A small group of four, Richard, Steve, Vanessa and Elinor (the last two being prospective members) had a long day across the Cairngorm plateau to Beinn Mheadhoin and back. Reports of a torchlit descent in the dark have been heard.
A small group of four set off towards the Fannichs in search of good weather; we settled on Beinn Enaiglair to the north of Loch Droma, as the bigger hills were buried deep in clag. We were rewarded with improving weather, and views to the Summer Isles and Beinn Dearg. Even the main group of the Fannichs slowly emerged from the murk.
The day was rounded off with a visit to the Inchbae Lodge; the new owners are very hospitable, and even have drinkable low-alcohol beer for the drivers!
A full house of 10 IMC members had a good weekend in the well appointed Ochils MC cottage at Crianlarich. The trip started early for Michael and Cerian, who did Beinn A’Chuallaich near Kinloch Rannoch on Friday. Cloudy conditions on Saturday led Robin, Richard H, Ewen, Peter and Marion towards Creag Gharbh to the south of Loch Tay. A more energetic team of Cerian, Kirsty, Michael and Arthur climbed Meall Nan Tarmachan from near the Lawers Dam in cloud and damp, then scurried off down to the coffee shop in Killin.
On Sunday the ‘A’ team of Kirsty, Arthur, Cerian and Michael ascended An Casteal from Glen Falloch, with Kirsty and Arthur going on to traverse Beinn a Chroin, meeting up with Cerian and Michael on the new hydro scheme track back to Glen Falloch. There were fine views to be had of all the Southern Highlands hills. Interestingly, almost every suitable watercourse seemed to have a new run of the river hydro scheme; from An Casteal, five could be seen in Glen Falloch.
Beinn Donachain in Glen Orchy was the chosen destination on Sunday for Steve, Richard and Ewen who were rewarded by good views from this rather out-of-the-way Graham. Marion, Peter and Robin conquered Fiarach near Crianlarich.
This was arguably the best day of the winter – blue skies all day and barely a breath of wind – carefully planned by Kirsty for her day meet to Geal Charn and A’ Mharconaich. A team of 7 (Robin, Ewen, Cerian, Michael, Arthur, Wendell, Kirsty) met at 9.30am at the Balsporran cottages and followed the ‘motorway’ up to the top of Geal Charn, pictured above.
We were all feeling very warm going up given the unusual presence of sunshine and lack of wind. Ewen showed off in his snow shoes, walking up the slopes with ease. Crampons came out as the slope eased and it was an easy wander to the summit for spectacular views. We descended to the bealach and enjoyed lunch with views in all directions (picture below), then it was a steep pull up to A’ Mharconaich where we met some skiers also making the most of conditions.
On our way back to the car we caught up with a familiar looking figure – Albert had walked up Geal Charn and come down a path from the bealach. Albert and Lizzie joined us as we headed to the pub in Newtonmore to buy Wendell a birthday pint.
Cerian, Arthur, Kirsty, Mike G, Robin, Mel and Ewen enjoyed a very sociable meet to the Grey Corrie Bunkhouse, which is attached to the Roy Bridge hotel. Sadly, the weather didn’t co-operate; as there had been several avalanches the week before, and the risk was still Considerable, we had two low level walks.
Invermallie was the objective for Saturday; conditions were OK at low level, and we walked to the top of the glen and back with a stop at the bothy – pictured – in each direction. We were pleased to see that the MBA have kept the bothy in good condition, and the walk of 23km was enough to justify an excellent meal in the Stronlossit hotel, with some well-kept beer too.
On Sunday, we went east to try and avoid the bad weather coming from the west. The tactic didn’t work this time, but we had a very pleasant wander from Dalraddy caravan site up to the Duke of Gordon’s memorial.
On Saturday Richard H and Robin went up Glen Lichd and over the watershed to Camban bothy which, given the unseasonably mild weather, was several degrees colder inside than it was outside. Thanks to all that melting snow the waterfalls at the head of G. Lichd were looking pretty good though.
Given the weather forecast, Cerian, Mel, Annie, Michael and Ewen went for the coastal option and walked from Glenelg to Totaig, which is at the end of the Ratagan road. Great walk at the Glenelg end, but very wet underfoot at the other end; best to do a circuit back to Glenelg!
A very convivial evening was had back at the well equipped Morvich Centre. We were well fed with cock-a-leekie soup, haggis neeps & tatties and various sweets, and Robin regaled us with his version of the address to the haggis.
