Here are some comments and images from some of our walks in 2009. Not surprisingly, those outings favoured by sunshine and spectacular scenery are better represented here. (Of course, the sun always shines on Club outings - it is just that some people don't notice it.)
Gaelic place-name spellings here are generally as they are printed on OS maps. This is for the convenience of hillwalkers. I know many of these spellings are wrong and, indeed, not even consistent with one another.
On Thursday, some of us were on Beinn na Caillich, realising we wouldn't make it to Mam na Gualainn before dark in the deep powder snow. Sunday's snow conditions were unchanged, so we knew we wouldn't do the through route from Ballachulish to Duror over Fraochaidh. Even just doing Sgorr a' Choise took all the available daylight.
Andrew B, Andrew G, Gerry, Ron and Anne B turned out; a hard day's work on a small but shapely hill in a prime location for splendid views of so many grand mountains, plastered white right down to sea-level. There were mutterings about the lack of Nordic skis or French raquettes as each took a turn at breaking trail through the Alpine landscape.
To the Northwest the scene lay under a blue sky, dazzled with sunshine. To the Southeast was dark low cloud threatening all day to encroach into our border zone, bringing snow, but never quite managing it. Made it to the Ballachulish TIC for coffee at dusk.
The forecast was apocalyptic. High winds, blizzards, whiteout, thunder and lightning. Just five turned up at the start in Kinlochleven, AndrewG, AndrewB, Sarah, Gerry and Mike (all the way from Inverary! That's dedication). Jean had texted to say her car was snowed in.
It was a glorious dawn , snow down to sea-level, blue sky, no wind, the rising sun illuminating the peaks, then more and more of the slopes. We climbed up to from the Grey Mares Tail, in icy shadow, to meet its warming rays. If the forecast turned out to be correct we wouldn't manage the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor, but we would get as high as possible. The first sign of the wind to come was the clouds of spindrift lifting off the summits and ridge, to be deposited on the SE slopes to leeward. Then, remorselessly, the distant grey-black stratus with cumulo-nimbus towering above, glowing brightly in the morning sun, gradually invaded our blue sky. Snow showers, reinforced by ever more frequent blasts of spindrift reduced the visibility as went higher. Mike and I got to Coire an Lochan after ploughing through deeper and deeper snowdrifts, the others turned back a little further down.
Her wheels not available, Jean decided to make it to Kinlochleven on foot, taking the short cut of the West Highland Way. She was a bit late for the start of the walk. It was dark and we were already down and in the Ice Factor by the time she arrived. She did not too bad though, 14 miles in the snow in 6 hours. We gave her a lift home.
This must have been one of the best days this year for weather and numbers on the hill. 15 members and one visitor turned out to do Fhada and Stob Coire Sgreamhach. All did the main walk and some went on rather further. Setting off into the Larig Eilde, we split into two groups at the first river crossing. Andrew G, Andrew B, Les, Sarah, Anne B, Ron and Jean had decided to climb Beinn Fhada from its col to the NE and continued into the Larig. The others, (John Burton, Gerry, Ralph, Roy, Mike,Gavin, Kevin, Alan Moore and Jack (visitor)) went up its nose and traversed the entire ridge. This was the faster party and passed above us before we gained the ridge. We had a good view of them later as they ascended the summit ridge of Stob Coire Sgreamhach. Arriving at the gap at the foot of this ridge is what Andrew B referred to as the "Bad Step", this first time I had heard it described thus. This delightful little scramble is all the more interesting done in crampons. We enjoyed the ascent of the ridge above immensely, alpine in quality, though not in scale. The views from the shapely summit of Sgreamhach were stunning, with superb air clarity. Returning to the Larig by the SE ridge we caught up with Roy, John, Gerry and Ralph. They reported that the other five had pressed on to complete the circuit of the Lost Valley, traversing Bidean and Stob Coire nan Lochan. An outstanding day's hillwalking by any yardstick.
Sadly, we will remember this day for its tragic conclusion with a fatal accident. We wish Kevin a speedy recovery from what we trust will prove to be minor injuries. Most importantly we extend our condolences to the family and friends of the man who lost his life, and our heartfelt thanks to the other members of his party, who gave their help and expertise to ours in equal measure.
Sixteen turned out for the walk, and we split into two groups of nine and seven. I was in the group of nine--Gerry, Roy, Ralph, Gavin, Alan, Mike, Kevin, Jack and myself. We headed up the nose of Beinn Fhada which was steep and grassy, but no problems with ice or snow. On to the ridge, and it became more like a winter walk--initially just patches of icy snow that we could avoid. But higher, we had to put on the crampons and take out our ice axes. It is a superb ridge with several craggy bumps. The last one is tricky, with Ralph and I, having taken a different route to the others, having to climb a very steep snow slope. However, that done, it was a pleasant walk to the summit where we found a patient Gavin waiting. It was about 1pm, and after a short break, we again split into two groups--Gavin, Alan, Mike, Kevin and Jack decided to do the round of Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire nan Lochan, while Gerry, Roy, Ralph and I headed down the ridge towards the Lairig Eilde. Shortly after leaving the summit, we looked across to the Beinn Fhada ridge and could see the group of nine ascending quite quickly. So we decided to take a break and wait for them to join us. Crampons came off and ice axes were replaced with poles, and we made the descent down grassy, but fairly steep slopes into the Lairig. Here the path is clear, but it was very icy in places. We arrived back at the car park as the light was fading, and then carried on to the Glencoe Hotel.
This is where the walk ended and the subsequent drama started for us. I was driving Kev's car as he had given me the key at the summit. Ralph and I were among the first to arrive at the hotel, and shortly after, Anne came in and told us that Kev had had an accident. Andrew left for the layby in Glencoe, and we followed the ambulance. After waiting a while with the mountain rescue co-ordinator, we met Mike and Andrew. Later we saw the lights of the rescue team heading for the ambulance, which we followed to the Belford Hospital, where we met Gavin, and later saw Kev.It was a superb walk until we heard about the accident, when the whole character changed.
