Lagangarbh Hut, Glencoe – 29/30 September

The forecast was for a wet weekend with low cloud.  Undeterred, a team of ten club members headed for the comfortable sanctuary of Lagangarbh Hut in Glencoe.  Saturday was forecast to be the better day of the weekend and we hurried off to various destinations trying to get the best of the weather.

John ascended Buachaille Etive Beag from Lairig Eilde, returning to the hut via Lairig Gartain.  Mel, Cerian and Michael went around to Invercharnan in Glen Etive and found a way up Sgor na h-Ulaidh (994m), returning a slightly different way to avoid some difficulties.  Gina and Andreas went up Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste starting at the west ridge and  descending at the east ridge towards the Kingshouse Hotel.

Robin and Arthur headed off to the foot of the glen to bag Meall Lighiche and Meall Mor – photo at the top of this article – a Corbett and a Graham which are often overlooked in favour of greater challenges in Glencoe.  The photo above shows Robin contemplating the Aonach Eagach.  Steve’s attempt on Stob Mhic Beathain in Cona Glen was thwarted by the high water in Cona River.  Undaunted, he set off for Glen Loy and had a dry and enjoyable day on Stob a Ghrianian.

The most productive weekend was had by Alan, who took advantage of the wonderful light created by this mixed weather to photograph a delightful gallery for his blog; https://obrienphotography.co.uk/a-weekend-at-lagangarbh/

Sunday was wet.  The only people who claimed to have done more than frequent the coffee shops of Ballachulish and Fort William were John and Robin, who had a wet walk from Upper Achintore to Cow Hill – all 271M of it – before also resorting to coffee and cake at Nevisport.

Day meet to Meall a’Bhuachaille, 15 October ’17

A strong team of 10 ventured down to Strathspey, ably organised by Steve Bell.  The remnants of a hurricane were forecast, and the plan was to ascend old favourite Meall a’Bhuachaille from Forest Lodge.

A sunny walk to Ryvoan bothy, pictured above, was followed by an increasingly breezy ascent of the hill track.  The forecast for winds of 45-60 mph was amply justified and no-one felt like doing the ridge walk along to Craiggowrie, all settling for the descent of the north ridge – below – and return through the Caledonian Pine woods to Forest Lodge.

The day was rounded off with a visit to the Bell holiday home for much-appreciated tea and cakes.  A good sociable day, and an interesting way down a well-known hill.

Arran meet, 9-11 September

No less than six members made it all the way to Arran for the meet at Lochranza.  Good weather on Saturday tempted Marion, Peter and Ewen up the Mullach Buidhe ridge, the Graham in the north west of the island; photo below.

Michael and Cerian enjoyed three straight days of glorious weather on the hills, and took full advantage of the journey to Arran with trips up Schiehallion and Ben an Lochain on the mainland.  On Arran they went up North Goatfell and along the ridge to Goatfell; a very nice circuit in good conditions.

On the Sunday the weather was not so good, and Michael had a solo, wet walk over to Laggan and along the coast via Ossian’s cave and the Cock of Arran.  He did better than the rest of the party; Cerian decided to head over to the mainland and suffered a much delayed and stormy crossing to Tarbet, as the weather wouldn’t allow the ferry to berth at Claonaig.  The others toured the coffee shops and pubs of the island, then went for a walk in the late afternoon when the weather improved.

All agreed that it was well worth the long journey to Arran; we’ll be back!

Loch Maree meet, 20 August 2017

The hillwalking contingent took advantage of the same fine weather as the climbers, and headed west to climb Meall a’Ghiuthais, just past Kinlochewe.

A team of six enjoyed a restorative coffee in the excellent filling station cafe while waiting for the good weather to come through.  A pleasant day up this rocky hill with good views over Loch Maree to Slioch – see below – and the Torridon Munros, was followed by a drink in the Kinlochewe hotel before heading home.

Real Rock Climbing Meet, 20 August 2017

The fourth of these sessions took place once again at Ardheslaig, but on this occasion we were more fortunate with the weather – not only did it not rain but we had some sunshine!

George, Callum and Andrew were joined by David Pearks.  As the normal grassy decent route  was deemed so unpleasantly wet and slippery, it was decided to set up an abseil rope for the day.  Then, having paired up, were all able to enjoy 3 good routes and 3 abseils – 100+ metres of climbing.  Whilst there was quite a bit damp rock at the start of the day, it did mostly dry up, so by the end, the quality of the superb gneiss friction could be savoured.

By mid afternoon, David’s family had arrived back to whisk him away but the other 3 of us were able to retire to the Tigh an Eilean for refreshment before heading home once more.

Elphin meet, 20-21 July

A small but select group of three went to the palatial Caving hut on the Friday night, to be joined by another seven on Saturday.  The weather on Saturday was superb; Catherine had a great day on Suilven, and the others on Ben More Coigach.

Steve and Ewen ventured north on a Graham-bagging trip to Sabhal Beag, a remote but interesting hill to the south of Arkle; photo below.  The weather stayed fine for the barbecue in the evening; a rare treat for Sutherland in July!

