Fourteen club members and prospective members ranged far and wide on this meet. A group of five headed to the Easains west of Loch Treig; half a dozen of us cycled down Loch Ericht, four visiting the tops and two going to the (closed) Culra Bothy; and three folk ventured north to the remoteness of the Reay Forest Grahams.
Brian and Arthur with three prospective members – Ross, Paul and Tom – had a grand day on the Easains; Stob a Choire Mheadhain and Stob Coire Easain. The fine weather and the relative isolation of these hills gave us great panoramas all round. On Stob a Choire Mheadhoin summit we met Phoebe, who – at 10 months – was on her third Munro. She did have mum and dad to thank for a wee bit of help, though. Rather than retrace our steps and try to avoid the boggy old tramway on the lower reaches of Coire Laire, we followed a walkers path along the steep side of Coire Làire on the 500m contour back to Creag Fhiaclach. It is probably a moot point which is the muddier route.
A team of six biked down the excellent Loch Ericht road, enjoying great views much improved by recent tree felling. Past the bizarre fairytale castles, mostly of recent construction, and up to Loch Pattack. Across the ford, and the hill team ascended Carn Dearg; Michael and Wendell called it a day at that, while Lorna and John continued up Geal-Charn. Meanwhile Catherine and Ewen cycled up to Culra enjoying the sunshine, and stopped off at Loch Ericht on the way back for a swim (Catherine) and a paddle (Ewen). A coffee at Dalwhinnie rounded off the day.
The weather gods were initially in the mood for toying with Helen, Richard and Robin as they set off for Sutherland Grahams Carn an Tionail (759m) and its smaller neighbour Beinn Direach (688m), threatening a day of unremitting clag. Luckily salvation was at hand, as the higher they climbed the cloud base rose too, and by the time the first summit was attained the trio were rewarded with a stupendous view across Scotland’s “Empty Quarter”, from the triple peaks of Quinag in the west to faraway Morven and Maiden Pap 40 miles to the east. The drop to the Bealach nan Rath and the 150m re-ascent to Ben Direach proved easier than anticipated, after which came the sting in the tail – a tiresome slog of almost 3km of peat hags, tussocky grass and bog pools – before thankfully regaining the estate track for an easy stroll back to the road at West Merkland. It was unanimously agreed that it had not been a good day, but a very good day.
Participants: Brian, Arthur, Wendell, Michael, Catherine, Ewen, John, Helen, Robin, Richard and prospective new members Tom, Ross, Paul and Lorna.