Forfar & District
After three late call-offs, nine members and guests attended the weekend at Glencoe Ski Club hut. This was a slight improvement on the previous year when only
six negotiated the flooded roads.
This year, a fine dry day was forecast for Friday with a deterioration expected over the weekend. Three members therefore left early on Friday morning to make the best of things, one heading for the Corbett Beinn a Chasteil, which overlooks the settlement of Auch, just a few miles from the club hut. Another two climbed the Munro Ben Challum, just a little bit further down the road. Both parties reported a dusting of snow on the tops with some sunshine in the morning but cloud rolling in later.
The rain set in overnight resulting in most attendees planning fairly modest walks as they looked out at a very watery scene during breakfast. One group of three bravely set off for Buchaille Etive Beag and completed both Munros in conditions which were not as bad as expected, with the rain easing off at times and the wind not posing the problems which some forecasts had predicted. One member headed out to the nearby Graham of Meall Tairbh. With conditions being very wet underfoot as well as overhead, he apparently spent as much time on his backside as on his feet! Three others decided on a low-level walk and drove to the Glencoe Ski Centre and walked back towards the hut on the West Highland Way. Halfway along the route they received a phone call from the aforementioned walker on Meall Tairbh who offered to pick up the threesome at Inveroran once he was down off the hill, thus reducing the walk by five kilometres. Two walkers accepted with alacrity while a more stoical third determinedly turned down the offer and soldiered on in the rain. The final two attendees, who had bagged a Munro the day before, settled for a drive to Glencoe to go sightseeing.
With the drying room working overtime and the weather not showing much of an improvement, five members decided to head straight home on Sunday morning. One member cycled south on the forest track to see the Eas Urchaidh Falls on the River Orchy while one member climbed another Graham, Beinn Donachain, in the same area. The final two walkers completed the two Munros on Buchaille Etive Beag. All four enthusiasts reported a very wet morning with a little bit of respite later on. Despite the unlucky run of weather at this venue in recent years, it remains popular with many members, with Munros, Corbetts and Grahams aplenty within easy reach. The hut itself seems to be well maintained with the lack of kitchen space being the only downside. Perhaps if we persevere in future years we will be blessed with a November heatwave.
Expectations were high for a dry day after the recent frequent deluges. Two cars set off from Forfar
at 7am. A further three met them at the Moulin car park just north of Pitlochry, giving a total
attendance of ten members.
It was quite a chilly morning as the group set off at 8.30 with mist clinging to the forests along
the Tummel and Garry valleys down below. A brisk walk up the steady incline of the road to the edge
of the forest soon had the blood pumping and the morning chill was quickly forgotten. By the time the
walkers emerged from the forest the sun was higher in the sky and the cloud cover had thinned,
soon resulting in a few stops to remove layers of clothes as the path wound its way up towards
the lochan below Ben Vrackie. A mid-morning refreshment break was enjoyed at the lochan before
the steep climb up the well-constructed path towards the summit.
On reaching the top the walkers settled down on the south-facing slope, basking in the autumn sunshine and picking out as many summits as they could on this clear, almost cloudless day. The Lomond Hills could clearly be seen, and closer to hand the unmistakable outline of Schiehallion, and the Lawers range and Ben More behind. Further round, the hills of Glencoe could be distinguished in the distance.
A considerable time passed before the group somewhat reluctantly packed their rucksacks and started the descent to the lochan, where they took a different path round the north side of the lochan and round Meall na h-Aodainn Moire before rejoining the upward path just before re-entering the forest.
Despite the long stop and the leisurely pace of the descent, it was still an early finish, reaching the car park at about 2pm. The total distance covered was 10km with 800m of ascent.
17 members registered to attend this event at the Carn Dearg Hut in Glen Clova. Unfortunately the event was cancelled due to bad weather and flooding.
38 people (members, ex-members and guests) attended this meeting in the Fire Station. A short business meeting was followed by tea/coffee and cake. Fleur had baked 2 lovely cakes. See photos below. President Linda then gave a speech about the club reaching its 60th anniversary. This was followed a slideshow of images of the club over its 6 decades.
This meet was cancelled in the interests of safety due to incessant rain over the weekend which caused severe flooding. The planned post-walk meal at the Clova Hotel was postponed until a later date.
Eighteen members undertook the long Journey to Torridon for a weekend of hillwalking. Seventeen stayed at the spacious and comfortable
youth hostel and another member stayed nearby in his camper van.
With this looking like the best day weather-wise most members were up early and raring to go with a number of walks planned. The largest group, eight in number, set off for Beinn Eighe. Another two followed the path around the foot of the western slopes of Beinn Eighe to Coire Mhic Fhearchar and returned by the same route. A group of four set off on foot from the hostel, taking the stalker’s path south from Annat before splitting up at the Bealach a’ Choire Garbh, three walkers going in the direction of An Ruadh Stac and the other climbing Maoll Cheann Dearg. Two members drove to Achnashellach and climbed Beinn Liath Mhor. A further two made the short journey along the lochside and climbed Beinn Dearg. All groups reported a fine clear day with some sunshine in places.
