Am Fear Liath Mòr made an appearance on Sunday. More precisely, there were several grey forms of both genders, appearing wraith like in the mist on Ben Macdhui on the club meet to the Cairngorms.
The group set off with four destinations in mind: Michael to walk round the rims of the Northern Corries; Dougie to bag Creag Mhor via Fords of Avon; Rob and Ewen to visit Carn Etchachan and the largest party to set out for Ben Macdhui and return via Loch Etchachan and the Shelter Stone. Each party set off for their destinations from a largely deserted ski centre car park and ascended into the cloud. Only Michael, on Cairngorm, saw the sun thereafter.
The first signs of winter were apparent; remnants from earlier snow falls in the gullies, verglas on rocks and fresh snow falling above 1000m. From Macdhui a little bit of navigation practice took us past the Sapper’s Bothy, down to Loch Etchachan and thence to the Clach Dhion (or more prosaically, the Shelter Stone). In The Statistical Account of 1794 it was reputed to hold ‘eighteen armed men”. We thought our party of six was about right. One entry in the log book is reputed to read “it moved”. With a weight of around 1300 tons, that does gives pause for thought. But it was a welcome shelter from the rain and wind for our party to do some route finding, top photo.
After a fairly interesting river crossing in increasingly heavy rain, we headed up the much improved path by the Allt Coire Domhain beside Hell’s Lum Crag, heading for Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais. The rain turned to snow as we ascended and as the light faded we reached point 1141. Point 1141 was also Dougie’s objective on the long trek back from Creag Mhor via the Fords of Avon refuge, pictured above, and the Saddle. He was a bit earlier than us and was sitting snugly in the Old Bridge Inn with the rest of the party as we soggily made our entrance.
Participants: Dougie, Michael, Rob, Ewen, Toni, Kirsty R, Shona, Ian, Fiona, Robin, Daniel, Masoud, Anne and Arthur.