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.

Raven’s Crag, Thorsdale – climbing meet report, 21 May

A very wet Saturday forced Andrew to transfer the climbing meet to the next day, Sunday, betting on a less bad weather day.   In the event it worked out well and Andrew was joined by  Ellinor Dobie and  Chris Monkton.  So a select group of three went out to Raven Crag at Thorsdale.  The weather started dry as was the rock and it stayed thus until about 14.30, by which time we were on our 2nd route.  It then started to drizzle lightly but we all completed the climb on dampening rock and then abseiled off – a bonus experience for Ellinor.

Ellinor rose to the challenges and really enjoyed herself, it was a very good experience all round and only a pity more folk did not come on this meet.  We stopped in at the Kinlochewe hotel for a little “refreshment” on the way home, rounding off the day in the traditional manner.

The  photo shows Ellinor approaching the first belay with Chris  (just visible on the ground close to the foot of the crag).

Kintail meet, Sunday 30 April

Steve got some good weather for his Graham-bagging week, and that extended to the day meet he organised in Kintail.  A large party of IMC members and four dogs set off from the (supposedly closed) forestry car park at Dorusduain, just along from Morvich in Kintail.  The objective was Carnan Cruithneachd, a rocky, interesting Graham to the west of the Falls of Glomach.

After the Graham was bagged, we all went down to the Falls of Glomach, pictured, for a closer look.  Well worth while; an impressive volume of water was coming down, and no-one wandered too close to the edge!  The weather was good but windy, and no-one extended the day to include A’Ghlas bheinn, the Munro to the south of the return track.  However, most folk managed a stop off at the Kintail Lodge Hotel for an alfresco drink.  All in all, an excellent day out.

Crianlarich Easter meet, 15-17 April 2017

The Easter weekend saw the IMC at the luxurious Inverardran cottage in Crianlarich; the Ochils club have spent a lot of time and money upgrading it.  The weather on the first two days was poor, so most folk headed for the smaller hills.

On Saturday Arthur went to Ardtalnaig and climbed two Corbetts – Creagan na Beinne and Ciste Buide a’ Claidheimh (the latter aka the Shee of Ardtalnaig).  Cerian, Michael, Mel, Kirsty and her friend Hannah, Annie, Eelco and John climbed Ben More – photo below – with the top in soft snowy conditions, before deciding not to go on to Stob Binnean because of the wind.  Peter, Marion, Lisa and Jim went up Creag Each and Creag Ruadh at Lochearnside; Ewen forsook the latter in favour of a coffee shop and pub in St Fillans.

The weather in the west on Sunday left something to be desired, so John and Eelco went up A’Mharconaich and Geal-Charn from the A9 on the way home.  Cerian, Annie, Michael and Arthur wimped out of Ben Ledi because of heavy rain, but went round Callander Woodland Walk, the Crags and Bracklinn Falls, finishing off by inspecting the kayaking waters at the Pass of Leny.  Jim and Ewen did something similar but in a different order, omitting the Pass of Leny but including another excellent coffee shop on the site of Strathyre station.

Mel and Lisa went up Meall Buidhe from Glen Ogle on their way home.  Arthur followed in their footsteps in the evening after the Callander adventures.  Peter and Marion went up Ciste Buidhe a’Claidheimh, following in Arthur’s footsteps of the day before.   Marion unfortunately fell crossing a burn and fractured her radius necessitating a late night visit to the Belford Hospital in Fort William for treatment, then on to Raigmore the following day to have the fracture set.

There was a depleted cast on Monday, but of those lucky enough not to have work commitments, Jim and Ewen took the Corran Ferry to Ardgour in superb weather.  They ascended Meall Dearg Choire nam Muc above the village of Corran.  There were excellent views of the Glencoe and Ardgour hills; photo above.

Cerian and Annie attacked Farragon Hill from Loch Tummel and met Arthur who had traversed Meall Tairneachan from Tomphubil.  Annie kindly gave Arthur a lift back to his car from Loch Tummelside.  The Barytes mine at Foss and the possible new mine  at Duntanlich were of great interest to the group.