Pop-up Climbing Meet, Sunday 30 July 2017

“Summer” pop-up rock day three was once more affected by the weather.  Notwithstanding the rain and midges, George, Anush, Ellinor and Andrew loaded up the sacs and left the car, intent on squeezing what they could from the day’s offerings.

The approach to Raven’s Crag, seldom bone dry, was on this occasion a virtual paddle.  However, having made our way round to the Dark Slab end, George and Andrew scrambled up to set up anchors for a top rope, the rock being more than a little wet, and thus secure climbing was accomplished.

By lunch time the weather showed signs of an improvement – full waterproofs could even be discarded and the morning’s midges had even given up.  We moved round to the front face and all enjoyed a 30 metre climb on rock which was drying as the afternoon progressed.  Although the line chosen was of variable quality with a few short challenges, 4 happy people made it to the belay at the top and then abseiled back down to the sacs.

We even walked out in the afternoon sunshine and so back to Kinlochewe, where Anush – pictured above – invited us into their house for tea, coffee and goodies.

Well content.

Ellinor, Far Post

Pop- Up Climbing Meet, Saturday 8 July 2017

The second of these real rock meets was again agreed to have been very enjoyable.  Chris and Andrew – photo above – were joined by Rhona and Callum for a day at Ardheslaig, a near the roadside crag of excellent Gneiss, a few miles west of Sheildaig, Torridon.

For Rhona this was a reintroduction to discover the pleasures of trad. climbing in a secure environment – see below – whilst Callum confessed to being a little rusty, having  done little climbing for a number of years.  We all enjoyed three or four routes of 35 metres – Callum took photos from an adjacent route at times.  Although the rain arrived a little earlier than forecast, the quality of the rock matched the enthusiasm of the participants and the last climb was happily completed, before we retired to the Tigh an Eilean in Sheildaig for “warm down”.

It was a very contented and excited group which headed homeward, discussing where to go climbing next.

Atholl Adventures, 23-26 June 2017

Inspired by ‘Eastern Promise’, Michael set off from Blair Atholl Station on Friday accompanied by a large rucksack! After making camp to the south of Carn Liath, he spent 2 days exploring Carn Liath, Braigh Coire Chruinn bhalgain and Carn nan Gabhar initially in some fairly windy weather.

On Saturday, Mel and Lisa began their trek in ‘The Bothy Bar’, where they enjoyed a warm welcome and excellent food.  Later, they walked in to the Allt Sheicheachan bothy and ascended Beinn Dearg on Sunday morning.  Mel continued over Beinn Mheadhonach towards Glen Tilt while Lisa returned via the Allt S. (below), meeting back at Old Bridge of Tilt in time to nip into ‘the Watermill’ for tea and cake before driving home.

Michael completed his adventure on Monday morning!

By Michael G, Mel, Lisa and Daisy dog.

Weekend Meet Report 9-10 June, Torrin Outdoor Centre, Skye

We had a very enjoyable meet on Skye, staying at the Torrin Outdoor Centre on Loch Slapin.  Showery, blustery weather meant that low level options predominated.  The hardier amongst us tried a bit of paddling, cave exploration and wild water swimming.

Mike, Gina and Alan arrived early afternoon on Friday and walked up Ben Cleat from Elgol, descending to Glen Scaladal and then back along the coast path to Elgol.  They had great views of the Cuillins from the hill and also the best weather of the weekend.

On Saturday, Michael and Juliet chose to circumnavigate Beinn na Cro by Strath Mor and Strath Beag.  Shona ran the same route in reverse after she, Andreas and Annie found the wind a bit fresh for kayaking.  Arthur, Richard and Robin indulged in a spot of retailing and lazed in a tea house until a brightening allowed them to dash up Ben Aslak. Later consideration informed them that it had been demoted from Graham status!  A late lunch was enjoyably spent watching the ferry and other boat traffic coping with the Kyle Rhea tidal current.  Gina and Alan had the most productive day visiting Dun Ringill, exploring the Spar Cave and braving the Allt na Dunaiche for some wild water swimming.  Andreas and Annie headed for Spar Cave too after paddling.

Annie organised and cooked an excellent group evening meal with assistance from the group.

The weather didn’t improve much on Sunday.  Andreas packed up the kayaks and headed off.  Gina and Alan ended up walking out to the lighthouse and sandy beach at Point of Sleat in almost continuous drizzle.  The rest of the group set off to check out the new bothy at Camusunary; photo above.  The bothy is fine, although disappointingly without a stove as is the case nowadays.  It had an selection of graffiti in several languages – fine to hone your language skills whiling away stormy days.

The walk along the coast to Elgol was cut short as the club’s senior office bearer took a tumble, saved only by heather roots.  We were not far from the bothy, so regrouped there. The combined wisdom of a hospital consultant, a  nurse, two cave rescuers and a veteran mountain rescuer was that we should dope him up with painkillers and keep him walking.  Which we did.  We then resorted to the delightfully quirky tea shop in Elgol to recuperate.  We never found the dog over which the victim claimed to have tripped.