Forfar & District
3 attended (2 members and a guest). The intended destination was the Arrochar Alps, but given the poor weather forecast for the west, a decision was made to change the walk to the east side of the country. With showers and a stiff breeze still expected on this side of the country, the relatively easy Munros of Carn an Tuirc and Cairn of Claise were chosen as it would be easy to extend or shorten the walk if desired. In the end, only three people braved the elements including one guest. Having left the Myre at 7am, they were off up the hillside in Glenshee by 8.20. It was not long until the first shower, but this soon passed. After an initial boggy section there was a pleasant walk up the path by the stream. A hard pull up the final stony section brought the walkers to the summit of Carn an Tuirc (1019 metres) by 9.45. A well-earned breather and cuppa were enjoyed in the shelter just as a bank of storm clouds could be seen approaching. The walkers decided to carry on regardless and this turned out to be a good decision as the wind ensured that the rain was short-lived. The best part of the walk then followed on the high grassy plateau, firstly in an easterly direction towards Coire Kander before curving south round the corrie to the summit of Cairn of Claise (1064 metres). The old county boundary wall across the top made a great shelter from the wind for a lengthier lunch stop. The route continued south-west on a pleasant grassy surface to the col between Cairn of Claise and Glas Maol. From there the walkers turned north-west along the ridge before descending steeply at the Sron na Gaoithe and walking a short distance down the road to the car park on the west side of the road. All three walkers agreed that this was a most enjoyable walk on what was familiar territory for all of them in weather which turned out to be fairly benign. Numerous other walkers swelled the numbers in the car parks, clearly undeterred by the deluge of the previous two days. The decision to press on early in the day was a good one, as the journey home for the main part was a wet one. The result was that the walkers were back in Forfar by 2pm, which must be some sort of record. The other experience which may be some sort of record is this: When was the last time woolly hats and gloves were needed in the middle of June? The total distance covered was 11 kilometres with an ascent of a mere 750 metres due to the high starting point. Time taken was four and a quarter hours.
The annual Girds competition was held on Monday evening at Reid Park Forfar in glorious sunshine. 10 members attended and after a hotly contested competition
Bob Railton came out as overall winner, lifting the much coveted trophy. This ends Neil's long run as champion (10 years?) as he was not there to defend his title,
but there's always next year!
That's the girds over for another year but it was great to see that 2 of our newer members came along and are now initiated into the tradition.
The original programme was for a cycle/walk to Ben Avon from Glen Cairn. This was changed at short notice to a local walk up Glen Lethnot, due to an adverse weather forecast. As a result only 3 people attended. This included a new member and a returning member. The three met in Brechin and travelled up to the road end in Glen Lethnot - wondering what the weather would offer? The walk started at 9.15am in dry, but breezy conditions with cloud covering the tops. After a 3km walk up the glen there was a climb alongside West Burn, before picking up a land rover track and looping to the top of Cairn of Meadows (687m). Landrover tracks were then followed over undulating ground to Black Hill (695m), Little Black Hill and Broom Craig (602m). The cloud cover lifted on these tops and revealed Mount Keen, Mount Battock and views to the east. Hills to the west remained covered in cloud. The wind was brisk and cold. The walk continued in a southerly direction, through light heather back to the car park arriving at 1.30pm. The forecast rain finally arrived as the group drove away! Walk length c14km. Ascent c500m.