The day dawned with low cloud hanging over the hills and the threat of rain not too far away. Despite this, two groups still ventured out on to the hills with others opting for low-level walks. Five walkers started out from a clag-engulfed Bealach na Ba viewpoint, altitude 620 metres, to climb the 792-metre Sgurr a’ Chaorachain. The apparent small height gain disguises a great deal of descent and re-ascent over several tops and a somewhat bedraggled group agreed on their return that it was not quite the easy option they had envisaged. Another two walkers drove to Achnasheen for an intended short day climbing Fionn Bheinn. They were surprised to experience much drier weather in their more easterly location and, having completed their climb early in the day, decided they wanted more, and drove the short distance to Glencarron and conquered Moruisg, their second Munro of the day. Three members enjoyed a coastal walk from Shieldaig and a trip to Applecross and another four went for forest walks near to the hostel. Three other members went for a drive around the area.
After a very stormy night, and with some heavy showers still persisting in the morning, most members made the journey straight home.
Sadly, the weekend was marred by one member suffering a serious fall on An Ruadh Stac on Saturday. She was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital where it transpired that she had sustained several serious injuries. We all wish her a speedy and complete recovery.
15 members and a guest turned up for this first indoor meeting since April. Ray chaired the meeting in Linda's absence due to her recent hip operation. A short business meeting was followed a tea break (cake from Fleur), and then a quiz run by Colin. Three teams of 5 took part. A total of 35 slides were presented, a mixture of photographs and textual questions. Many were local, and many involving fairly recent club meets. The team of Carolyn, Clare. David, Willie and Fiona won with a total of 62 points from a possible 86.
Six members attended this meet to an area rarely visited by the club. Five members left Forfar at 7am with a sixth meeting them at Aberfoyle,
where a bit of car-swapping was carried out as the plan was to do a through walk, crossing the hill from north to south.
One car headed directly over the Duke’s Pass to the car park at Loch Achray, while another two took a detour along the minor road alongside
Loch Ard, leaving one car at a layby just before Kinlochard, all the occupants then changing into the second car and following the route of
the advance party over the pass to Loch Achray.
Once the group all met up again and the £5 parking fee was paid with a few grudging noises, the walkers set off at 9.45, initially climbing steadily up the path at first before undulating and descending back to the road near Loch Katrine pier, where there was a small informal parking area amongst the trees which was free, much to the ire of a member who was still complaining about the £5 charge. A footbridge led over the River Achray from here and the path started to climb through the forest again. Eventually the trees thinned out and the path continued up the delightful Gleann Riabhach, steepening noticeably as the bealach between Ben Venue and Beinn Bhreac was approached. Several paths seemed to branch off in various directions, but the main one was followed to the trig point at the south-east top. The summit had been drifting in and out of cloud all morning, but the sun tried its best to break through on the final approach to the top. This turned out to be a false promise however, and the much-vaunted views from this hill were only partially experienced by the group. The string of lochs below making up Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar could clearly be seen, but the anticipated views of the Arrochar Alps to the west and Ben More to the north were very hazy indeed.
During a lunch break at the trig point, a large bird of prey was spotted soaring in the distance, the general consensus of opinion being that it was a golden eagle. The walkers then continued to the highest point on the north-west top, stopping briefly before taking another path down to the bealach, but rather than rejoining the upward route, they continued in a south-westerly direction, skirting the upper slopes of Beinn Bhreac before curving southwards alongside the Ledard Burn. Just as the path disappeared into the trees, the recent spell of fine weather officially came to an end with a downpour having the walkers rummaging in their rucksacks for waterproofs. The partially overgrown path resulted in a succession of cold showers as the walkers brushed through low-hanging branches.
The rain thankfully stopped before the group reached the solitary car which had been left at the southern end of the walk, two of the walkers having to wait here and indulge in pastimes like “I spy” as they waited for the car drivers to make the forty-five minute journey over the pass and back.
The walk took a total of 5 hours, covering 13km with 800m of ascent.
David Sinclair - the club's latest Munroist, registered as number 7532. Congratulations! After delaying his last Munro for 2 years because of Covid and waiting on his parents to recover, David finally went ahead and "compleated" on Ben Nevis. A total of 25 turned up for this weekend. Groups set off from the visitor centre in 3 phases. A group of 15 (family, friends and club members) reached the summit before David to congratulate him, with others climbing partially up the hill. There were literally thousands on the tourist path, and the annual Ben Nevis Hill Race took place on that day too. David was piped to the top by his school friend, David Braidwood, and reached the top in sandals, Hawaiian shirt, carrying a plastic Tesco bag and supping a can of beer! The customary clootie dumpling was washed down with 2 bottles of malt whisky! In the pub at night, David was pleasantly surprised when a lovely cake was presented to him, decorated on top with himself, some of his hillwalking gear and Vince, the campervan.
Video - click to download and play
Once again the scheduled visit to Arrochar was cancelled due to bad weather in the west. Instead, 5 members had an extra hour in bed before meeting
at the Myre at 7am for the shorter journey to Linn of Quoich. They were joined at the destination by a 6th member who had travelled from the west
the previous day to seek refuge from the west coast weather.
