Like the last day meet – and possibly a good few in future – this meet was in fact a series of mini-meets to allow for the prescribed maximum group size and maximum number of households. Thanks to Dan, John and Catherine for setting it all up.
Wendell, Irene and Dan met at the car park West of Loch Laggan. Sceptical opinions were voiced about the day’s initial plan for a round of three Munros which were formed on the windy drive along the loch, and so a decision was made to aim for one or two. Irene and Dan had already experienced high wind and no views on Craig Pitridh with the club in February, and so it was left out. Bikes were taken to just beyond Lochan na h-Earba, then walking on an excellent path to the bealach between Geal Charn and Beinn a’Chlachair. From there it was decided to go for the closer Geal Charn. At this point visibility was still poor with heavy rain, and so there was an opportunity for navigation practice on the hill’s featureless North western side. The hope of views seemed lost, but then a miraculous clearance of clouds on arrival at the top gave fine views. Further squalls were visible to the West and so the group decided to cash in their chips and head home. The use of mountain bikes to lessen the plod in and out was a welcome addition, with the consensus being to use this method wherever possible in future.
The second group comprising John, Robin and Brian, ably assisted by Monty the dog, had a change of mind. Plan A was the Beinn Dearg hills, but the weather looked as though it might be better further south and all had done all of the hills at least once, so John was decisive and suggested Carn a’Chuilinn. It turned out that this was a hill none had done, so was a better choice. The area has changed (a bit) since the Corbett guide was written, as a result of dam construction, so look at a modern map which has it as it now is! The forecast still had rain at 10 am, which duly arrived and they bravely set off in steady rain. The rain did stop, and some serious showers mainly missed the group. There’s now a cyclable track for a long way, before you turn onto the original stalkers track which gradually fades away in wet and rough ground. The obvious cairn that you can see from afar is nowhere near the summit, which does, however, have a very professionally built cairn too. From there you can admire the wind farms 😉. They dropped off the summit in a different direction, still on wet and rough ground, onto a new road and thence back to the start. A stalker’s track provided a possible slight short-cut, but the light glinting off the linear puddle persuaded them to stay on the nice dry road. If you are so minded, it is possible to cycle to 1.2 km from the summit.
Catherine, Michael and Ewen decided to bike along the south side of Loch Laggan on the excellent estate road past Ardverikie Castle, and up the less good track to Lochan na h-Earba – which is actually two lochans – leaving the bikes between the two and ascending Binnein Shios in showery and very windy conditions. There were superb views all around, including Arverikie Wall, pictured top. It was great to get back to the bikes and coast downhill, then along the loch back to the cars; it would have been a long, hard walk.