Ten members met at the Kirkton of Glen Isla car park at the unusually late time of 10.30. The late start was scheduled to fit in with the High Tea at Pitcrocknie which had been booked for 5pm. Due to the limited parking space at the start of the walk, the group squeezed into three cars for the short journey to the layby on the county boundary on the B951. Parking here proved to be pretty near impossible so the drivers continued a little further along the road and by luck came upon a cleared forest space immediately opposite the turn-off to Dalnaglar Castle. The walkers set off just after 11am, following the road to the castle for a few hundred metres before turning up a forest track heading north. The forest was soon left behind and the group made their way up the open hillside, pausing briefly on Cairn Derig before continuing north towards Duchray Hill. Several mountain hares were spotted running across the hillside. The final stretch followed an old boundary wall and the walkers were glad of the shelter it provided from the increasingly strong east wind. Carn Bhinnein stood out prominently in the views to the north-west, with the Spittal of Glenshee tucked in low in the foreground. Further round to the north, the bulk of Glas Maol was evident. The wall continued right over the summit and made a fine sheltered spot for lunch adjacent to the summit cairn (702 metres). A fence then had to be climbed to reach the cairn and a fairly steep descent to Loch Beanie on tussocky grass then ensued. Unfortunately one member twisted her ankle but gamely managed to keep going at this stage. By the time Loch Beanie was reached the sun had come out and the wind had subsided, making for a pleasant low level walk for the rest of the day. The route from Loch Beanie towards the Allt Mor was very boggy to begin with, but once the across the bridge the walkers found themselves on better ground. It was here that the highlight of the day was experienced. An osprey’s nest was spotted on the top of a tree and one of the birds was perched on another tree nearby. The ospreys took exception to several smaller birds encroaching too closely and the walkers were able to watch a spectacular aerial display as the ospreys swooped and dived and chased the other birds away. As the walkers approached Glen Shee they picked up the path along the Cateran Trail. The lady with the twisted ankle was in some discomfort now and left the group , heading towards the A93 to be picked up later. The remaining nine walkers followed the Cateran Trail south, passing Dalnaglar Castle on their way back to the starting point, reaching the cars about 4.30, a little later than planned. The total distance covered was 14km with an ascent of 400m. Time taken was a leisurely 5.5 hours. The high tea at Pitcrocknie Inn was a great success. 7 of the walkers were joined by some other members for the meal, making a total of sixteen. After a main course, the diners were spoiled by a massive collection of home-made cakes and tea. Despite the large appetites normally generated by a day’s walking, a substantial number of cakes had to be squirrelled away in doggy bags at the end of the night. Sadly, the restaurant is now closing so we will once again be starting from scratch to identify a suitable place for next year.
12 members and a guest attended. We met at 7.30pm at the Cortachy woods car park where we caught up with each other's news, then Linda made a short speech and presented Bob with a card and gift to mark his "significant" Birthday. We then shared 3 cars and drove into Glen Moy, parking at the bridge. After a very wet day, "Willie the Weather" called it perfectly saying that it would clear around 7pm. We walked past the farm and imediatly heard curlew, then saw lapwings, oystercatchers and pheasants. In the field with the sheep we could make out 4 Black Grouse, two of which were leking. We watched for a while but as we moved closer for a better view they dispersed into the undergrowth. We continued up to the ruin, past the little cottage which has suffered quite a bit of storm damage with most of the roof now missing. Some of us saw a short eared owl flying low over the ground, possibly hunting. From here we retraced our steps back to the shared cars, then returned to Cortachy for 9pm. Thanks to Willie for organising and being our guide for the evening.
Twelve members travelled up to Kintail on Friday for the May holiday weekend with a thirteenth arriving on Saturday. Exclusive accommodation had been booked at
the excellent NTS-owned Kintail Outdoor Centre, which holds twenty, but due to late call-offs there were a few empty spaces.
Two members travelled early and climbed Beinn Bhan in Glen Loy, a hill which had been attempted but abandoned due to high winds on the previous weekend in March. This time the pair were successful in reaching the summit. For all other members, Friday was a day reserved for the long drive up to our destination.
With heavy rain being forecast, most walkers were reluctant to commit to a big day, so six climbed the nearby Corbett of Sgurr an Airgid. The rain held off until late in the walk with only an intermittent drizzle and the cloud base stayed high enough to give decent views from the top.
Another three also stayed local, climbing A’ Ghlas Bheinn (918m), setting off on foot straight from the hostel.
A third group decided not to expose themselves to the vagaries of the mountain weather and drove to north-west Skye for a walk out to McLeod’s Maidens. They reported a rather wet and windy day on Skye.