The group set off from the small car park at 9am, enjoying a pleasant walk along the track on the north side of the Dee valley. It was so pleasant, in fact, that no-one noticed the path climbing to the left where they should have turned off. Unperturbed, the walkers followed a northerly path through the woods which brought them on to the open hillside to the east of Creag a’ Chleirich. A brief refreshment stop was enjoyed among the heather, now in full bloom, with views down the Dee valley and across to Lochnagar. The route then took the walkers over the top of Creag a’ Chleirich, curving round the end of a small gully before the final climb to the summit of Carn na Drochaide. After a photo stop they descended south-west a short distance before another refreshment stop on the heather-covered slopes. An intermittent path led the group down to a track just before the outward route was rejoined, crossing the Quoich Water and arriving back at the car park just as the first spots of rain of the day were experienced.
Wildlife spotted was all of the miniature variety. The track along to Allanmore was alive with small frogs and a little newt which was doing its best to escape from the approaching army of boots. A less welcome visitor was a large blood-engorged tick making its way up the Meet Secretary’s trouser leg.
The total distance covered was 13km. The walk took a leisurely 5 hours with around 630m of ascent.
16 members and 4 guests gathered at the Black Slab car park on Carnoustie's sea front on a fine evening for a walk out to Buddon Ness. The route followed the coastal path until the MOD range, then followed roads out to the lighthouses. The group headed to the small lighthouse first then onto the beach, only just missing a cruise ship exiting the Tay estuary. A gannet, several terns and a seal were spotted. After a stop on the beach, the group headed to the bigger lighthouse and followed a road through a sea of purple heather towards Barry Station. The walk finished in the dusk with the group walking back over the 3 golf courses. Some stunning views of the dunes, up the Tay estuary and across to Fife, and lots of chat. Distance 10km.
Five members left the Myre Car park at 06.30 - We travelled in 2 cars and met up with two further members at the car parking area at the start of the walk.>br/>
There was a small discussion as to which of the two proposed routes we should tackle, and as one of the walkers had already hiked the shorter route
over Chno Dearg we opted for the longer 16km day.
Beginning the walk at 09.05 the weather gods were shining on us until we reached the plateau above Meall Cian Dearg, then typically the rain and cloud closed in and we summited Stob a Choire Mheadhoin in the clag! A brief respite in conditions afforded fine views of our second Munro Stob Coire Easain but by the time we reached the cairn a fierce northerly was howling up over the Corrie and no one had any spectacular views of Loch Treig! However once we descended once more to the bealach the top could be glimpsed once more! We sat in a huddle and had our soggy lunch. There were a few sweary words at this point!!
Once back over the first summit the views opened up on our descent and the weather conditions improved once more as we walked out from Loch Treig in lovely sunshine!!!!
It took just under 7 hours to cover the 10.75 miles.
17 members attended the June-July long Weekend Meet to Inchnadamph Explorers’ Lodge, a club favourite over the years, recently refurbished
and re-opened under new ownership. 3 members pulled out. The weekend weather forecast was not encouraging – high winds and heavy rain
– after all the good weather we’d been having! 2 members arrived on Saturday.
One member climbed Glas Bheinn, the Corbett behind the hostel. The weather stymied any other plans for a walk on the journey north.
Despite the forecast heavy rain and strong wind, 7 intrepid walkers climbed Conival and Ben More Assynt. They encountered the promised very wet and wild conditions which were increasingly challenging as they gained height and made their way along the ridge. At one point, the driving rain turned to painful hail for a while. Visibility was limited, but fleeting clearer spells did give the party some glimpses of the spectacular landscape. Despite that, everyone was pleased (even if in retrospect) to have climbed the 2 Munros, some saying that they would do the walk again to get the views on a better day.
Of the remaining group which decided to stay lower down, 3 walked to the Bone Caves in the rain, then went to Lochinver. A tasty lunch there was followed by a scenic coastal drive to return to the lodge.
3 others decided to give the Bone Caves a miss in the rain and headed straight to Lochinver where they took advantage of a dry spell to wander through the village, visit a coffee shop and buy some pies from the Lochinver Pie Shop to take home with them. They then headed up the coast, stopping at Achmelvich beach in a brief, bright spell, then driving through another heavy shower to Clachtoll where they parked and walked along the coast to visit an interesting ruined broch dating from the Iron Age. This was the best part of the day as there was another breezy but pleasant sunny spell. There were stunning views of the coast, the inland hills and the showers sweeping across the sea and the landscape. The return to Lochinver Lodge was by the scenic route via Kylescu.
2 others headed for Ullapool and civilization for a wander round and a delicious lunch at The Seafood Shack which they highly recommended on their return to the hostel. They, too, took the scenic route to return via the single track road to Achiltibuie with views of the Summer Isles and the iconic Sutherland hills.
One member of the group, who arrived on Saturday – DB - climbed 3 of the Fannichs on his way to Inchnadamph – Meall a’ Chrasgaidh, Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Sgurr nan Each.
With a slightly better day but further heavy showers and wind forecast, 5 members headed home after breakfast – there was better weather in the east!