The MWIS forecast promised rising wind and increasingly heavy showers with temporary blizzards on the hills. However it mentioned slightly better conditions further east and south. This was a glimmer of hope which, coupled with the expectation of the worst of the weather arriving later than predicted, led ten members to turn out for the programmed walk.
We all met up at Achallader Farm. Ralf, Mike, John Burton and Kevin set off from there to do both Munros, along with Gerry, John Nicol and Jean intending to do Beinn Dothaidh only. Anne B., Sarah and Andrew G drove on to Bridge of Orchy, to do Beinn Dorain.
This last party followed the path from the Station. We encountered no ice until just below the col, unlike the previous Club ascent on this route. Turning right at the col, we were soon onto frozen ground, then some icy rocky bits before reaching the snowline at about 800m. Crampons made progress a lot easier. Nearer the summit the visibility was poor at times with a stiff wind now felt, but we got a few minutes of spectacular views with patches of sunlight on neighbouring hills. Turning back we passed the first four on their way up. The two groups merged below the col, and as we descended towards the station the first rain of the day arrived, followed by nightfall.
Nicely timed, but unfortunately we found the hotel closed, which rather compromised the social aspect of the day. Nonetheless, a good winter 's day on the hill. It is always worth turning out.
Ten of us met up. Jean, Gerry, and John Nicol opting to tackle Beinn Dothaidh; Andrew G., Sarah, and Ann B taking on Beinn Dorain and John Burton, Ralph, Mike, and me going for the two, north to south. The plan being all to meet up at Bridge of Orchy for refreshments. The ascent up the north ridge of Beinn Dothaidh was for a change a steep slog, but we were rewarded with a lovely snow covered top and some decent views even if only briefly. Descending to the col to find a sheltered spot for lunch we did some rough calculations reckoning on reaching the summit of Beinn Dorain for about 2.10 and deciding that if we were not there by 2.15 we would have to turn around to make good our return by daylight.
Watching the rescue helicopter on a training exercise delayed us by a good ten minutes but we arrived at the summit at 2.15 precisely crossing paths with the other party en-route. If only the Pub had been open it would have been a perfect end to a great day. Saw my first Mountain Hare.
Weather turned out to be pretty good in the end. Seven of us started up to do Beinn Dothaidh four went off pretty fast to complete Beinn Dorain as well.The way up was prety steep but we had fairly good views. We put crampons on nerarer the summit as the going underfoot was fairly icy but not treacherous.
Nearing the summit there was a roaring sound and from over the horizon, looking like something out of a James Bond movie came the helicopter from HMS Gannet!!The mountain rescue team were on excercise and he landed three times in total to drop people off, it was truly amazing to see it so close at hand so a few pics for you.
P.S.There is a huge ace of clubs card on the underside of the helicopter!!!
Eight met to head up to Loch Cluanie. Stewart and Lydia went off to search for new routes and the other six Ron, Ralph, Sarah, John Burton, Wesley and myself took on the programmed walk. Despite obvious snow on all he hills around us we encountered none on the warm sunny south facing slopes of Am Bathach until well over 700m. From that summit the view across to Ciste Dhubh showed a daunting snow covered narrow ridge. We were not disappointed. The combination of single file ridge, soft knee deep snow, and glorious sunshine made for a most rewarding ascent which we completed just as the cloud rolled in cutting off the views.
The forecast was rather grim, but 10 folk turned out, including the four musketeers all the way from Oban. The cloud was well down over the summits and it was already raining, but the only concession made to the weather was to do the route in reverse, via Coire Ardair. We would at least then have had a reasonable walk if high winds deterred us further up. The wind was less than expected and we made it to the Window briskly. From here, it was a tricky ascent to the plateau on steep ground with a thin covering of wet snow. Once up there was a consistent snow cover of 6 to 8 inches.
Now in poor visibility, we all had some practice navigating to the summit. We decided to descend via Creag Mhor and Creag Tharsuinn, the eastern side of Moy Coire. This provided some more navigational challenges, including some practice at pacing, using the altimeter and confirming positions with GPS.
We felt the weather was worsening and the time of sunset added to the need for accuracy and keeping up a good pace. The cloud base had lowered, and we were well down the hill before we emerged below it.
Darkness encroached as we walked out through Moy Woods, where Roy had left his car. Poor weather but a good day in impressively enthusiastic company.
12 members out on a promising day with mist and frost in the glens, and sunlit uplands. A new hill for most of us - an inspired programme contribution from Stuart. Not a Munro, not a Corbett, but an excellent through route over 11Km at about 600 metres altitude. The ground was castellated rather than undulating, bog alternating with rock, and superb views all round. Snow dusted Ben Nevis and the Glencoe Hills to the east, An Stac and Rois Bheinn to the south, the sea and island peaks to the west and Knoydart glimpsed beyond Loch Morar to the north.
We strode along from east to west above the long finger of Loch Beoraid in its deep defile to our right.
Let's have some more routes like this on the programme, to complement the classic high level routes and munros that many members have done several times already.
Refreshment in the Glenfinnan House Hotel, their last regular day open this year.
Ben Loine, south of Loch Cluanie, was on the programme. However, it is notable more for the views offered than its intrinsic grandeur, and the forecast for the west was awful enough to persuade us it was worth going east. We (Kevin, Ralf, John Burton, Andrew G., Gerry, Ron, Roy, Gavin) decided to use one of the walks printed on the back of the programme for a day such as this, and headed east into the sunshine at Laggan.