The weather started to clear on Saturday evening and the MacLeod’s Maidens group plus the late arrival had a stroll up the glen behind the hostel. The others enjoyed a cosy evening by the stove playing cards and sampling the delights of our national drink.
With the weather forecast promising a warm, dry day, members set off on a variety of walks, some of them fairly ambitious. A group of four drove over the Ratagan Pass to Beinn Sgritheall, while a further two headed in the same direction to climb the two neighbouring Corbetts, Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Beinn nan Caorach.
One member left his car near the Cluanie Inn, climbed the nearby Corbett of Am Bathach, descending northwards to pick up the An Caorann Mor pass towards Alltbeithe Youth Hostel before swinging west along Glen Gniomhaidh, climbing Sgurr Gaorsaic (839m) and then continuing over the Bealach an Sgairne to return to our base via Glen Choinneachain – a round trip of 26km and about 1500m of ascent. Another two walkers followed the same route but bypassed Sgurr Gaorsaic – a Corbett too far for them! Several large herds of red deer were seen on this route.
Another member also climbed Sgurr Gaorsaic by starting at the hostel, effectively reversing the final part of the route tackled by the intrepid member above.
Another two members, who are both quietly edging towards “compleation”, were on the Forcan Ridge, claiming the Munros of The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine.
The remaining member had brought his bike and chose to cycle up the remote Glen Elchaig to Iron Lodge and climbed the Corbett Aonach Buidhe, a tougher day than he bargained for.
The thirteen weekenders therefore tackled seven different routes, conquering eight Munros and Corbetts between them from various directions. All reported a great day with ideal hillwalking weather.
After their efforts of the previous day, enthusiasm for more walking had been dampened slightly by the sight of low cloud and some tired muscles, with one or two exceptions.
Two members continued the weekend by heading for Skye and on the following two days tackled Sgurr na Bannaichdich and Sgurr Alasdair. One of them carried on from there to Knoydart. A long weekend indeed!
Three set off to Sandaig to explore the scenes of Gavin Maxwell’s book “Ring of Bright Water”, enjoying a picnic on the beach before driving home.
Two members added to their considerable tally of Corbetts for the weekend (their fifth, but they’re not bagging!) by climbing Surr Mhic Bharraich, the next door neighbour of The Saddle.
The aforementioned cyclist explored the upper reaches of Glen Roy by bicycle while another member enjoyed a forest walk near Boat of Garten.
The remaining four members headed for home.
All agreed that this was yet another wonderful weekend in Kintail, the wet Saturday notwithstanding.
Nine members and a guest attended. There was a fairly even split between those wanting to climb Carn a’ Chlamain (963 metres) and those with a preference
for exploring the less well-known Beinn Mheadhonach (901 metres). Surprisingly, the Corbett-baggers just outnumbered the Munro-baggers six to four.
The two groups set off from the Glen Tilt car park together at 8.50, heading up the track on the west side of the River Tilt, crossing the first bridge after
a couple of kilometres and thus avoiding the shooting range where long-range shooting was taking place. A red squirrel was spotted scurrying around in the woods.
At Gilbert’s Bridge, the two groups separated, the group of four continuing on the east bank and the others crossing the bridge.
The Munro-baggers crossed the river once again beyond Marble Lodge and followed the track all the way to the top, encountering the only significant
snow-field of the day a few hundred metres from the top. Two walkers felt the need for snow spikes but the other two easily found a way round the worst of the snow.
The Corbett-baggers, perhaps surprisingly, enjoyed a good footpath all the way up Glen Mhairc and on to the long summit ridge, passing a very small cairn at
a 900 metre spot height and continuing for several hundred metres to gain another metre of altitude at the 901 metre summit at the far end of the ridge.
The timings seemed to be working well, as the Beinn Mheadhonach group had just settled down for a lunch break at the top when they spotted the group of four
at the summit of Carn a’ Chlamain. The cloud was high enough for all the summits to be clear at first, but a flurry of snow reduced visibility and chased
the Beinn Mheadhonach group off the summit before blowing eastwards and doing the same to the other group. In the main it was ideal hillwalking weather
however, with the occasional burst of sunshine and a gentle cooling breeze.