Having scaled 3 of the Fannichs on Saturday one member decided to climb Conival and Ben More Assynt. Although there was less rain than on Saturday, there was one violent hail shower and poor visibility.
With the cloud still low over the hills, the general consensus was to head for the coast. 7 went to Achmelvich beach, Clachtoll and the broch and walked along the cliffs from the lighthouse at Raffin to get a view of the Old Man of Stoer.
2 others visited the Bone Caves and Achiltibuie to see the Summer Isles.
2 others walked from the lighthouse at Raffin to the Old Man of Stoer and up to the trig point on Sithean Mor.
There was much less rain and it was much clearer, so everyone enjoyed the stunning views.
The heavy rain was back to stay, so everyone headed home to the drier east. 2 members stopped at Knockan Crag Geopark, did the short walk and got absolutely drenched again.
Although the weather was poor, everyone made the most of the weekend and enjoyed the good company.
Five members and a guest enjoyed a walk in the sunshine as the recent good weather continued. The group met at the picnic area on the east
bank of the reservoir and set off at 9.20 up the public road to its end at Glenhead Farm. A vehicle track then continued northwards towards
an old ruin known as “Hole”. All the while the walkers were accompanied by the mewing sound of buzzards overhead. Near the ruin a young deer
emerged from the undergrowth only a few metres away, running a short distance before deciding that the walkers posed no threat.
The route then left the track and went through a wooded area, giving some brief respite from the warm sun before emerging on to the open hillside. Here the group were rewarded with an all too brief sighting of a white-tailed eagle soaring overhead. By the time cameras were hurriedly pulled out of rucksacks the magnificent raptor was a mere dot in the distance. The cairn on the top known as Bad Buidhe was soon reached. After a brief stop to admire the views the walkers continued north to the High Tree, the origin of this name being a mystery as there was not a scrap of arboreal life anywhere near this 604m top. It was now 12pm and the group set about finding a nice spot to stop for lunch, an easy task on the tinder-dry ground under the warmth of the sun. It was with some reluctance that the group got going again after a relaxing forty-five minutes, continuing north before curving west round the broad ridge which encircles Glen Damff, with Glen Prosen on the east side and Glen Isla on the west. The path had ended but the group made light work of the heathery terrain before picking up a narrow path which followed a deer fence round to an unnamed 663m top, the highest point on the walk. The route turned south to Cairn Daunie, where a fine path was picked up which led all the way down to Glenmarkie, crossing the burn and then returning to Glenhead, rejoining the outward route on the public road for the last 20 minutes back to the cars. The total distance covered was 20km. The total ascent was around 620m and the time taken was six hours and twenty minutes.
Meet cancelled due to lack of interest.
10 members attended this outdoor meeting at the Reid Park, Forfar starting at 7pm. Impressively, 2 arrived by bike. Only 6 elected to compete in the Girds Competition; the remainder being spectators and officials. It was decided that a round-robin event took place with each competitor racing against the other 5, in a best of 3 heats. Only a few pairings actually need 3 heats, but even so, so much effort was expended that longer and longer rests took place between heats. The winner was Graeme Harris, who won all 5 of his races. Runner-up was Fiona Hogarth who won 4 of her races.
12 members and a guest took part in this meet. Eleven set out from Forfar at the slightly earlier time of 6.30. A further two members were
already in the Glencoe area and had arranged to meet the main party there. The vast majority of people were keen to climb the Aonach Eagach Ridge,
around half having done it before and half looking forward to experiencing it for the first time. This depended on the weather being kind
and the forecast of a windless, cloudy day turned out to be very accurate. Early morning drizzle had dampened the rock but not the eagerness
of the walkers, so after dropping off a car at the west end of the ridge a party of eleven headed up the steep rocky path from the layby to the
west of Allt na Reigh. The other two members preferred to climb Buchaille Etive Mor and had been dropped off a short distance along the glen.
The main party made steady progress up to the ridge and soon reached the first top, Am Bodach where they stopped for a breather in very humid conditions,
with the sun threatening to break through the mist. Shortly thereafter the first tricky bit was encountered, a steep rocky descent which all
the walkers took in their stride, but this was just a small taster of what was to follow. The first Munro of the day, namely Meall Dearg,
was soon reached. A refreshment stop was enjoyed before setting off again for the most testing part of the day, the infamous pinnacles of Aonach Eagach.
This involved a seemingly endless series of steep rocky ascents and descents with the exposure increasing with each one. One member had kindly
brought a rope and assisted one or two members on the trickier situations.
Once the last of the party had reached the final pinnacle, the leading group which contained three of the car drivers, carried on ahead to the next top, Stob Coire Leith. This section was more straightforward, consisting of a “hands free” walk up a steep rocky path, followed by the first level section all day, a pleasant airy walk towards the second Munro, Sgur Fiannaidh. A long rocky descent then followed, taking a path south-west and then north-west to the bealach below the Pap of Glencoe. The descent then continued for what seemed like a considerable distance to the road, where the logistical exercise of collecting sufficient cars from the starting point to pick up the walkers at the other end began. After a brief bit of confusion about the pick-up point, all walkers were safely collected by 8.30 after a long hard day.