Day meet to the Cairngorms, Sunday 2nd April 2017

With an excellent day forecast seven members – Arthur, Ewen, Wendell, Michael G., John, Robin, Colin (& Jura the Border Collie) – and two guests, Juliet (just moved to Inverness), and Eelco (from the Netherlands but in Inverness for a few months) set off for the Cairngorms in well-nigh perfect mountain walking conditions.

Michael elected to make his own route onto the plateau, eventually making his way to MacDui, while the others set off up the ridge between Cairn Lochan and Lurcher’s Crag with the same idea in mind.  The main party picked up another two companions on the way – Barbara (from Italy) and Monika (from Poland) who were unsure of the route to MacDui and were promptly invited to join the merry band.

From MacDui’s summit the plan was to visit the Shelter Stone and return via Coire Raibeirt (minus our two hitchhikers) but after a pleasant lunch break by Loch Etchachan, where Eelco successfully accepted a challenge from Arthur to walk out over the ice to pose for photos on an exposed rock (tough luck Arthur!), we found ourselves slogging up the gravelly slopes of Beinn Mheadhoin and along the broad plateau to scramble up its monolithic summit tor.  Even Robin managed this without falling off as he did on his last visit a few winters ago – see Mike Dixon for details!

There followed a somewhat challenging crossing of the River Avon – accomplished at the cost of a few wet feet and a lost walking pole – to attain the Saddle and the long interminable plod up to the summit of Cairngorm.  By this time the long mountain miles were beginning to tell, with even Jura the ever-energetic collie having to lie down for a rest.

From there it was a direct descent through the sadly snowless ski area to rendezvous with Michael before heading off to the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore for a very welcome rehydrating pint.  Thanks to Arthur for arranging perfect weather, and to everyone for a great companionable day.

Onich meet, 10-11 March

The weekend of 11/12 March saw a full house at the Alex Macintyre hut in Onich.  Indifferent weather meant that no-one had a big day on the hill, but Steve and Ewen had a cloud-free day on Saturday up Sgurr Choinnich, a Graham to the north of Loch Arkaig.

The objective for the ‘A’ team on Saturday was Meall Lighiche, south of Glencoe opposite the Clachaig.  Mel, Cerian, Annie and Michael followed the Allt na Muidhe burn intending to cross to the west bank to climb, however the burn was very high so they continued south to the bealach.  They returned down the intended ascent route, fortunately finding the burn had dropped enough to cross.  A visit to the Clachaig Inn was great motivation!

Deteriorating weather from the west on Sunday meant that most folk headed east to Beinn a’Chrulaiste north of the Kingshouse Hotel, which is currently closed for extensive renovations and will not re-open until 2019.  Now the good news; there’s a small cafe bar at the back which is open, and was a very welcome refuge after a damp and misty ascent of the hill.

Also on Sunday Richard and Shona enjoyed a rather claggy walk up the Pap of Glencoe, with limited views from about 450m on the way down.  It didn’t seem a popular hill that day!  In accordance with Fort William tradition they stopped off at Nevisport for a browse and a coffee.  Richard felt that he could have composed this part of the meet report before he left inverness!  But despite the weather, it was a very sociable meet in a comfortable hut.


Day meet to Glen Shiel, 5 March 2017

The heavy rain and sleet, mist and low cloud did not augur well.  We had delayed the meet from the previous day when the weather was even more inclement, on the promise by the Met Office of better weather.

Only on reaching the Cluanie Dam did our pessimism recede.  Fresh snow sparkled in the spring sunshine, cottonwool clouds floated around the peaks and all was reflected in the mirror like surface of Loch Cluanie.

We set off up the path from Lundie wending our way between the boulders, small crags and slabs at the top of the path before joining the ridge and wandering over to Carn Ghluasaid summit.  Cloud enveloped us briefly, but navigation to Creag a Chaorainn was easy – “keep the cornice to your right”.

There, Michael and Arthur turned around and strolled back down over Carn Ghluasaid.  Meanwhile, Elinor, Robin and newcomer John – an expat from the Caithness Club – went on to Sgurr nan Conbhairean and returned the same way.

Glen Shiel (MG)