The group of six, who had a shorter walk by about three kilometres, returned to the cars about 4pm with the others arriving about half an hour later.
Total distance for the Carn a’ Chlamain group was 25km and 22km for the Beinn Mheadhonach group. Total ascent was 820 metres and 750 metres respectively.
This meeting was cancelled as no photos were received.
8 members attended, with 6 staying at the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel and 2 making their own accommodation arrangements.
3 members climbed Sgiath Chuil, repeating the walk which the club had done two weeks before except that they started from the Glen Dochart side. Wonderful clear weather with a promising forecast for the weekend to come.
3 members drove up Glen Nevis to climb Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor. Climbing up from the pass between Carn Mor Dearg and Aonach Mor, underfoot conditions were very tricky. The descent from Aonach Beag also came to a tricky conclusion with the crossing of a stream which was in spate due to the melting snow. It was dark by the time this group reached the car. A further 3 members climbed Ben Nevis, setting off up the track opposite the Youth Hostel. They enjoyed very clear sunny weather with extensive views until the last few hundred metres which were completed in cloud and snow underfoot. Predictably, the Ben was very busy with one of the group estimating a total of around one thousand walkers. Ironically, this group, having climbed the highest hill, got back to the hostel some three hours before either of the other groups. The remaining 2 members headed for a circuit of two Corbetts, namely Meall na h-Eilde and Geal Charn, starting from the Eas Chia-aig waterfall car park near the eastern end of Loch Arkaig. Clear views were enjoyed in every direction, including Ben Nevis and the Aonachs where the other groups were, and the apparent light dusting of cloud around the tops of these hills was unfortunately enough to spoil the views from these summits for the others. The sun was setting as the two “Corbett-baggers” walked along the road to their starting point, and like the first group, returned to the hostel in darkness.
Sunday, if anything, was even sunnier and warmer than the previous day. 2 members climbed Carn Dearg in Glen Roy, a very steep ascent in very warm conditions. Another 2 members stopped off just past Dalwhinnie and climbed Meall Chuaich, picking up a para-glider on the way down and giving him a lift back to his car. One member climbed Mullach nan Coirean in the Mamores and spent a large part of the day sunning himself at the summit. The other 3, who had already had two big days on the hill, opted for a more relaxing day doing a circular walk in Glen Nevis to the Poll Dubh Falls.
6 members attended this meet which had been postponed from the previous week due to the poor weather.
The group set off from the car park at the end of the Glen Lochay road at 9.20, continuing along the road to its end at Kenknock where a hydro board track leads off south across the River Lochay and up the hillside. It was a chilly but sunny start under clear skies but the climb up the track soon had the walkers stopping to take off a layer of clothing. At the end of the track the walkers emerged from the woods out on to the open hillside and climbed almost due south in the direction of Sgiath Chuil. As height was gained, the south-east wind increasingly made its presence felt, and the group stopped just before reaching the summit ridge, this time to add layers of clothing. Although there was very little snow, the grassy slopes near the top were very hard and quite slippy in places. The summit of Sgiath Chuil was reached just after midday and the walkers quickly found a sheltered spot to have a lunch break. Several other groups could be seen approaching from the Glen Dochart side, which seemed to be a much more popular route than the one taken by our group. The plan had been to head for this Munro first, then negotiate a steep descent westwards followed by an equally steep re-ascent to Beinn Cheathaich and then the second Munro of the day, Meall Ghlas, before retracing their steps to Ben Cheathaich and descending north, with the option of a fording of the River Lochay or a more easterly route to the hydro track and the bridge. After spending the lunch break looking at the considerable climb up Meall Ghlas and its snow-encrusted summit ridge, the group decided that one Munro was enough for the day. They descended west to the bealach and then north towards the River Lochay, but it quickly became obvious that there was not a democratic majority in favour of a paddle across the River Lochay and so the group veered east and picked up the track down to the bridge. The car park was reached at 4pm, giving a total walk time of just over six and a half hours.