Parking by Cluny Castle, we headed north along the track into the wilderness of the Monadhliath. We crossed the River Calder on a ramshackle bridge, but failed to get across the Allt an Lochain Duibh until well up its true right bank. We stopped for some grub at the Loch. Gavin had already spurted on ahead to get some omitted tops. Thick cloud rolled in and it was soon raining. Some had the Munro of Carn Dearg in their sights, so we made for the col to its south, and turned left for the two summits. The rain developed into a violent squall as we traversed our high point of the day, but the weather improved a bit thereafter.
Not wishing to return by the waterlogged glen, we took a wide circuit left-about Coire nan Laogh, over Carn Leth-choin, and returned to the Calder bridge below the nose of Sron na Creige. We arrived back at the cars just after nightfall.
This was a fine 25 Km walk, in rough remote country, with wide-open views, and taken at a good pace. Well up to the Club standard. Good idea of yours Ron, but if the weather carries on like this we will need to replenish the stock of eastern walks well before next quarter's programme comes out.
Eight members met and given the forecast decided to attack to go for the hill at the top of the bad weather alternatives list, Carn Dearg [Monadhliath]. The strategy paid off and we set off in glorious warm sunshine, most of us mapless since we had not anticipated the change of plan. Gavin shot off to do a couple of Munro tops while the rest of us searched for an easier place to cross the river. The weather held right up until we took our first stop at Lochan that shall remain nameless since I don't actually own the map so don't know where I've been - not good.
The rain continued with varying severity for the rest of the day, but we made it to the top, arriving only about five second after Gavin.
Returning by higher ground to avoid difficult river crossings we made it back to the cars just in time to avoid the use of head torches.
A good day. Kev.
High winds forecast and pouring rain, the promised lull in the morning did not arrive. Seven turned out though, 3 from Oban, 1 from Inveraray, 2 from Ballachulish and 1 from the Fort. But none of the locals from the North. Are there any left alive up there?
However, there was no enthusiasm for an exposed ridge walk in a cloud with gale force winds. Since three of the group had never been there, we decided on a low level stroll up the Allt a'Mhuilinn to the CIC hut from the North Face car park, and back to the Fort by the Half-Way Lochan. The rivers were in spate, and could only be crossed by going up well above the hut. Swirling clouds among the cliffs and corries added to the atmosphere of this place. A herd of deer, complete with a contented stag showed little concern as we walked past. We passed several herds of tourists after we joined the Pony Track. They are always in season.
Refreshment in the Ben Nevis Inn before retrieving the cars. Lull arrived in afternoon.
A day of good weather, great hills and a good turnout of 15 folk, including one prospective new member.
As usual, there were several different ideas on how to do this hill, and Stuart and Lydia went off to do another hill entirely. Norman was bagging the Munro Tops he'd previously missed out. Gavin wanted to do the SW ridge and set off at a cracking pace. He arrived at the summit 10 minutes before the main bulk of the group who had ascended by the usual, and nearest, NE ridge.
We sat for a while in the sunshine, munching our sandwiches, and some mist rolled over the ridges and wafted around the corries. This provided the screen for some Brocken Spectres as we set off down the E ridge. Some folk headed down from the col, but 8 other continued on, over Glas Bheinn Mhor, and 4 of these did Stob Coir'an Albannaich as well. Everyone arrived back within half an hour of each other as sunset approached, and most went off to the Kings House for some refreshment.
It's a BIG hill !
On Sunday four from Fort William, met four from Oban, to do Ben More and
Stob Binnein. It's hard work, straight up the north ridge to the summit in the cloud.
However, as promised by the weather forecast, the cloud lifted as we descended through
the crags on the south to the col.
On the descent we saw lots (Wesley tells me this is known as a covey) of Ptargmigan, changing to their white feathers for winter. The wind picked up again so we found a sheltered spot for lunch before tackling Stob Binnein. A short photo stop on the summit and back down out of the wind. We followed the path heading north round from the col back to the track and an early finish.
Andrew G, Gerry, Kevin and Jean turned out inspite of the awful forecast. F7 to severe gale 9 with 100mph or more in the gusts. We decided that we wouldn't be able to stand up on Creise, so went for a low level walk from Kinlochleven, the Pipeline Circuit. Went first to look at the Grey mare's Tail. This stunning waterfall was in fine form. I was the only one who managed to cross the first burn, (and took some water in one boot), and two other swollen streams in quick succession required a bit of thought to negotiate The others flogged up the steep heathery hillside, and rejoined me higher up on the track. Finished up in the Ice Factor and dripped all over their floor.
The programme walk was Sgurr nan Gillean on Skye but the forecast for the West was awful, so we picked one of the Eastern walks printed on the back of the programme to be held in reserve for such occasions.
Eight members turned up, including some who wouldn't have if we had been determined to go to Skye. As we drove east we emerged from the rain and cloud and the day looked promising. The first half hour of walking was dry but the weather soon caught up with us and it got wetter and windier throughout the conveniently short day. These are not the most boring hills in this area, and we all enjoyed the walk. Lots of grouse, ptarmigan and hares.
Heather Reid was not very encouraging on Friday evening. Despite this, four of us (Les, Norman, Sarah and Ron) met at the road-end of Auchessan farm in Glen Dochart. (The centre of gravity of the club definitely seems to be moving south these days !) We set off with the cloud down at around 2000 feet but it soon came lower and we found ourselves plodding accross a featureless moor looking for traces of a non-existent path. After an hour or so, we did manage to find the mountain which turns out to be a steep little hump with a good sprinkling of crags near its top. Les turned back, saying he was struggling with a cold. The other three reached the summit in winds of 40 to 50 mph, horizontal rain and sleet. Not very pleasant. Sarah and Ron had had enough and decided to return. Norman, however, proved to be made of sterner stuff and did the full round - both Munros and all the tops.
