Forfar & District
Cancelled due to poor weather forecast.
Once again the best-laid schemes of the Meet Secretary went agley because of the weather. Seven members met at a frozen Myre car park, stepping gingerly out
of their cars on to the ice. No-one was relishing the 45-mile drive to Farragon Hill in these conditions, although the benign forecast meant that everyone
was keen on a walk of some description. After a lengthy discussion a plan was devised to make the short trip to Lunanhead and climb Turin Hill.
It was still dark as the walkers set off from Lunanhead around 7.45, following the path to Myreside and then turning up a very icy road to Pitscandly. The track then turned eastwards, contouring under the top of Pitscandly Hill before climbing again to the end of the track at Baldardo, where some highland cattle and ponies came to say hello. By this time the group had reached the snowline and the powder snow made for much easier walking than the hard ice which had gone before. It was only a short climb from there to the trig point and small cairn on either side of the wall which crosses the summit ridge of Turin Hill (252 metres). The wall afforded a little shelter from the moderate but very chilling breeze for a refreshment stop. The views were magnificent on such a cold, clear day. To the immediate south was Rescobie Loch and further round to the east there were extensive views of the flat Angus coastline. In the distance to the west the snow-covered tops of Schiehallion and our intended destination, Farragon Hill, could be distinguished. As it was such a beautiful day, the group decided to extend the walk by descending the north side of the hill towards Aberlemno and then following the Finavon road for a short distance before taking a track westwards which led to the summit ridge of Finavon Hill. Several buzzards could be seen soaring overhead at this point and the bushes were bustling with blue tits, goldfinches and chaffinches. Once down off the ridge, the snow was left behind and it was back onto some tricky, icy farm tracks, down past West Carsebank to the Carseburn road and back to Lunanhead. Although the walk was much easier than the one planned, it was still almost as long, taking almost six hours to complete the 14km at a leisurely pace. Total ascent was 380m.
Meanwhile, one intrepid member had set off from Edinburgh in the direction of Farragon Hill, blissfully unaware that plans had been changed at the last minute. His intention had been to go on a solo expedition, climbing the two Corbetts of Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill in a traverse from west to east, hoping to meet the “official” party on Farragon Hill. The two hills were duly conquered and, having failed to see any sign of the others, our intrepid explorer left two snowmen at the summit of Farragon Hill to greet the other party. Alas, the snowmen are still waiting.
10 members attended. After the short Open Meeting, there was an indoor games night. Despite having lots of games, the group spent the rest of the evening playing UNO, the popular card game.
Some of the worst flooding on record in Angus and Perthshire put paid to this weekend for ten would-be walkers, some of whom were
literally flooded in at home and others who felt that road conditions would be too risky. In the end, six members convened at
the Glencoe Ski Club hut on Friday evening, with conditions proving to be better in the west.
Saturday dawned with very wet conditions underfoot but the forecast suggested that the rain would hold off for most of the day. One member had left on foot before first light and before any signs of life from the others. His plan was to walk over Beinn an Dotaidh and on to Ben Mhanaich. On his return the lack of a car meant an additional 2km walk but enabled a refreshment stop at the hotel. Two others followed later in a similar direction, climbing Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaid, while another member travelled to the north side of Loch Leven, climbing Mam na Gualainn and Tom Meadhoin, a Corbett and a Graham respectively. The final two attendees made the short car trip to Glen Orchy, completing a horseshoe route which took in the Corbetts of Beinn Udlaidh and Beinn Bhreac-liath. All walkers were happy to report dry weather, with some even enjoying spells of sunshine. A cosy night in by the fire with some beer and a pack of cards was then the order of the day.
The forecast for Sunday was not very favourable so most of the attendees were resigned to an early return home. The onset of heavy rain in the morning did nothing to encourage a change of mind, with the exception of one keen member who returned to Loch Leven to take in another Corbett, namely Glas Bheinn to the east of Kinlochleven. Another two walkers stayed in the area for a low level walk, while the others returned home. Those who stayed were rewarded with a change in the weather before too long, giving a very pleasant end to the weekend. Although the number attending was severely reduced, they made the most of the weekend, climbing three Munros, four Corbetts and a Graham between them.
12 members attended (10 members and 2 guests). Eight members and guests convened at the Myre car park at 7am on a very foggy morning.
A further 4 were to join the group, one being picked up en route and 3 making their way direct to the Braes of Foss car park.