Distance was 14km, total ascent 790 metres.
The only wildlife spotted on the walk was a toad which scurried off into a puddle although two members did see an osprey on their way there in the morning.
This meet to Meall Ghlas & Sgiath Chuil was cancelled due to the forecast of very high winds.
22 members attended. President Linda Sinclair presided.
The updated constitution was adopted.
The posts of President, Treasurer, and Ordinary member were unopposed so Linda, Steve and Carolyn were relected.
Mel resigned as secretary, due to work reasons. Clare Stewart was elected as the new secretary.
Colin had to stand down as Meet Secretary having served for 4 years. Ray was promoted to Meet Secretary and Willie Mather as Assistant Meet Secretary.
12 members attended. 10 stayed at Saddle Mountain Hostel (3 sleeping in campervans). 2 stayed at Morag’s Lodge in Fort Augustus.
The club has previously stayed at Saddle Mountain Hostel on several occasions before (called Mandally Bunkhouse at that time).
The new owners have refurbished it. Very good facilities – top class. Must return soon.
• Group of 3 attempted to climb Beinn Bhan, a Corbett near Gairlochy. They reached the 771m top, but the wind was so strong they couldn’t reach the summit (796m just over 1km away). They retreated by the same route as the ascent. 7km, 710m ascent.
• One went to Glen Gloy and successfully climbed Leana Mhor (684m, a Graham), and Beinn Iaruinn (803m, a Corbett), normally climbed from the Glen Roy side. 13.1km, 774m ascent.
• A group of 5 tackled various parts of the Great Glen Way. They set off NE to reach the Bridge of Oich. From there two carried on to Fort Augustus (13.5km, 230m ascent). The others turned SW down the east side of Loch Oich to the swing bridge at Laggan, then turned NE to return to the hostel (16.4km, 465m ascent).
• One walked from the hostel to Loch Lundie, above Invergarry. 12km, 190m ascent. She spotted siskins, tree sparrows and a treecreeper.
• One did a short local walk. 3km, 70m ascent, spooting a goosander on the river.
• Two climbed a Corbett, the most southerly Carn Dearg (834m) in Glen Roy. 7km, 690m ascent. Report of weather was that there was a strong breeze, but not as strong as Saturday.
• One was also in Glen Roy, starting at the same spot. He climbed the southern Leana Mhor (676m, another Graham), and then carried on to the same Corbett, southerly Carn Dearg (834m), spotting the footprints of the other group. 11.7km, 715m ascent.
• Group of 4 walked from the hostel to to Loch Lundie. (12km, 190m ascent). It was spring-like, with blue skies although it was cool whenever the breeze picked up. The birdwatcher saw crossbill, treecreeper, bullfinch, dipper. He also saw a falcon, initially said kestrel but more likely male merlin.
• Two walked from the Creag Meagaidh car park to the lochan in Coire Ardair. There was quite a lot of snow on the path. 12km, ascent 470m.
• Two walked from Kilfinnan SW down Loch Lochy, then climbed to the bealach between Meal na Teanga and Sron a Choire Ghairbh, returning the same way. 12.7km, ascent 630m.
• One injured member read a book in the campervan!
All in all, a great weekend. Saddle Mountain Hostel must be put on our regular list.
3 members attended. The planned meet to the Crianlarich area was altered because of the weather forecast, and the group headed north up the A9 instead. Left Myre car park at 7.05 in one car. Conditions brightened north of Drumochter and the top of Meall Chuaich was visible. The group set out walking at 09:00. Unfortunately, the cloud lowered during the walk-in, and on climbing higher the group encountered icy conditions. The summit was reached at 11:40. This was a special occasion for the outgoing meet secretary, as it was his first visit back there since completing his Munros on the same hill in December 1995. Left the top at 12:15 and soon dropped below the clouds, reaching the car at 14:10. The hill was busy. The group met 30+ others. Several ptarmigan were spotted near the summit. Weather was dry but cloudy. The group drove back south into the rain and reached Forfar at 16:00. Distance 14.8km, ascent 630m, time 5hrs.