A dry day that improved as it went on. Andrew G, Gerry, John Burton, Ralf, Alan Moore and Kevin went round to Dalness to do the through route over the tops back to Glencoe. Ron, Susan and John Nicol started from Glencoe, Anne B started later but caught them up. All ten met at the highest summit, Stob Dubh, at the same time and traversed the hill to Stob Coire Raneach together. We me Sarah at the col. Ralf, John Burton, Alan and Kevin descended to the Larig Eilde and returned to Glen Etive to retrieve the cars. The others went on to Stob nan Cabar and thence NW to Glencoe, descending by the prominent ramp beside the gorge.
A dry and midge-free barbeque followed at A & G's place. Several more folk not mentioned above appeared, having done some other walk. The throng was swelled to over twenty by some former members who must have been passing and smelt the cooking.
The weather was foul so nobody did the hill but Sarah was alread in Morvich, staying in her caravan. Here are a couple of rather nice photos she sent us.
Two reports again. This time because we had two groups (north and south) who failed to make any contact with each other) due to the mist.
Just four members turned up for this walk. Weather conditions were fair, although clouds obscured the tops. Susan had concerns over the health of a family member and turned back soon after the start, leaving Kevin, John Burton and Norman to continue.
We had decided to do our own mini version of a Cruachan horseshoe, and from the dam headed NW to the summit of Meall Cuanail (918m), then on to Ben Cruachan's main summit (1126m) reached in just under 3 hours. Here the wind was cold so on went the hat and gloves for the interesting little scrambly ridge West to Stob Dearg (The Taynuilt Peak) (1104m). Kevin was a little disappointed that the cloud obscured a view of his house , but Norman was happy to have bagged another two Munro tops to add to his tally!
After lunch at the summit we skirted the slabby southern slopes making good use of John's navigational skills to head back to the col at the foot of Ben Cruachan , thence back to the start by the tourist route.
Not a drop of rain and yet we didn't see another soul all day !
Two members from Fort William turned up too late to join the southern four and set off to catch them up. They failed to do so despite catching sight of them at the saddle between Meall Cuanail and Ben Cruachan.
The main ridge was in cloud, which was a shame as Ben Cruachan is an isolated mountain and would have provided good view. From the top the two went eastwards along the interesting ridge to Stob Diamh before descending directly to the reservoir and then to the road.
Two reports this week so you are spoilt for choice !
The first reasonable day for some time saw a good turnout for an outing up Glen Dessary supposedly to Sgurr na Ciche (though no-one actually got there !) There were no takers for the "camping/bothying" suggested in the programme. As usual, there were goups and individuls wandering all over the hills but there were three main groups :
Group 1 ascended Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoidh by the big ridge behind Glendessary Lodge, and completed a high circuit of Coire Chicheanais, descending by the Druim a Chuirn.
Group 2 had the target of Sgurr Mor but were very nervous about crossing the River Kingie, after all the recent heavy rain, so joined Group 1 in climbing the Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoidh ridge to about 600m then did a circuit round the west of this hill to reach the col below An Eag. We then climbed An Eag and found a good path along the ridge over Sgurr Beag to Sgurr Mor. A wonderful situation.
There were some good opportunities for cragging along the way.
We then had a good look at the River Kingie and decided it did not look so bad after all so descended into Glen Kingie, nervously looking for the best place to cross the river. In the event, the river crossing was an anti-climax - no-one even got their feet wet.
We then picked up the path by the Allt na Feithe back to Glendessary Lodge.
Group 3 climbed Sgurr nan Coireachen, then some of them turned west over the Garbh Chiochs but descended by the gully before Sgurr na Ciche as they were running out of time. The rest turned east over An Eag to Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoidh and joined the route followed earlier by Group 1.
Most of us then met up for a drink in the Spean Bridge Hotel but we were unable to get served.
WARNING The car park at Strathan is inhabited by armies of seriously vicious midges. None of the wide selection of potions/ointments possessed by club members had the least effect on them.
Fourteen members turned out. The forecast was good, better than we actually got. We had some rain early on but it dried up with a good cooling breeze and some sunshine before the stratus filled in heralding the next lot of rain. However, the conditions underfoot were awful following several days of rain, and the midges voracious whenever the wind fell light. Much drier higher up though, and a pleasant day's walking was had by all, even if all ambitions were not realised.
Ron, Alan, Gerry, Stephen and John were well pleased with their big day to Sgurr Mor and back.
Bill had started early and we met him on the summit of Sgurr nan Coireachan. From here Les and Ken set off westward to attempt Sgurr Ciche, but ran out of time before the final Munro. Sarah, Bill and I went eastwards along the ridges, taking in the Corbett of Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoigh.
Stuart, Lydia and Margaret just did the Corbett, and Jean was content with a walk up the Glen and back.
The good mid-week forecast for this day fell apart as Saturday approached. Sarah, Gerry, Andrew G., John H., Kevin, Jean and Norman met at the Fort, and Stuart and Lydia at the start, the North Face car park. Roy caught us up (as usual), after we'd set off.
It was still dry as we headed up the Allt a' Mhullin to the CIC Hut where Ken and Liz were waiting for us, having gained a head start. However two turned back before the Hut. The crags above were festooned with cloud, and it began to drizzle as the ten of us headed up Ledge Route. The rocks were wet and greasy and required a good measure of care and patience. Unfortunately, especially for the six who had not been this way before, we were denied the impressive views of the cliffs that can be seen from this splendid route.
From the top, four decided to return via the half-way lochan, and six continued over the Ben summit, and round the CMD Arrete. In spite of the lack of views and awful conditions underfoot, certain members had summits to be ticked off over here.
We were amazed how many other folk were out, heading in the opposite direction. Some were still intending to reach the Ben summit and expecting to be down for tea-time. We saw no one else on Ledge Route.