Arriving at Braes of Foss around 8.45, most of the walkers and equipment were decanted at the car park with the three drivers then making their way
to a small parking area 6km further west, leaving two cars there before returning to rejoin the others in the remaining car. This remarkable
logistical feat thus enabled a through walk, following the traditional route up the east ridge of the mountain and descending west on the less-visited side.
Meanwhile, the remaining 3 walkers arrived at Braes of Foss and all 12 set off together at 9.15.
Rapid progress was made on the well-constructed path. Visibility was still very poor although it was dry and very mild. Further up, the mist became rather damp and a cold wind set in, but a sheltered spot was found where the walkers all stopped just before 11am and gathered together to observe two minutes silence on this Remembrance Sun. The steepness of the slope relented somewhat after this and the good path was replaced by the famous boulder field, which was quite slippery as a result of the moist air. The summit (1,083m) was reached about mid-day and the walkers were spread out among the rocks in various sheltered spots for a lunch break. The sun made a few bold attempts to break through the gloom at the summit but in the end gave it up as a bad job. A bit disappointing as the views from this hill are magnificent given its isolated position. The 3 members who had gone direct to Braes of Foss descended by the same route while the other 9 went down the west ridge. The latter group had a tricky descent through a steep boulder field which was prolonged unnecessarily by drifting too far north in the poor visibility. On the lower slopes the cloud lifted ever so briefly to give one tantalising glimpse of Loch Rannoch before closing in again. An area of felled trees then had to be negotiated before a forest track led the walkers back to where they had left the cars, reaching them just after 3.30pm. Total distance covered was 9.5km with the group of three who returned by the ascent route covering about half a kilometre more. Total ascent was about 750m.
28 attended including 6 guests. During the open meeting, it was stated that the Kailzie weekend is March has been changed to Invergarry, for the following weekend, due to costs. After the Open Meeting, Graeme Harris gave an excellent presentation on his TGO Challenge, undertaken in May. His trip started in Torridon and ended in Peterhead. Despite horrendous weather for the first 3 days, Graham completed the route in 12 days.
19 attended (17 members, 1 guest and 1 Carn Dearg member). The return of our annual Hallowe'en Party - the first to be held since 2019.
The event was held at the Carn Dearg club hut at the top of Glen Clova. First on the agenda was the Boules Championship, last held in October 2019.
All matches were played as the best of 5 ends, nearest the jack. The traditional pitch is beginning to get overgrown!
12 members took part in 6 pairs in 2 pools.
The final was contested by Steve & Neil against Morag & Graeme, with the former winning by a score of 3-2 in the final.
The group moved indoors to be handed a cup of warming soup. Next up was the banquet :- 2 main courses, and 3 desserts. Very yummy!
The fancy dress competition was judged by a recent new member, Chris, who chose the two nuns (Graham B & Claire R) as the winners. Steve then ran a left/right quiz over 3 rounds of varied questions - won by Ray & Linda. Next up was the Neep competition - only 4 entries. Non-member, Campbell, chose Ray's entry as the winner. It had the club logo as the cut-out face! Cheese, biscuits and Ray's gooseberry chutney followed, then the rest of the evening involved much chat.
4 stayed overnight (3 plus CD member), and they were joined by 2 other members who travelled back up the glen in the morning. After cleaning the hut, 2 members headed for the ranger station and were last seen being given a lift along the track to Corrie Fee! 3 members walked to Davie's Bourach, then back down again as the weather worsened.
A successful social weekend.
The scheduled walk to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin looked nigh-on impossible once the detailed weather forecast for Sun became available.
A quick scan of the forecasts showed that Aberdeenshire was getting off relatively lightly as far as the gale-force winds were concerned and
the rain was not expected until later in the day.
A shorter low-level walk was hastily arranged in the woods above Balmoral Castle, taking in a number of the cairns erected during Queen Victoria’s reign. Quite a few members welcomed this change and so 8 members set off from Edzell at the slightly later than normal time of 8.30.
The group set off from Crathie car park at 10am, crossing the road bridge to the castle gates and continuing along the road to the distillery turn-off and then heading up the track past some estate cottages before turning off into the forest.
The first port of call was Princess Helena’s Cairn, which was possibly the hardest to find as it sits high up amongst the trees a considerable distance from the main path. After a brief stop the walkers moved on and soon reached Princess Louise’s Cairn. This cairn was of an identical structure to the first and as it sits in a similar setting, some members tried to convince others that we had walked in a circle. The inscription stone put paid to this theory, however. The third cairn is slightly different and commemorates the purchase of the estate by Prince Albert in 1852. This cairn sits on the easterly edge of the forest and enjoys open views down the Dee valley. Moving on to Prince Leopold’s Cairn, the group had a chance to take in the view of Balmoral Castle below, with the Cairngorms in the background. It was time for lunch and a sheltered spot was found in the trees a few metres away.