22 members plus judge Graham Wilkinson attended. 7.30pm, online.
12 members had submitted 58 photos. Here are the results.
The Brian Coull Memorial Trophy for best photograph
Winner: Fleur Baxter, 2. Gill Hay, 3. Nicola Baillie
The Norrie Trophy for the best collection of 3 photographs
Winner : Gill Hay
The photos can be viewed by hopping to the Photo page and using the 3 links to the Google Photo albums. If you view the albums, a description should be visible which give details of who took the photo. Use the "I" icon to see more details of any photo. Graham, the judge, has provided his comments on each photo, and they can be viewed here .
12 members attended. Some met at Myre car park at 07:30 then met others at Glen Isla village hall at 08:10. We took
6 cars to the road end at Auchavan, meeting up with the 12th member there. Walking started at 08:45 up the glen into a brisk NW wind.
The group stopped for their first break halfway up Monega Hill, then battled up the ridge with a very strong crosswind trying
to blow the lighter members down the slopes. The wind took your breath away and every step was a struggle to stay upright. However, on
reaching the summit of Monega Hill (908m), the wind seemed to ease a little. The views into Caenlochan Glen were stunning. The group now
turned left into the wind. After the short descent, the climb over the shoulder of Little Glas Maol was in the lee of the wind for a while.
From here, 3 members chose to head back via the track southwards over Little Glas Maol (973m). The remaining members dropped to the bealach
and climbed to the summit of Glas Maol (1068m) over several snow patches, again in the lee of the wind, and reached at 12:00.
The summit was icy with some lovely ice formations on the grasses. Views were extensive all around as far as Ben More & Stob Binnein, though
the higher Cairngorms were cloud-capped. Lunch was taken here in the shelter of the cairn and descent started at 12:30. One member took in the summit
of Little Glas Maol, as the others traversed round its shoulder. The group followed the track southwards to Shanovan Hill and Tulchan Lodge.
One member chose to go directly down the ridge to Tulchan Lodge and caught up with the first group of 3. The last of the groups reached the cars at 14:50.
It was a bright sunny day but with a very strong NW wind, giving significant wind chill on the tops. There were some
icy patches and some patches of hard snow to cross, but a real lack of snow on the hills for this time of year. Several mountain hares in their white coats
were spotted as well as a raven, and a huge herd of deer, just above the cars.
Distance 18.2km, ascent 810m, time 6hrs.
41 attended (31 members and 10 guests). 7.30pm. After some short business matters, Willie Mather presented his Oct/Nov 2021 trip to the Canadian Rockies and a boating trip down the Grand Canyon in the USA. In Canada, Willie stayed in Canmore, and went walking with a couple of groups in the stunning Banff National Park. He then flew to the US to join a group to boat down the canyon for an 18 day trip.
16 attended (14 members and 2 guests). The group gathered at a clearing in the forest near Balintore. Storm Arwen had felled many trees there. We set of walking at 10:00, up the hill and past Balintore Castle. It was then a bit of a trudge along the tarmac road to pick up the track which climbs the SW ridge of Cat Law. Unfortunately, once again, we ascended into the cloud, reaching the summit (671m) at 11:45 or so. A break was taken here as the group hankered down in hollows and the cairn to shelter from the cold wind. Then it was on our way again heading NW down the fence line, and soon dropping below the cloud to have some views again. After we'd reached the junction of paths at the gates, we had a short climb up Badandere Hill (538m) then along a ridge to the Hill of Stanks (484m), where a right hand turn took us down a steep descent. It was quite sheltered here so another short break was taken. Then there followed a short uphill and a descent to the Burn of Dairy, and a walk out to Balintore. The cars were reached at 14:00. Distance 11.5km. Ascent 530m. Apart from some short light showers blowing through, it was a dry day, but with a strong south-westerly wind. Some grouse, a red kite, and a heron were spotted.