Meanwhile, the two walkers who had gone to Buchaille Etive Mor had been collected and brought back to the car park. They also reported a hard but enjoyable day, having climbed the bouldery slope to the summit of Stob Dearg before making their way over the plateau to the other Munro, Stob na Broig. They then retraced their steps for a short distance before descending northwards to the Lairig Gartain, making their way down the pass to the road and the agreed rendezvous point.
With all the walkers now gathered together ready for the journey home, further drama unfolded as one car’s boot refused to open, followed by the driver losing his keys. In the resultant confusion the deadline for passing through the roadworks before the overnight work began was missed. Some drivers headed south, taking a chance that they would be allowed through at some point, while others took the long way round by Fort William. In the end, the last cars taking each route arrived back in Forfar within minutes of each other at the unearthly hour of 1am! This was undoubtedly one of the longest day meets on record. The distance covered on the Aonach Eagach Ridge was little more than 9 kilometres although this was more than made up for by the amount of ascent and descent which exceeded 1100m. The total time on the hill varied between 9 and 10 hours for the different groups. The two walkers on Buchaille Etive Mor completed their walk at about the same time, having covered a slightly greater distance but a similar amount of ascent. The day was only slightly spoiled by the vast banks of mist rolling over the tops, allowing only fleeting glimpses of the spectacular views of the neighbouring Glencoe mountains, the Glen Etive hills and Rannoch Moor.
An epic day which is likely to abide in the memory of those attending for many a year.
The first “Social Meet” of the year saw five members heading to Clachnaben. Three members set off from Forfar at 8am and met another two at Edzell. Driving over the Cairn o’ Mount road, the two cars parked at the quarry just beyond Bridge of Dye. The walkers set off at 9.15, heading south-west and, rather disconcertingly, downhill through the woods. This didn’t last long and as the walkers wheeled right on to the Clachnaben path, the route started to climb, firstly on open land before going through another wooded stretch and then on to the open hillside where the path steepened. The track was busy with young families and dog-walkers, some already on their way back. The onset of rain increased the downhill traffic and soon the group appeared to have the path to themselves. They found a sheltered spot tucked in under the summit tor for a refreshment stop before climbing briefly on to the top. Mount Battock looked a long way from here and everyone agreed that it was a hill too far for a social walk. However, the walk continued west in the general direction of Mount Battock until another path branched off southwards at Hill of Edendocher. The group took this path and descended to Glen Dye, where they had another stop in Char Bothy. A lot of work has evidently been done on this bothy recently, with the old fireplace being filled in and the walls freshly painted, a real credit to the Fasque Estate and the Mountain Bothies Association. The rain had stopped by the time the walkers got on their way again and the weather brightened up, resulting in one or two “pit stops” to remove layers of clothing. This part of the walk down Glen Dye was accompanied by the familiar sound of a cuckoo heralding the approach of summer. The outward route was then re-joined for the final uphill kilometre through the woods. The total distance of the walk was about 15 kilometres and took just over 6 hours at a very leisurely pace.
A group of 13 gathered at the Muir car park at 7pm, consisting of 10 participants and 3 organisers. Mel, the main organiser, was assisted by Briar and Carolyn. Three teams were assembled, and set off on an entertaining route around Edzell (paths and streets). It was a challenging hunt for the many features. Teams finished in the dusk, and were treated to coffee/tea and cake from Carolyn. The winning team consisted of Fiona, John, Willie and Graeme. Thanks to Mel. Another great fun treasure hunt to add to her previous successes.
Thirteen members booked for the 3 night stay on Islay staying at the Port Charlotte Hostel. However, two members cancelled just before departure
leaving eleven with their fingers crossed that the weather would prove to be better than forecast!
On rising the cloud was low with some rain in the air.
• A group of four took the early ferry to Jura to tackle the Paps of Jura. They found conditions tough as they climbed Beinn Shiantaidh with steep ground, many boulder fields and moving rocks. The descent to the bealach was similar hard going resulting in one member descending further to lower ground. The other three went on to climb the Corbett Beinn an Oir before everyone returned to the car, passing on the opportunity to attempt the third Pap. The outing wasn’t helped by misty conditions and poor visibility throughout.
• Four members took the short drive to the RSPB centre at Loch Gruinart and followed two short nature trails before enjoying a fine coastal walk around Ardnave Point. They then drove to Machir Bay for a beach walk. It stayed dry throughout with the weather improving as the day progressed.
• One member explored the Port Charlotte area on his bike.
• Two members took a whistle stop tour of the island in their car with frequent short stops and walks.
The day started with poor weather – wet, misty and some rain.
• Two members, as planned, caught the ferry back to the mainland before heading home.
• Three people set off for a visit to Bowmore but found most facilities shut. They then drove to Bunnahabhain with the intention of undertaking a coastal walk. However, conditions deteriorated. So, after a short visit to the distillery, they drove back to the west of the island in the hope of finding better weather. After a stop at Bruichladdich distillery they continued to Portnahaven and enjoyed a fine coastal walk. Weather conditions improved as the day progressed culminating in warm, sunny conditions and blue sky!