After lunch the trail continued, past Prince Arthur’s Cairn before a gap in the forest revealed a remarkable view of Lochnagar. Moving on to Princess Alice’s Cairn, the path then descended and wound its way through the woodland before another climb to the large pyramid constructed in memory of Prince Albert. This pyramid sits in a commanding position and the walkers spent some time here marvelling at the views and the sheer size of the construction. The path down took the group past the final cairn, that of Princess Beatrice, before rejoining the outward path. Rather than walk back along the road, a footbridge across the River Dee was taken and a path led the walkers back to the car park.
A very leisurely pace meant that the walkers got back to the cars at 3pm just before the first spots of rain. Total distance covered was 10 kilometres with almost 400 metres of ascent.
22 members attended. A short Open Meeting was followed by an excellent illustrated talk by Andy Hayes entitled “The Scottish Wildcat in the Angus Glens”. Andy showed two extra films showing his great photographic talents of local wildlife.
15 attended (14 members and a guest). Most of the group travelled from Forfar leaving at 7am and meeting at Rannoch Station before 11am while leaving 2 cars at the end of the
Road to the Isles track in order to transport drivers back to Rannoch Station after coming off the hills. The group caught the train around 11.15am and arrived at Corrour halt arround 15 minutes later.
From Corrour, one walker decided to circumnavigate Loch Ossian then catch an early evening train back to Rannoch Station. The other 14 headed off to find the path up past Peters Rock to the summit
of Carn Dearg (941m).
From the summit 3 members then decided to go due south and head down to where the cars were parked for the return to Rannoch Station. The other 11 walkers headed east dropping then climbing
Sgor Gaibhre (955m). Lunch was had here and then the group split at the Bealach Leathann. A group of 4 headed down to the path in the corrie and the other 7 climbed up over
Meall na Meoig (868m) and Beinn Pharlagain (807m) before heading down to the Road to the Isles track, and the cars. All groups arrived at the cars safely and drivers
were transported back to Rannoch Station.
Everyone had a great day and arrived home safely, some visiting various fish and chip restaurants on the way home.
12 members attended this meeting in Forfar Fire Station. This the the first face-to-face meeting since the AGM back in March 2020. The president chaired her first non-online meeting. The short Open Meeting was followed by a quiz organised by Carolyn and Ray. The team of Fleur, Linda and Neil were the winners.
Sixteen members and guests arrived at Craignure at various times during the afternoon, disembarking from the ferry just a few hundred metres from the hostel. A further two arrived on Sat, taking the total number of attendees to eighteen for the weekend. Most made the journey direct to Oban for the ferry, but one came via the Lochaline ferry, another climbed Beinn Buidhe in Glen Fyne beforehand and a third climbed Ben Sgulaird before a last-minute rush to catch the 17.05 ferry. Another member and guest had also climbed Ben More by the time the others were settling into their accommodation.
The forecast was not promising, with heavy rain predicted for most of the day but with a possible weather window in the middle of the day.
Two members set off for Ben More regardless, with a further six ready with their boots on to climb Dun da Gaoith from the hostel, watching the heavy rain from the window as they waited for the promised weather window. This duly arrived and they set off half an hour later.
Five members took the low-level option given the weather and drove to the Ross of Mull where they enjoyed two short walks.
The member and guest arriving on Sat morning wasted no time in meeting up with another two members and heading straight for Ben More. Another young guest attendee decided that the best option in the weather was to stay in the hostel, thereby invalidating the theory that wisdom comes with age.
The weather did improve as the day went on, however most groups experienced further outbursts of rain later in the afternoon, and the drying room was bursting at the seams that evening.
Heavy overnight rain continued into the morning once again, with the added hazard of strong winds on the hills. For the third day in succession, the club had members on Ben More, this time four in number.
Two members set off for Dun da Gaoith but turned back in poor conditions and set off for Tobermory instead, meeting up with another group who had gone for a walk along the coast to the lighthouse.
Three members went bird-watching at Calgary Bay, spotting a golden eagle and also returned with some amazing photos of otters.
Much to everyone’s delight, particularly those on Ben More, the weather turned dramatically in the afternoon, with warm sunshine and magnificent views. The foursome on Ben More were able to identify the island of Staffa and the Paps of Jura to the west and south respectively.