Sunday dawned wet and blustery so Mike G, Cerian, Gina and Alan decided on a visit to the Falls of Glomach via the Bealach na Sroine. Fortunately the rain turned out to be only light and intermittent and even stopped for an hour while we had lunch at the top of the Falls, which were suitably impressive following the wet weather and recent snow melt. Returned the same way making a pleasant 8 mile round trip. Cerian tried out her anemometer on the 500m bealach where apparently we were subject to a bracing force 6 breeze.
Present: Peter & Marion, Richard H., Arthur McC., Mark , Michael G., Cerian, Robin (& Albert who joined us later in the day).
Being in an out of the way corner some five miles from Nethy Bridge at the end of an obscure single-track road you might expect Dorback Lodge to be a quiet sort of a place. Unfortunately our arrival coincided with the morning rush hour, comprising a gritter, three excitable ponies, and more Land Rovers than I have ever seen before on one shooting estate (6, 7, 8? – I lost count after a while).
Happily all this traffic was heading in the opposite direction and we were soon striding out on virgin snow under blue skies along an easy landrover track which led us straight to a comfortable and commodious shooting hut (at 570M) perfectly placed for lunch, though our arrival wasn’t welcomed by the local mountain hare community who were using it as a meeting place and promptly ran off in all directions (aside from the one who hid underneath the floor all the time we were there). Good conditions prevailed until we approached the subdsidiary top Geal Charn Beag (759M) after which things became a bit – well, obscure – white sky, white ground, white everything. At least most of the peat hags were frozen over.
It has to be acknowledged that the subsequent trudge across the gently ascending plateau to the small cairn adorning the 821M summit – minus the panoramic views of the Northern Cairngorms promised by the clear morning weather – wasn’t the finest part of the day, though Richard and Arthur did a fine job keeping the party on track. Shortly after this two things happened – one, it stared to get dark; and two, the party began to fragment.
Cerian raced on ahead to fulfil a social engagement, followed soon after by Mark, who’d forgotten his headtorch and was concerned about facing the night walk without it. The remainder holed up for a while in yet another shooting bothy before the cold inside drove them back out into the even colder gathering night for the strung–out trek back to the vehicles, to be warmly welcomed by Albert, who’d arrived late but had enjoyed a stroll to the lunch hut and back again.
One mystery of the hills remains: Cerian had entrusted Albert with a bag of jelly babies to afford the latecomers much-needed sustenance, once they had fought their way over fallen trees (well, one anyway) and forded raging torrents (OK, a smallish river) to regain civilization, but when they got there – no jelly babies to be seen. Did he eat them all himself?
Seven of us met up at the old lay-by to the north of Maryburgh. Richard H (and Skye), Arthur, Ewen, Michael, Cerian, Pete R and Robin. Although the weather seemed to be better than forecast the cloud level appeared to be about the 3,000 ft mark, and we decided to keep our heads below the clouds and headed off to the Graham, Carn Loch nan Amhaichean (698m) to the north of Inchbae Lodge hotel.
We followed the farm road north up Strath Rannoch to the steading where we bore north east up the Alt a Choire-rainich, crossing it to climb steeply up the west side of the hill to reach the summit. On the way Pete pointed out a couple of geological features of interest, the first being a brown conglomerate on the stream bed, being Braemore mudstone which is part of the 400 million year old Old Red sandstone group. The second on one of the two large boulders was a slightly older Inchbae Granite gneiss being 600 million years old.
We had lunch out of the wind on the summit, facing east and overlooking Loch nan Amhaichean and the other Graham, Beinn nan Eun. We had intended to follow the ridge back down the glen but as it started to rain (in accordance with the forecast) we headed down west to the track and back to the cars. We found the Inchbae Lodge hotel open, having just been taken over by a friendly ex-military couple from Devon who were only too keen to serve us. It’s worth noting that the hotel is open again with the owners hoping to attract the hillwalking community.
Although not one of our hardest days, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day adjusted to suit the weather. RH
On Saturday Kirsty, Carol and Michael G climbed Fionn Bheinn from Achnasheen. Conditions were better than expected but the summit was no place to linger; photo attached.
Robin and Steve collected the Grahams Carn Breac and Beinn na Feusaige, descending after dark before heading to the Ledgowan Hotel for a well-deserved pint.
The evening saw 18 members sitting down to a pre-Christmas dinner in front of a roaring fire in the well-equipped Inver hut, which is owned by the Jacobites MC.
The weather on Sunday was poor so most members opted to head home, some via small hills such as the Cat’s Back above Strathpeffer. The newly-improved boardwalk access to the hut allowed us to get out with dry feet, but come Monday there had been so much rain that the access track from the road was submerged; a narrow escape!