• Five other people also decided to visit Bowmore, but quickly moved onto Port Ellen. They then visited the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg before a walk at Mull of Oa. They too then headed back west before visiting Saligo Bay.V • One person further explored Islay on his bike.
Once again the day started wet and misty. Everyone left the island sometime during the day. Many were on an early ferry while some took a walk at Ardnave Point in improving weather.
Islay is a haven for wildlife, particularly Hebridean birds. Among the vast number of birds spotted during the stay were white fronted geese, shovellers, wigeons, a wheatear, a willow warbler, choughs, a whimbrel and a hen harrier.
Eight members attended this Day Meet to the Ben Lawers range. Six met for car sharing at the Myre, setting off just after 7am and another two went
straight to the car park at the former Ben Lawers Visitor Centre. The six from the Myre made good time on the journey and arrived just after 8.30,
with the other two already there, kitted out and raring to go. The car park was already starting to fill up on this Easter Sunday morning with
many families out for a walk. The well-made path was very busy in the initial stages with walkers of all abilities squeezing past each other on
their way up the slopes. This was soon to change as more height was gained. Some groups clearly only intended to go as far as the nature trail
but others carried on towards Beinn Ghlas, which now appeared in front of the walkers.
About half way up, the eight members paused to allow the tail-enders to catch up. A stronger than expected wind was starting to make its presence felt and the summit of Beinn Ghlas was drifting in and out of view behind banks of cloud. The group carried on as the wind got stronger with height gained. By this time the track was much quieter, many walkers having turned back. Once again the group gathered together and, with the wind making it difficult to stand by this time, debated whether to continue. Two members elected to go back down while the others decided to soldier on. Within about fifteen minutes the summit of Bheinn Ghlas was passed unceremoniously and the walkers carried on, descending towards the bealach before Ben Lawers. It was much more sheltered here and the group found an ideal spot for a refreshment stop in the lee of the two hills. On setting off again, the relatively calm conditions made for pleasant walking for a time but predictably conditions became ever more challenging with every bit of altitude gain on the climb to the summit of Ben Lawers. The top was nevertheless reached but with conditions making it difficult to stand, the briefest of photo stops was followed by a hasty descent, all thoughts of continuing to An Stuc having long since been abandoned. The group returned the same way to the bealach before taking the bypass path round the north side of Bheinn Ghlas. Another refreshment stop was enjoyed in a lovely spot looking across to Meall Corranaich with the Tarmachan Ridge to the west. The outward route was rejoined about two kilometres from the car park, the shortened walk being completed just after 2pm, when the wind-blasted group of six were reunited with the two others who had enjoyed a calmer afternoon on the lower slopes. It was then a case of off home for an early bath.
16 members attended. Following the short Open Meeting, 5 members presented some photos and videos with a narration.
Based at Saddle Mountain Hostel, which remains one of the best hostels, if not ‘the best’ in Scotland. It’s modern, very well equipped and spotlessly clean.
There are also a large number of hills within relatively easy reach. This was the Club’s second recent visit, having last enjoyed the facilities February 2022.
18 members booked but due to illness and injuries only 12 attended.
Overall the weather was kind and generally better than had been forecast. Grey cloud, cold breezes, some snow flurries were the order of the day, but thankfully the tops were clear most of the time. Surprisingly there was little snow on the mountain tops. • Eight members climbed the nearby Loch Lochy Munros from Kilfinnan – Sron a’ Choire Ghaibh and Meall na Teanga. One of the party also took in the Corbett Ben Tee before walking back to the hostel. • Two members drove west to Glenfinnan and after walking under the railway viaduct climbed Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm. • One member drove north west to Killilan and then cycled up Glen Elchaig before climbing the Corbetts Faochaig and Anoach Buidhe (a 40km day). • One member cycled along the Great Glen Way to Spean Bridge.
The day started with bright blue skies and it remained that way for most of the day However, there was a very cold wind.
• Four members climbed Sgurr a Mhaoraich on the north side of Loch Cuaich, and despite the cold temperatures they reported an epic day with amazing views and skyscapes. While another in the party cycled to Loch Hourn and then back along the road.
• Four members started the drive back home and as planned stopped off on the A9 to climb the Corbett Meall na Leitreach.
• Three members started driving back home and then parked on the road to Fersit before a leisurely walk to and partly alongside Loch Treig.
Overall a most enjoyable weekend for all – and the many ‘baggers’ returned home happy!
A bus had been booked for this through walk the previous week but with snow being forecast along with high winds the decision was made to postpone the walk for a week.
This move proved to be a good one weather-wise but one or two members called off due to other commitments.
The bus left just after 7am, making good time and arriving at Flotterstone Visitor Centre around 8.40. The pick-up point at the end of the walk was agreed with the driver and an estimated arrival time of 4.00-4.30pm was given. With that the walkers said farewell to the bus and were on their way just before 9am, following the track behind the visitor centre which leads to Glencorse Reservoir but turning off to the left on a path signposted to Scald Law. These helpful signposts lasted until the path started to climb steeply towards the first top of the day, Turnhouse Hill. From here the route ahead was very clear, along a switch-back ridge with steep slopes and rounded summits. Deep below on the north side was the long trench containing Glencorse and Loganlea Reservoirs. Looking behind, the Firth of Forth led the eye down to the Bass Rock and Berwick Law.