For most participants, it was a case of heading for home, with a few exceptions.
Three members were planning a trip to the Mamores while another two were staying on Mull to take in a whale-watching boat trip.
The two walkers who had abandoned Dun da Gaoith the day before determinedly set off for a second attempt accompanied by a third member.
Two members travelled a few miles down the coast to kill time until the arrival of the ferry, stopped when they saw a minibus-load of people looking intently through their binoculars and were rewarded with the site of three sea eagles perched on a fence.
The accommodation was very comfortable and well-equipped, and the warden was very helpful and friendly, particularly on the morning of departure. All attendees agreed that it was a most enjoyable weekend despite the very variable weather.
Nine members enjoyed a leisurely circular walk around Birnam Hill. Eight members met at the Myre car park at 9am, with a ninth joining them at the
rendezvous point at Inver car park, just to the west of Dunkeld. They set off at 10.30 with a light rain shower sending them on their way.
The first part of the walk was on forest tracks, which were alive with tiny frogs, first south and then west, emerging on to open moorland.
Here they encountered two young girls on a quad bike who were trying to reunite a cow with its calf which had gone missing. Happily, this they
managed to do and they sped off up the hillside, doubtless unaware that a second meeting with the hillwalkers was to occur.
The walkers’ route turned south-east on a gradually rising track which was heading in the direction of a pass between the Obney Hills and Birnam Hill. About half a kilometre further on the walkers looked round to see a herd of cattle being driven up the track behind them by the two girls. After standing aside to let them through a gate, the group followed them along the hillside until the track faded away.
The most challenging part of the walk then ensued, with the terrain becoming heather-clad and then dense shoulder-high bracken, prompting comments that it was turning into a “Colin walk”, this being a reference to the previous Meet Secretary’s penchant for venturing into such undergrowth.br/> After much hacking and trampling the group emerged on to a path which led to the summit of King’s Seat where a lengthy lunch break was enjoyed in the company of two Swiss students who were exploring Scotland on mountain bikes. By this time the weather was clear and sunny, giving good views of Strathtay and Strathearn with the Lomond Hills beyond.
The path continued over Birnam Hill before a steep descent through the woods led back down to the Inchewan Burn which was followed for some distance before rejoining the outward path for the final part of the walk back to the car park. The total time taken was a longer than expected five and a half hours, due to the bracken-bashing and the lengthy lunch stop. Total distance covered was about 12 kilometres.
8 members met at the car park in Glen Feshie, just before the end of the road at Achlean. A lot of improvement work seems to have been done on the car park and surrounding paths, providing access for the ever-increasing numbers going to the hills. The group was ready and raring to go at 9.40, following the path from the end of the road up through the Scots Pines and on to the open hillside. The route was very easy to follow, with a well-constructed path climbing steadily but not too steeply on to the plateau. The increasing strength of the breeze as they gained height was compensated for by the gradual thinning of the cloud until they were walking in almost constant sunshine. At the flat top of Carn Ban Mor, the walkers paused to get their bearings and identify the possible second target of the day, Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair. It looked a considerable distance away and it became clear that there was little appetite among any of the walkers to extend the day to incorporate this Munro. From this point, the group turned north, eventually following the edge of the precipitous drop into Loch Eanich before the final modest climb to the summit of Sgor Gaoith (1,118m). A lunch stop was needed by then but first a sheltered spot had to be found from the strong westerly wind. The only shelter was over the edge of the almost vertical drop to Loch Eanich and so the walkers picked their way down to the few flat areas where it was possible to sit, enjoying a most scenic but vertigo-inducing lunch stop 2000 feet above the loch. The long curving ridge of Braeriach lay directly opposite and further to the left the Lairig ghru and Chalamain Gap could easily be distinguished, with the track of the funicular railway leading the eye up to the summit of Cairn Gorm. It was with some reluctance that the walkers left their vantage point, continuing northwards to the top of Sgoran Dubh Mor, another great viewpoint for taking in the vastness of the Cairngorm plateau. A pair of large soaring birds gave some brief excitement until our bird-watching expert with the binoculars confirmed that they were merely ravens. From here, the walkers decided to retrace their steps rather than follow the planned route as they did not fancy a forest walk followed by a road walk at the end of the day. By 4pm they were all back at the car park, six and a quarter hours after leaving. Total distance of the walk was 18km with 890m of ascent.