Seven members met up at the Inveruglas car park and set off up the private road to Loch Sloy. However, there was a parting of the ways after a mile or so and Andrew, Gerry, Jean and Norman turned off up the hill to do Ben Vorlich, while Ron, Roy and Susan (Unsociable Munro-baggers!) continued up the road to do Ben Vane.
Ben Vane turned out to be a compact little monster - unrelentingly steep and while the well-worn path found its way round most of the crags, there were 2 or 3 places near the summit which, if they were not scrambling (no scrambling according to the SMC book !), certainly required you to get your hands dirty !.
Near the summit we met another two members (Rita and John) who had set out early.
We descended by a broad grassy corrie on the NE and came down almost on top of the dam.
Brilliant weather, and good clear views all day. I believe this is the first time I have actually seen anything from this hill. We chose to ignore the guidebook advice, and laboured up the rough pathless southern extremity of the hill. Four guys from another party were daft enough to follow us. Very steep until about 700 metres, where it flattened out to more gentle gradients over the summits. Quite rocky terrain with several scrambling opportunities. We traversed the whole hill northwards and over the 647m summit before descending to Stuckendroin, where we had left a car.
Joined the others at the cafe at Inveruglass, just before it closed.
Weather back to normal then? Unrelenting rain. A great route for a good day, with tremendous views of which we saw nothing.
However, with the usual good humour and company, we all had a good day. Hung onto a path in the poor visibility for too long, and had to back-track to reach Aonach Beag summit. Good navigation beats a good path any day. Fast descent to the Ski station car park,
Time for coffee before getting bus to the Fort Woollen Mill, where a strategically placed car was used to take the drivers back to the Upper Falls start.
Actually, I think Andrew has overdone the wet weather bit. While it was indeed pretty miserable on the Aonachs ridge, it should be said that we finished up having coffee outside on the terrace in front of the Pinemarten Cafe. It was really a very pleasant day down in the valley !
Nine folk turned out on a rather warm day. A long walk in followed by a sustained steep ascent is the main drawback to this route, but the views on the tops are superb. Not walking regularly during the summer, I found it a tough day, exacerbated by the heat, but there was a good cooling breeze from the East on the tops. It was pleasant to spend time hanging around, in good visibility. This allowed the slower members catch up and we stayed as one group to the main summit. Most folk returned to the col between the two main peaks and descended into the NE facing corrie. This was an interesting descending traverse down its headwall, the steepness of the ground indicated on the map only by the missing contours. We walked out through Coire Reidh and rejoined the main track back.
One member opted to do the other summits again, and another, having already done all Munros, Corbetts and Grahams, went on to do Leac na Carnaich, 569m, which is on a list of things called HUMPS.
With thoughts of doing a natural circuit of the Diollaids, Druim na Fiaclach and back off Beinn Coire nan Gall, Stuart, Lydia, Margaret & Dave drove back to the eastern end of Loch Eilt. Unfortunately the weather had other thoughts and decided to follow the forecast. Sgurr na Paite at only 323m was a tempting diversion and despite its low altitude gave fine views across Loch Eilt. The cloud just beat us to the top of Diollaid Bheag where we found a sheltered spot for lunch out of the un-May like bitter wind, but by the time we had crossed to the Mhor wind, rain and cloud had dispelled any enthusiasm for more of the circuit so we retraced our steps to the bealach and descended eastwards, regaining the argo track back to the van.
We await patiently the coming of summer and another chance to do this circuit of some fine hills.
A cold and windy day with dark and heavy cloud settling on our targets. This dissuaded us from ascending by the East Ridge of Stob Coire na Ceannain, and we decided to do Stob Ban first. Some of us had been in this vicinity several times without having done this outlier.
A long walk to the bothy, (and yet again elevenses inside), but easy ascent on a good path direct to the summit of Stob Ban. Seriously windy approaching the summit. We descended to the Col above the quartzite slabs and descended into the corrie below them.
All this route was new to me and I had a good day. The East ridge we avoided this time looks well worth exploring on a better day.
The weather was terrible all week, but the forecasts all agreed that a HIGH would come south from Scandinavia and Sunday would be fine. So indeed it proved and Sunday was perfect weather for the hills. Only two members (Ron and Wes) were up for the fine circuit of Coire Thollaidh in Glenfinnan. (Lydia joined us for the walk up the track but did not go up the hill.) All that can be said for the rest is that they should believe the forecasts - they missed an excellent day out.
We climbed Sgurr na Coireachan first - a long climb with several easy scrambles. The views from the top were simply glorious - the Skye and Rum Cuillin were particularly clear. There was quite a bit of snow on the descent but nothing which required crampons or ices-axes. Then we had the real killer - the long undulating ridge over Meall an Tarmachan (Unbelievably we saw two ptarmigans here !)and Beinn Garbh to Sgurr Thulm. Again more distant views, down the steep, grassy ridge and back down Glenfinnan.
A quite wonderful day and we only saw two other walkers all day.
An attractive ridge behind Ben Cruachan with two Munros. Six people turned out.
The weather was a lot better than expected, apart from a heavy downpour at the start, and a brief hail / snow shower at the col after the first summit!
Wesley's 100 th Munro
No words (!) just pictures from Saturdays scramble along the ridge from Sgurr na Banachdich to Sgurr a Mhadaidh.
Twelve members plus one visitor turned out.
A glorious day of sunshine and great views of hills and seascape. A good area in which to escape the Easter Sunday crowds. Four did An Stac, then the horseshoe anticlockwise, four did the horseshoe clockwise, of whom just one ascended Ross-Bheinn, and met two members and a visitor on top who had started late, from the other side. Two had a shorter day at a lower level.
A tough walk with some steep gradients, and rough ground.
Nobody was keen on getting up early to catch the train from Tulloch (as demanded by the programme!) so it was decided to do Beinn Teallach (the lowest of all Munros !) from Roughburn near Loch Laggan, instead.
