The weather forecast promised gale force winds and rainy squalls from the south west. And so it turned out. We scattered to the north (Ben Klibreck) and east (Bynack More and Abernethy forest) to try to escape the worst of it.
After some initial communication mishaps seven souls eventually gathered at a parking area a little south of the Crask Inn bound for Ben Klibreck, pictured above. Unfortunately that meant that we took a longer route to the hill along the (very) wet footpath leading to Loch Choire before cutting off to climb up to Creag an Lochan. There were wide open views to Ben Hee, Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, and to the east, Morven, Scaraben and Bens Griam Mor and Beg stood proudly. Our main focus was on staying upright, however, particularly as we approach the summit cone of Meall nan Con and the wind intensified to gale force. An inadvertent offering of a newly knitted hat to Aeolus – the God of Wind – by Catherine had no effect. A brief look at the shattered trig point sufficed and we retreated to the A’Chioch bealach to find some shelter and sustenance. The muddy path along the west side of Creag an Lochan afforded some shelter from the wind and led to a singularly boggy bealach leading to Croc Sgriodain. The sight of the track to just north of Crask Inn seduced us into following a burn course through the blanket peat bog to the track. Suffice to say that the peat bog was drier than the track.
Richard, Wendell and new members Lorna and Paul decided to go for Bynack More, gathering at Glen More for the starting point. Setting off at a brisk pace we motored to the bridge at the start of the trail. A quick break and off we went, Lorna and Paul setting the pace. The weather was better than forecast until we gained elevation. Stopping at the crags for a quick lunch we headed up for the summit, which was covered with a sprinkle of welcoming snow but also a cold wind; we didn’t stick around too long. Only enough time to touch the summit and a quick photo, and off we went. Lorna and Paul decided to make a run for it descending at speed. Richard and Wendell briskly walked back to the meeting point with rain clouds chasing us on the way. All four of us sat in at the Glen More Visitor Centre, although paired at separate tables for some hot drinks and chatter. Great day!
Michael and Ewen decided to go for a mountain bike ride in Abernethy forest, starting off near Forest Lodge. You can’t drive down the private road to the Lodge now, and parking on the public road is limited; Nethybridge might be a better starting point. A scenic ride through the forest and past Ryvoan to Glenmore, where we stopped at the same cafe that the Bynack More team used later, and sunbathed in a sheltered spot outside for a while. Then on up the well-made track to Badaguish and through the muddy Sluggan pass to join up briefly with the back road up Strathspey, taking a right across Tulloch moor to reach our starting point after an enjoyable day largely off the public roads.
Participants: Robin, Catherine, Brian, John, Arthur, Masoud, Lorna, Paul, Wendell, Richard, Ewen and Michael. Welcome to new members Lorna and Paul.