Monty the dog, had a change of mind. Plan A was the Beinn Dearg hills, but the weather looked as though it might be better further south and all had done all of the hills at least once, so John was decisive and suggested Carn a’Chuilinn. It turned out that this was a hill none had done, so was a better choice. The area has changed (a bit) since the Corbett guide was written, as a result of dam construction, so look at a modern map which has it as it now is! The forecast still had rain at 10 am, which duly arrived and they bravely set off in steady rain. The rain did stop, and some serious showers mainly missed the group. There’s now a cyclable track for a long way, before you turn onto the original stalkers track which gradually fades away in wet and rough ground. The obvious cairn that you can see from afar is nowhere near the summit, which does, however, have a very professionally built cairn too. From there you can admire the wind farms 😉. They dropped off the summit in a different direction, still on wet and rough ground, onto a new road and thence back to the start. A stalker’s track provided a possible slight short-cut, but the light glinting off the linear puddle persuaded them to stay on the nice dry road. If you are so minded, it is possible to cycle to 1.2 km from the summit.

Carn a’Chuilinn on a windy day

Catherine, Michael and Ewen decided to bike along the south side of Loch Laggan on the excellent estate road past Ardverikie Castle, and up the less good track to Lochan na h-Earba – which is actually two lochans – leaving the bikes between the two and ascending Binnein Shios in showery and very windy conditions. There were superb views all around, including Arverikie Wall, pictured top. It was great to get back to the bikes and coast downhill, then along the loch back to the cars; it would have been a long, hard walk.