Thirteen people assembled at the walkers car park in Strathconon. This was a bit of a relief, because at one stage over 20 people had expressed interest in coming on this meet and I had nightmare images of crocodiles in a Scottish glen.
The “A” team headed for the round of Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a Mhuilinn – pictured above – starting at Strathanmore. The steep climb of over 600 metres straight from the car park to Creag Ruadh is always a shock to the system, but once you are up there is a pleasant ridge walk to the summit of Meallan nan Uan. We just made that summit as the snow came on and decided to carry on down to the bealach for lunch. We also managed a bit of ice axe and crampon practice on patches of neve and ice at the bealach. That was a bit of a novelty for our newcomers, and for this winter, the older hands too.
It was a straightforward pull up to the summit of Sgurr a Mhuilinn in thickening snow and poor visibility; a bit of navigation practice to the South East ridge, then we were back in the peat hags that flank the Allt an t-Srathain Mhoir on the descent to the car park.
Caroline, Cerian, Ewen, Robin, Dougie and Michael decided to head over towards Luipmaldrig bothy from Inverchoran; Cerian opted to go part way along the path and returned to the car by another route. The path was well iced up, but all made it across the burn and over to the bothy unscathed. The bothy is maintained by the estate rather than the MBA, and is a substantial building which is kept in very good condition; it made a comfortable lunch stop. The journey back, initially up the River Orrin, was accompanied by snow showers.
Both parties got off the hill at the same time, and rounded off the day with a visit to the welcoming Priory Hotel in Beauly. Participants: Richard, John, Brian (and Monty the dog), Anne, Arthur, Caroline, Cerian, Ewen, Robin, Dougie, Michael, and prospective members Katie and Karen.