Here are some comments from the diary. The weather was too miserable for photos.
What a great day, good to be out even on a wet day. Finally bagged a Munro this year. Good day with good company.
Very wet but very good walk. Pretty easy ridge up to top and made more interesting by coming down the corrie and the glen. Good day.
Last minute change to programme. We did Beinn Teallach instead of going to Corrour on the train. Mind blowingly boggy boring ascent up the south flank. Interesting descent down NE ridge then short cut SE'wards via rocky corrie to path leading back down Glen. Nice walk by the river. Never stopped raining. Great crack and good company.
An enjoyable day in spite of the wet.
Normally every walk has at least one redeeming feature, although I had to think really hard to find one for this walk. At times it was a dreary, dreich damp, dull, drudge to the summit. The redeeming features? Pleasant river walk at start and finish, and the good company.
Drizzle then rain, never mind. Despite the boring ascent it was worth coming out and good company.
Good company, good walk (well almost) ....................weather
A wonderful spring day. Not a cloud in the sky, until we reached Crianlarich! But it was high cloud and no rain all day. The wind did pick up as we got higher.
Across a boggy cow field, under the railway bridge and up the track to the end of the forestry. There is a bridge, not marked on the OS map. Then on to the ridge at Grey Height and on to Cruach Ardain. We stopped about 800m to take out ice axe and put on crampons. Then a last, steep climb to the top.
I apologise for chickening out of the steeper north east descent. It was rather windy and icy, and looked very steep. Instead we headed on to Beinn Tulaichean and returned through the corrie and north of Stob Glas, and back down Coire Earb.
Ten members set off up the track from the parking area at Fersit. For various reasons (a lost camera, incomprehensible text messages, mist, snow ,...), the group got even more split up than is usual - we ended up with one person scrambling up the front of Meall Cian Dearg, five people contouring round to the north of this hill and then onto the Easains ridge by the easy route and the remainder deciding to retreat to easier ground and consulting the map for an alternative - descending to the Allt Laire for a sunny lunch, then heading up to Cnap Cruinn (742m), a fine viewpoint as the clouds lifted over Easain, Mheadhoin and the Grey Corries, and the low sun picked out the parallel roads of Glen Roy. Tempted on to Beinn Chlianaig by fine weather and then down to the Puggy Line and a long but delightful walk back in the late afternoon sun. A fine 8½ hour walk and with 900m ascent about the same as that of Stob Choire Mheadhoin - and some km longer. Even the lower hills can provide some excellent walking when the high tops are hidden in cloud.
The other five plus one met on the path along the ridge up to Stob Choire Mheadhoin. There was considerably more snow than expected on this and ices-axes found there way into most hands at some point. Lunch at the summit was cold and pretty unpleasant with no view at all. There were no takers for going on to the second summit. Instead, we returned by the same way and adjourned to the pub. On the way, the clouds lifted for a few minutes and we saw some glorious views. Also, some scary cornices on the Loch Treig side.
Pictures are from Jean.
Dave and Ron
This turned out to be a rather good day, much less wind than forecast, and we were dry almost all day. 12 members turned out; 7 to do the main walk, and 5 the alternative. The latter turned back at the col, discouraged by the poor visibility. The forecast got that bit right, although the cloud base was higher than expected. The 7 mounted the NE ridge above the Ballachulish primary school. We had splendid views, as we quickly gained height, until we climbed up in to the cloud at the steep scrambling section. However, as we progressed higher we entered a clear zone between two cloud layers and had some more brief views. The big thaw was well advanced and, for the most part we were able to avoid a vestigial band of snow along the edge of the ridges, and any cornices there may have been. We made good time traversing Sgurr Dearg and Sgurr Dhonuill. It was a pity not to see the marvellous panorama visible on a clear day. We descended westwards from Sgurr Dhonuill, and, in spite of the poor visibility, soon found the large cairn marking the top of the route down the red gully. However the scree was partially covered in snow, which, far from aiding our descent, proved treacherous when two of the party lost their footing and slid some distance before stopping. This focussed the attention of the others, who descended gingerly, and we all reached the corrie floor without further incident. Now below the cloud base, we were able to enjoy the walk out through the impressive Glen Achulish. At the car park, we were met by one of the alternative party who had waited behind to transport drivers back to the cars at Ballachulish.
This weekend saw the first club weekend of the year. Unfortuneately, the weather was well up to standard for club weekends (gales, rain, snow, blizzards,...) and this rather put a damper on things.
Saturday saw a small group of six set out from the car park at Inveralligin with the intention of climbing Beinn Alligin. They got up to around 400m but then found themselves blocked by crags and ended up descending to the west of the mountain. Obviously, a frustating day.
Meanwhile, another group of six set off up the path behind Liathach along the Coire Mhic Nobuil. Conditions were atrocious - wet snow and slush underfoot and driving rain but we made it up into the Coire Mhic Fhearchair of Beinn Eighe. We had a few glimpses of the spectacular scenery through breaks in the weather. After a quick lunch, we set off by the Coire Dubh Mor to complete the circuit of Liathach. Unfortuneately, the stepping stones over the river (about 2km from the road) were unuseable so we had to stay on the East bank till we reached the road.
A great day for viewing waterfalls!
The local pub/restaurant in Torridon does not open till the end of the month but we had a really excellent dinner at a seafood restaurant in Shieldaig.
