Day Meet, 25 October 2020

The weather forecast promised gale force winds and rainy squalls from the south west.  And so it turned out.  We scattered to the north (Ben Klibreck) and east (Bynack More and Abernethy forest) to try to escape the worst of it.

After some initial communication mishaps seven souls eventually gathered at a parking area a little south of the Crask Inn bound for Ben Klibreck, pictured above. Unfortunately that meant that we took a longer route to the hill along the (very) wet footpath leading to Loch Choire before cutting off to climb up to Creag an Lochan. There were wide open views to Ben Hee, Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, and to the east, Morven, Scaraben and Bens Griam Mor and Beg stood proudly.  Our main focus was on staying upright, however,  particularly as we approach the summit cone of Meall nan Con and the wind intensified to gale force.  An inadvertent offering of a newly knitted hat to Aeolus – the God of Wind – by Catherine had no effect. A brief look at the shattered trig point sufficed and we retreated to the A’Chioch bealach to find some shelter and sustenance.  The muddy path along the west side of Creag an Lochan afforded some shelter from the wind and led to a singularly boggy bealach leading to Croc Sgriodain. The sight of the track to just north of Crask Inn seduced us into following a burn course through the blanket peat bog to the track. Suffice to say that the peat bog was drier than the track. 

The view from Bynack More

Richard, Wendell and new members Lorna and Paul decided to go for Bynack More, gathering at Glen More for the starting point. Setting off at a brisk pace we motored to the bridge at the start of the trail. A quick break and off we went, Lorna and Paul setting the pace. The weather was better than forecast until we gained elevation. Stopping at the crags for a quick lunch we headed up for the summit, which was covered with a sprinkle of welcoming snow but also a cold wind; we didn’t stick around too long. Only enough time to touch the summit and a quick photo, and off we went. Lorna and Paul decided to make a run for it descending at speed. Richard and Wendell briskly walked back to the meeting point with rain clouds chasing us on the way. All four of us sat in at the Glen More Visitor Centre, although paired at separate tables for some hot drinks and chatter. Great day! 

Lochan Uaine, on the way to Ryvoan and Bynack More

Michael and Ewen decided to go for a mountain bike ride in Abernethy forest, starting off near Forest Lodge. You can’t drive down the private road to the Lodge now, and parking on the public road is limited; Nethybridge might be a better starting point. A scenic ride through the forest and past Ryvoan to Glenmore, where we stopped at the same cafe that the Bynack More team used later, and sunbathed in a sheltered spot outside for a while. Then on up the well-made track to Badaguish and through the muddy Sluggan pass to join up briefly with the back road up Strathspey, taking a right across Tulloch moor to reach our starting point after an enjoyable day largely off the public roads.

Participants: Robin, Catherine, Brian, John, Arthur, Masoud, Lorna, Paul, Wendell, Richard, Ewen and Michael.  Welcome to new members Lorna and Paul.

Day meet, Sunday 8th November 2020

We followed the by now familiar routine of having three mini-meets on the same day to minimise the size of each party, and provide a choice of days out. This time it was An Teallach, Beinn Bhan in Applecross, and Glen Tromie in the Cairngorms.

A group of six – Arthur, Dougie, Masoud, Paul S, Lee and Ruaraidh – set off for the An Teallach Munros from the parking area next to Dundonnell MR base.  The ambitions of younger, fitter members of the party to go on to sample the delights of Lord Berkley’s Seat and the pinnacles were pooh-poohed by older, reputedly wiser heads who saw benightment descending the Corrag Bhuidhe as an inevitable consequence of such rash thoughts. Little did we think that we would be back at the cars with a good two hours of daylight left.  We only met two other pairs of walkers – buzzing with excitement – both of whom had camped on the tops overnight. However, our more modest achievement of the two Munros  – Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill  and Sgurr Fiona – provided superb views and a new approach to An Teallach from Dundonnell for all of us. The photo above is of Sgurr Fiona and the Pinnacles.

Brian, Catherine and John opted to ascend Beinn Bhan from sea level at Tornapress by way of the stalker’s path to Loch Gaineamhach, which they left before the loch to head up into Coire an Fhamair. They were joined by Monty the dog.  Fabulous views into the corries on the eastern flank of the hill, and the almost free-standing A’ Phoit (the Chamberpot).  A stiff climb up the headwall of the corrie was well worth it for the vista from the top.  The summit is just an amble away but all the time the drops on the left and the unstable looking edge made for plenty of interest.  Possibly the best of all was from south east of the summit where they chose to stay on the eastern edge rather than follow the path; see photo above. Apparently there’s a scramble up the ridge of A’Chioch which looks amazing.  Least said about the descent the better.  It was a quick trip at only five and a half hours; roughly 1100m of ascent and 13.5 kms distance.  A very satisfying day, despite a bit of drizzle for a couple of hours.

The bike and hike party to Glen Tromie split into two after cycling up to Bhran Cottage – above – with the “A” team of Michael and Wendell biking up to point 575m (Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe), then on foot past Carn Thomais to Meall Chuaich (951m) in the clag, when Wendell’s routefinding skills came in handy.  Meanwhile Ewen, Andreas, Richard and Colin headed up Meallach Mhor, slightly impeded by the forecast shower of rain; otherwise the views were good.  All enjoyed their day, and most were able to stop off for a socially distanced coffee in Tiso’s at Aviemore.