Christmas Dinner, Kintail, December 2018

Storm Diana made her presence felt on Saturday. She forced one party to retreat from A’ Ghlas-bhienn and then reduced us to a crawl in Coire an Sgairne on Beinn Fhada before hastening us back to the warmth and shelter of the Kintail Outdoor Centre. It had seemed like a plan to sneak up sheltered lee slopes, but Diana whipped over every ridge and swirled round every corrie making for very unpleasant walking. However, Robin and Masoud were made of sterner stuff and managed to summit the Corbett Sgurr an Airgid, getting above the storm, a little further west on the north side of Loch Duich. They did not spend much time exploring its fine summit area before heading down into Diana’s blast.

Approaching the Bealach an Sgairne

Our Saturday hill excursions were really only a preamble to the main event of the weekend – the club Christmas Dinner. So, there was some consternation when the power went out just as our minds were turning to preparing the feast. The NTS ranger kindly turned up with a couple of gas stoves and we started to heat pots on the wood burning stove. Some scaling back of the menu would be required. Then the lights came back on.

The menu went something like this – potato & leek soup, lentil soup, pate, oatcakes, garlic bread, sag aloo, vegetable bake, venison stew, Iranian spiced chicken & rice, apple strudel, raspberry trifle, cheesecake and cheeses. A fine evening was rounded off by a very convivial evening by the wood burner. Unaccountably, there was singing of songs, recitations, games and quizzes. My calvinist (or just grumpy) view of Christmas was clearly not shared by many in the group.

Diana had blown through overnight and left a light covering of snow above 600m. Most people chose to head home or opt for low level walks. However, Daniel and Michael followed in Robin and Masoud’s footsteps and summited Sgurr an Airgid. Sgurr Mhic Bharraich – pictured top – another Corbett to the south of the head of Loch Duich, was the target for Shona, Ellie, Robin and Arthur. Both hills were just on the edge of an area of lowering cloud and rain coming from the east.

Cairn, Sgurr Mhic Bharraich

One interesting feature was that freezing rain had covered Sgurr Mhic Bharraich’s cairn in sheets of ice. This is quite an unusual phenomenon and Dougie reported that as a consequence of this freezing rain on Saturday, rescue helicopter flights were grounded over much of Scotland.  It was a fine weekend despite Diana’s worst efforts.

Participants: Daniel, Kirsty R., Robin, Shona, Richard, Ewen, Michael, Masoud, Andreas, Peter M., Marion, Jim, Arthur, Caroline, Ellie, Peter B., Wendell.

Welcome to Ellie, who has joined the club, even after this weekend.