On Saturday Jimmy and I opted out of both the challenging walk up Beinn Alligin and the "low level" walk which we though might be rather wet underfoot. We compromised by deciding on Fionn Bheinn, one of the Fannich munros, north of Achnasheen. The weather was not looking promising so we decided just to see how it went. It's a short drive from Torridon to Achnasheen and we parked in a lay-by south of the forest. We followed the good stalker's path north up to 600m and then headed east along the ridge. By this time the weather had started to deteriorate and the wind was getting up. Glimpses of the cornices on the rocks to our right (north) appeared briefly through the clouds. We got to the col before the final ascent and I said to Jimmy I wasn't 100% happy. The wind was blowing hail in our faces and I was tired. We were relieved to see the trig point at the top, but only stopped briefly before turning around and starting our descent. Things were a lot more pleasant with the wind at our backs, the rain / snow stopped and the sun even came out, albeit briefly. We followed our route back the way we came and stopped for tea when we reached the stalkers path. We reached the car having walked 12.5km in 4hrs 20 with 800m ascent. I learnt a lot, and it was interesting to know I could cope in such challenging conditions.
Sunday morning the weather appeared to be slightly worse, if anything, so most called it quits and set off for home. However, the hard core decided they wanted to "do something" - always a bad sign. Anyway, we drove over to Kinlochewe and set off along the North shore of Loch Maree and up Gleann Bianasdail. We reached approximately the middle of this short but deep glen (It looks like a glacial meltwater channel.) before turning back.
Thanks are due to Wesley for organising the weekend. With hindsight, it might have been better to wait a few more weeks ?
Nine folk appeared at Glencoe park at the appointed time, and we all headed for Black Rock Cottage. The sky was threatening snow showers, which soon arrived, and returned frequently. Jean and Anne set off for Victoria Bridge (somewhat ambitious, but they made it there, and then back to the Kings House well before those doing the Hill!).
We had a difficult river crossing before we could gain the ridge leading straight up to the "nose" of Sron na Creise. We were soon on steep rocky ground which was getting steadily plastered in wet snow. Two, lacking crampons and ice axe, wisely turned back when it became obvious it was going to get even steeper. The others kept going. Just when we thought we were going to top out we were met with a daunting final scramble, which in the conditions, it seemed prudent to avoid. The alternative route to the left, across a steeply angled snowfield perched above a vertical cliff, didn't seem too clever either, but Gerry found an easier scramble above it and we followed her gratefully to the top of Sron na Creise.
The visibility was poor along the ridge to Creise. We overshot the cairn marking the descent onto the ridge connecting with Meall a Bhuridh, and it took another two passes before we found it. Descended by the ski-station, deserted due to malfunctioning lifts."
Nine people turned out on a day when the forecast was for 40-50mph winds, gusting 70mph, and with continuous rain for the afternoon. After some debate, we opted to leave Glen Shiel for another day and headed along Glen Spean to do Geal Charn and/or Creag Pitridh. The morning weather was quite good, with plenty of views, and some dramatic lighting - especially the view east along Lochan na h'Earba.
Another group ascended Geal Charn - effortless walking up the easy slopes and along the summit ridge. The summit was quite windy, and very cold, but by all accounts the other group, on the lower mountain, had much stronger winds. The second group went up Creag Pitridh, arriving at that summit at the same time as the others reached the summit of Geal Charn.
We all met up in the eastward facing valley between the peaks, heading for Coire a Mhaigh, and then down to Lochan na h'Earba. The wind by the loch was very strong, and we had a hard 45 minutes heading directly into it as we made our way back to the western end, and then down to the car. The rain came on as we made the final descent. All in all, a good day out, with some fine views, and a bit of a battle against the wind.
We had all left our cameras at home so no photos today - sorry, folks.
However, all was not lost in Glen Shiel -
Hi fellow clubmembers, is this the lowest turnout for a club walk, ever? Blustery day but stayed fine (mostly) too cold and windy to take lots of photos but here is what you all missed ,
lonely clubmember Bill.
p.s. what did the wimps do ?
A dreich, dull morning. Eight people (Ann, Andrew & Gerry, Jean, Kevin, Ron, Stuart & Lydia) met up in the Glencoe car park. The clouds were down to about 300m. Understandably, no-one was very keen to climb up the front of the Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne. Instead we set off up the Gleann Leac na Muidhe with no very clear plans. In the end, four people (Andrew & Gerry, Kevin and Ron) crossed the Allt na Muidhe and set off up the slopes of Creag Bhan with the aim of climbing Meall Lighiche. This turns out to be seriously steep in places (at least by our route !) and there were several patches of wet snow to cross (no crampons or axes required, however). We duly reached the summit but it was shrouded in cloud and there was nothing to be seen.
After something to eat, we followed the rusty remains of an old fence to the Bealach Easan, and then down the glen to the cars which we reached around 1.00pm. A short day ! The cloud lifted somewhat on the way down and we got a glimpse pf where we had been.
We noted the debris of a small "wet snow" avalanche on the slopes of Sgor na h-Ulaidh.
The other four (Ann, Jean, Lydia and Stuart) headed up the by the banks of the Allt na Muidhe. Ann turned back early because of work commitments, but the other three pressed on to the 500m contour, where lunch was taken beneath the cliffs of Sgur na h'Ulaidh - which we could see only intermittently as the cloud swirled around. Very dramatic scenery. Then back down by the lovely stream.
Ron and Stuart
Six people turned out (Ken, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jimmy, Lydia & Stuart) on a gloomy snowy morning. The forecast was not encouraging for the north of Lochaber, and no one wanted to do the mountain without getting any views, so we opted to go up to the C.I.C. hut. During this decision making process , an alternative 'walk' was deemed more favourable by Sarah and Jimmy - they decided to go up and down Anoach Mor on bits of bent wood to take advantage of the superb skiing conditions.
So just four of us toiled up the path from the North Face car park - thankfully others had broken trail. The view to the west from the stile above the forest was superb - and to the north we could see black clouds on Sron a Corrie Gharbh. We followed a trail of blood up the footpath but found no injured person. As we approached the CIC hut the wind became strong and bitterly cold, and the footsteps of previous walkers were covered by spindrift. Thank you Ken for breaking trail - and for finding the stream under the snow!