A steep descent from here and an equally sharp climb brought the walkers to the top of Carnethy Hill, at 573 metres only a few metres short of the highest point in the Pentlands. The view of the route from this top both ahead and behind prompted some of the group to venture the opinion that these hills provided a superior experience to the more familiar hills across the Forth in Fife. The large stone circle at this summit provided an ideal spot for a refreshment break before another rollercoaster experience, dropping to a bealach and re-ascending to the highest point of the day, Scald Law, at 579 metres. To the north, the snow-covered tops of the Trossachs and Perthshire hills could be seen although it was too cloudy to identify any individual tops with any confidence.
The route onwards swung right and then left, over the tops of East Kip and West Kip, with a lunch stop being enjoyed just before the top of the latter. Once over the other side of West Kip, the nature of the walk changed. The main ridge of the Pentlands and its crowds were left behind and instead, the walkers found themselves on a large, deserted area of moorland. The ensuing four kilometres across this moor was quite a contrast, with the sound of grouse and curlews replacing human company. The tussocky terrain also made for more challenging walking conditions but on the plus side, it was virtually the first level part of the route.
Eventually, though, it was time to climb to another top. The track over East Cairn Hill had been in front of the walkers for some time and now they found themselves climbing once again, this time less steeply but over a longer distance. At the top they paused for a breather before descending steeply to a Right of Way known as the “Cross Borders Drove Road”. This very muddy path was followed for four kilometres in a northerly direction, passing Harperrig Reservoir before reaching the car park at Little Vantage at 4.15 where the walkers encountered the very welcome sight of the waiting bus.
Only six members and a guest turned out for this walk in the end, but all were generally of the opinion that this was a very enjoyable walk, being quite different to those usually undertaken, and they were certainly glad that they did not have to drive home. Although these hills are of significantly lesser height than those usually undertaken on a club walk, the total ascent amounted to 920 metres, which would exceed that on many a Munro outing. The total distance covered was fully 17 kilometres and took in excess of seven hours, a big day judging by the number of people dozing off on the return journey.
Held at the Queens Hotel, Dundee, and run by Ancrum Mountaineering Club. The first time it has been held since 2019 because of the pandemic. Our team of Carolyn, Colin and Graham B finished 4th out of 17 teams.
7.30pm, Forfar Fire Station. 19 members plus a guest attended. At the AGM, Clare Stewart stood down as Secretary. Carolyn Smith was elected as the new secretary. Fleur Baxter was elected as the new ordinary member on the committee. Membership fees are unchanged.
Ten members took part in this weekend, arriving at various points on the Friday evening and looking forward to some big days in the Cairngorms.
Four members left early on Friday in a well-packed car with the intention of climbing some of the Drumochter hills on the way but the weather
persuaded them to settle for a low-level walk where they were accompanied by a fifth member of the group. One other member did have a successful day,
taking in the Munros of Beinn Teallach and Beinn a’ Chaorainn along Loch Laggan-side.
By 8am on Saturday morning, all were ready and raring to go. First off the mark was one member who set off on foot from the cottage, heading towards Achlean before taking a route on to the main plateau and on to Sgor Gaoith, completing a circuit by continuing north to the Argyll Stone and then back down through the forest to Glen Feshie. He reported some hard icy conditions and had to cut steps at one point.
Another group of four set off by car to Glenmore Lodge and took the track towards the Lairig an Laoigh before branching off to climb Bynack More. A final group of five walked up the River Feshie from Achlean, passing Glenfeshie Lodge before turning west towards Meallach Mor, a remote Corbett which resulted in a demanding walk totalling some 32 kilometres.
All groups returned to base with very little daylight left, reporting chilly but mainly dry conditions after some sleet showers in the morning. With the weather forecast promising high pressure on Sunday nine of the walkers were keen to go out again despite their considerable exertions on the Saturday, one member opting to return home. Unusually for a weekend meet, all walkers elected to do the same walk, and so all nine headed for Kingussie where they parked near the golf course and took the route up to Carn an Fhreiceadain in splendid blue-sky conditions. The views back to the snow-covered Cairngorms under the cloudless sky were truly amazing. The walk ended around 3pm and all went home very happy with their weekend’s work.>br/> The cottage was very comfortable, well-equipped and well maintained. There was a very cosy stove in the living room and the toilets and showers in particular looked as if some recent refurbishment had been carried out.
