The Gairnshiel Bridge was closed for repair so our journeys from Inverness to Mar Lodge were extended somewhat, either to the north by Strathdon or to the south via Kirkmichael. The consensus was that the detour to the north was faster.
The storm force winds forecast for Saturday (>80mph) scattered us to the four points of the compass with most people sticking to lower hills, seeking shelter in glens or travelling further east to try to escape the blast. One group, however, did attempt Culardoch, only to be thwarted by the wind about 50 metres from the trig point. To add to the indignity, the rest of us refused to acknowledge this as a proper ascent.
Other parties found themselves on various Marilyns and other bumps – Creag Ghuibhhais, the Coyles of Muick, Meall Alvie, Bennachie, Tap o’ Noth and Meall an t-Slugain. The last being incidental to an enjoyable day seeking out the Slugain Howff and exploring the fairy glen.
The wind brought a rise in temperature which did not seem to augur well for the next day. But as the evening wore on the wind abated and the temperature dropped. Next day the snow pack was topped by a fairly good crust and the paths sported runnels of ice. Parties set off for Culardoch (again), Carn na Drochaide, Creag Bhalg, Conachcraig and Lochnagar, the majority of folk heading for the last two. Two parties went on to spend a super winter day on Lochnagar – below – only returning to the Loch Muick car park well after dark. One enthusiastic ticker of lists – who shall remain nameless – reported his Sunday tally as “a hump, two Corbett tops and a second round Munro”.
Yet again, Mar Lodge bunkhouse provided comfortable and relaxed accommodation for a great weekend. Participants: Steve, Dan, Ewen, John, Douglas, Michael, Richard, Catherine, Shona, Jim, Robin, Ellie, Arthur, Peter and Sharan (potential member).