We reached the hut by about 11am, and spent some time enjoying the magnificent view of the cliffs. Quite a few climbers were about on the icy slopes. We inspected the extensions to the hut which are almost completed - it looks very good, and fits in well with the surroundings. A few people were camping just above the hut - good to see that there are still some enthusiastic idiots around (it reminded Lydia and I of the days long long ago when we camped nearly every weekend throughout the winter in the Welsh mountains). Having got very cold standing around in the bitter wind, we headed back down but took a long time to warm up again. But soon we were in the snow encrusted forest and sliding down the path to the car park.
Eleven people (Allan & Mary, Andrew & Gerry, Dave & Jenny, Ron, Roy, Sarah, Stuart & Lydia) assembled in Glencoe car park. The forecast was reasonable though there were warnings of an increasingly strong (and very cold) wind. In truth, it turned out to be a fabulous day with lots of sun.
It turned out to be a walk of two halves - the ascent was exposed to the cold wind with lots of wind chill and there was a fair bit of rock as well as snow ; the descent southwards was mostly a gentle boggy slope and the wind had completely gone.
We cramponed up the icy north side to the first summit, but the south facing aspects were largely dry. From the main summit we continued southwards into the wilderness, new territory for some of us. Descending to Loch Etive we picked up a good track (possibly made by the charcoal burners who had left their characteristic platforms) for the long haul back to the start. Below the Etive Slabs, this came to a sudden stop and we joined the familiar boggy and flooded path at the lochside for the last kilometre.
Andrew and Ron
Eleven people (Alan, Andrew & Gerry, Gavin & Suzanne, Ken & Liz, Ron, Roy, Stuart & Lydia) assembled in the Spean Bridge car park - the best turn-out for several weeks, probably due to the promising forecast and the snow cover almost down to Spean Bridge !
After a close look at the burnt remains of the Woollen Mill (Why are people so fascinated by other people's misfortune ?) we set off, by car, up the narrow road to Corriechoille. It had clearly been freezing hard and the road was covered in treacherous ice and we were onto thick snow cover soon after leaving the cars, right down to the track.
It was hard going even where folk had already broken trail. We went first to the bothy for a break and some grub. Other parties had the same idea. Our's started with eleven, with people breaking of to do their own thing as the day progressed.
Seven of us started up the southeast ridge of Sgurr Innse. The going much heavier now, the snow one deep homogenous layer on heather and rocky outcrops. We were glad to follow Alan and Gavin breaking trail. There was no ice or firn apparent until we reached the summit. The descent to the col required care, with icy patches under the snow.
Five of us carried on to do Cruach Innse.
A lovely day with brief bursts of sunshine, and a few showers of snow or sleet. Stuart rang to say he could see us from his house with his telescope as we descended from Cruach Innse. Since there is now a severe shortage of places to go for a coffee in Spean Bridge - the Commando Bar is closed and the Woollen Mill burnt down, Stuart was kind enough to invite us back to his place for a coffee. This was much appreciated.
Andrew and Ron
Only two people turned out for the walk - the low numbers were hardly surprising after a night of gales, snow and thunder & lightning, and with a very poor weather forecast. Lydia and I awoke to find the garden covered in fresh snow, and no views of the hills across the valley, although the wind had eased.
So we went to the meeting point and waited until the appointed time of 0820 when we set off for Moy. We had little expectation of doing the full walk, but the alternate walk up to the lochan in the corrie might be possible. As we drove up from Roy Bridge we ran into heavy snow and by the time we were at Roughburn there were several inches on the road and near zero visibility with the swirling snow.
Since we had both been in the Roughburn area recently, we decided to return to lower levels where at least we might be able to see something other than just white cotton wool descending in front of our eyes. Alas we were to be disappointed - by the time we reached Leanachan Forest a blizzard was blowing there. We set off anyway from the gondola, and had a walk on the forest trails, returning home - very wet - for a welcome drink and early lunch.
Only four turned up at Glencoe car park, three members, and a visitor all the way from Spean Bridge. Considering the forecast, this was better than expected.
It was still dark, but not yet raining. The forecast of 70-knot mean wind speed with 100-knot gusts may have put some people off. In fact, it dampened the enthusiasm of the assembled company for the walk over Buchaille Etive Beag, and we decided on a half-day jaunt up Am Meall. At least we would almost make it to the top before being exposed to the full force of the expected wind.
Leaving the cars where they were, we walked through the village, Crossing to the campsite from Upper Carnoch we headed up the track to the summit.
The stile over the fence at the telecoms mast was broken. I noticed that most of the rubbish had been cleared up though.
We descended the open hillside to Ballachulish in the now torrential rain, and went for coffee in Crafts 'n' Things, where we were able to warm ourselves and feel glad we had made the effort.
Les, Ron, Sarah, Andrew, Roy, Gerry, and (for a shorter day); Jean, Lydia.
First wet (or just damp really) day out for nearly two weeks. Cloud was low, but I fancied we might emerge into a clear area between two layers. Unfortunately, this didnt happen. Hard ice patches were everywhere on the hillside, covered in a thin film of powder snow. Difficult to thread our way between them and made for treacherous walking. Decided to do the normal approach by the southwest ridge rather than the steep east ridge, the original idea on the programme. Even so, almost everyone had a hard fall, slipping on a hidden patch of ice. A lot of compass work in the consistently poor visibility. We could just make out the cornice around the edge of the corrie whilst maintaining an adequate distance. The baggers got their ticks and we returned by the (almost) same route. We went further west than intended, probably due to most attention being paid to staying upright, rather than checking the compass frequently enough.
I enjoyed the day. It is always worth going out.
For a "second opinion", have a look at this write-up on the ScottishHills.com web site This was written by two guys we met at the summit - don't know whether they or us were more surprised to see someone else !