Twelve members gathered at the car park at the top of Glen Esk at 8am. With dawn just breaking there were one or two light-hearted barbs about the early start for such a local outing but they were easily silenced by the early risers and the sight of an almost empty car park making parking easy. The group set off at 8.20, following the track up the east side of the Water of Mark, soon reaching the Queen’s Well. A pause here for photos and refreshments allowed the group to gather together again before setting off towards the harder work of the steep ascent above the Ladder Burn. The walkers quickly became spread out again into smaller groups and on reaching the more open hillside, a cooling north-westerly breeze started to make its presence felt, discouraging any further stops to wait for the tail-enders. Those first to arrive at the summit found a sheltered spot among the rocks on the east side of the hill and had an early lunch. They were almost ready to go by the time the last of the party had settled down to join them around 11.30. By this time the hill was starting to come to life, with various groups arriving at the summit and searching around for a nice sheltered spot to enjoy a stop. The fact that our group had bagged the best spot provided further ammunition to those defending the early start time. The leading group set off again, back the way they had come, fully twenty minutes before the last of the walkers packed up their rucksacks. The gap increased throughout the descent as the last group enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the mountainside, meeting a growing number of walkers and two mountain bikers ascending the hill. The first of the walkers arrived back at the cars around 2pm with the tail-enders arriving a full hour later. It was a very pleasant day weather-wise, being remarkably mild with no wind whatsoever until the higher reaches of the mountain were gained. The views of the surrounding mountains, including Lochnagar and the Angus hills were extensive and displayed only a patchwork of snow, a scene more reminiscent of spring. The total distance covered in the walk was 17km with 700m of ascent
7.30pm at Forfar Fire Station. 16 attended (approx). A short Open Meeting was followed by the Annual Photographic Competition, judged by Graham Wilkinson.
61 digital photos had been entered from 13 members.
Best Photo - The Brian Coull Memorial Trophy
1st - David Sinclair, 2nd Nicola Baillie, 3rd Graham Thomson
Best Collection - The Norrie Trophy
Winner - Nicola Baillie
See links here to the winning photos and to see all 61 entries
The judge's comments can be viewed here.
A=Louise, B=David, C=Roy, D=Colin, E= Ray, F=GrahamT, G=Fleur, H=Andy, I=NicolaB, J=JohnW, K=Willie, L=Fiona, M=GraemeH
After two successive winters of Covid lockdowns, members turned out in force for the first January High Tea Meet since 2020.
Twenty members met near Bridgend of Lethnot at 9.30am with a plan to complete a circuit of West Wirren, Hill of Wirren and East Wirren.
It was an overcast morning but the weatherman was confident that there would be no rain. The group set off at 9.50, crossing the West Water
and taking a track northwards which wound through the buildings of the little hamlet, past the school which closed in 2016 and then climbed steadily
up the open hillside. The walkers quickly got spread out, possibly due to varying degrees of over-indulgence during the festive season.
As height was gained, the walkers soon found themselves in very misty conditions and the temperature dropped markedly in a very chilly breeze.
The leading and trailing groups quickly lost sight of each other and the walkers bringing up the rear decided that they would miss out West Wirren
in the hope of catching the others. However, a phone call established that the leading group was doing the same and, due to the lack of visibility
and the exposure to the cold wind they had also decided remain on the track and bypass the summit of Hill of Wirren, the customary refreshment stop
at the summit being a very unappealing consideration given the conditions. The track swung to the east before reaching Hill of Wirren,
passing the trig point on East Wirren before starting to descend. The leading group found a sheltered gully where they stopped for lunch
thus enabling all the walkers to be reunited.
On setting off again, the various groups quickly lost sight of one another again. The general direction of travel was now south, and the route
over Torr na Menach, Craig Narb and Hill of Formal contained numerous tracks, forks and junctions which had many of the walkers scurrying for
their maps and compasses. Miraculously, as the cloudbase was breached on the descent near the Hill of Formal, it was possible to see various
clusters of walkers in various positions on the path. All had managed to choose the correct path. By 2.45 all the walkers were back at the cars.
This left them plenty of time to get spruced up for the evening meal at Sinclair’s Kitchen which was booked for 5pm. Total distance covered on the
walk was slightly shorter than planned at 12 kilometres.
Meanwhile, another group of walkers who fancied a less strenuous walk before dinner met at Murton at 2pm for a walk round the nature reserve. Ten turned up in all. After completing this circuit, nine of them headed to Balgavies Loch and completed a circuit of the loch. They reported much calmer, clearer conditions than those who ventured onto the hills. Afterwards, both groups and some other members and friends met at Sinclair’s Kitchen for a wonderful meal, the first such annual get-together for three years.
28 members and 10 guests attended. A short Open Meeting was followed by an excellent illustrated talk by Willie Mather on his recent trip to Costa Rica. Willie showed photos of a wide variety of the wildlife that he saw on his trip, from whales, crocodiles and turtles to sloths, monkeys and a wide range of birds.
This meet was moved forward by one day because of the weather forecasts for the 2 days. 6 members met at the Goynd farm at 9am and from there walked out to Baikies
and then Buckies in Glen Quiech. After some snacks, they climbed to Naked Tam, then headed south to St. Arnolds Seat, where lunch was taken. From there, they headed
back to Naked Tam then traversed the ridge to Auld Darkney before descending into Craig Mou. Their route headed down to the reservoir and back to the Goynd.
One member walked up from Goynd farm, up by the resevoir and met up with the group on their return journey at the lunch hut below Craig Mou. The weather was pefect for
a winter's day, being just on zero degrees with glorious sunshine, a clear blue sky, and no wind all day. A few red grouse and a red kite were spotted.
18km, 530m ascent, 6 hours.