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.