7 members congregated at the Forfar Loch car park at 7pm for a walk round part of the Forfar path Network. They set off at 7pm up the south side of the loch and then turned left through Orchardbank, crossing the Glamis Road and taking a less commonly-used path between the fields towards Halkerton. This eventually led up to the Dundee Road where a path up on to Balmashanner Hill was taken. The trees along this part of the route provided some welcome shelter from the now constant drizzle. From the top of Balmashanner the path down to the Reid Park was taken and from there it was a short walk through the town back to the starting point. The walk took a good 2 hours and darkness was just coming down as the group reached the car park.
6 members attended. Four short weeks ago the club members were wearing woolly hats and gloves. This meet took place under extensive blue skies and an unforgiving sun with sun cream
and shorts being the order of the day. With such a good spell of weather, it was perhaps a bit surprising that only six members turned up for this meet, although this could
be due to the start of the summer holiday period.
The main focus of the day was Stuc an Lochan, a Munro 960 metres in height with an interesting high altitude walk round the deep corrie of Lochan nan Cat. This was to be followed by a continuation westwards to Meallan Odhar (815 metres) and Sron a’ Choire Chnapanaich (837 metres). Alternatively, a direct return to the car park from the summit of the Stuc followed by an ascent of Meall Buidhe (932 metres) was suggested for any keen Munro-baggers.
The three cars met up at the end of the road in the shadow of the Giorra dam which holds back the waters of Loch an Daimh. It was 9am and already the grass verges were filling up with around twenty carloads of walkers enjoying a pleasant early morning warmth. All six set off together at 9.20, following the road to the other side of the dam and continuing round the loch for a few hundred metres before a path strikes steeply up the hillside. The first three quarters of an hour proved to be hard work but with height being gained quickly views of the surrounding hills soon opened up. A quick breather on reaching the shoulder of the mountain was followed by a most pleasant walk round the lochan-filled corrie. In views to the north, Ben Nevis could be picked out quite clearly. The summit was reached just after 11am and a leisurely if early lunch break was enjoyed in the sunshine. The next potential top of Meall Buidhe was identified across Loch an Daimh, and to the west, Sron a Choire Chnapanich was beckoning. Looking just a bit further to the west, Buchaille Etive Mor looked surprisingly close on the other side of Rannoch Moor. Round to the north, the Mamores, Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries stood out.>br/> It was then time to decide on the direction of descent. Two members were keen to climb Meall Buidhe and so retraced their steps while the four others opted for pastures new to the west. Pastures was the operative word as a herd of cattle was grazing just below the summit on the western side. Slightly further down, an even larger herd of deer had the same idea. The four walkers made short work of the descent to Meall an Odhar and paused to survey the route to the Sron. A dog-leg route to a rather peat-hag-ridden bealach and a steady climb up to the Corbett seemed like the best route and would have been fairly straightforward for this group. However, the realisation that everything they had done up to that point would have to be repeated in reverse gradually dawned on them and, somewhat reluctantly, they retraced their steps to Stuc an Lochan and descended back down towards the dam.
Meanwhile, the other group of two were well on the way back down and were doubtless thinking about ticking off their next Munro, Meall Buidhe, or so the first group thought. However, on reaching the car park after their descent of Stuc an Lochan, they too had decided to call it a day and leave Meall Buidhe for another time, so all six met up again for a chat before heading for home.
The total distance covered was 9km for the Stuc alone with 650m of ascent and an additional 2km and 170m of ascent for the would-be Corbett-baggers. The total time was 5 hours including lunchtime and sunbathing time at the top.
Eight members enjoyed a trip to Gairloch for the June weekend, staying at the Gairloch Sands Youth Hostel. With many of them looking forward to a weekend
on the numerous picturesque high tops in the area, they were once again hampered by a weekend of very high winds as was the case on the club’s last visit in 2018.
Two members stopped of en route at Achnasheen to climb Fionn Bheinn, a Munro which has been popular as a stopping-off point over the years with many members of the club on the way to or from a weekend. They successfully reached the top, having to battle against the strong wind on the last section although the cloud stayed high enough to reward them with some scenic views for their efforts.
The others all had a windy walk on the beach on arrival just to acclimatise to the conditions which seem to be the norm for a FDHWC weekend here. No reports of any swimming or even paddling.
With the forecast not giving any hope of the wind subsiding, only two members ventured to the hills with the rest opting for low-level walks. The two would-be hillwalkers headed for Baosbheinn, a Corbett of some 875 metres. They enjoyed a pleasant walk in along Loch na h-Oidhche, but once on the south-east ridge they were defeated by very strong winds. The onset of rain made for a testing river crossing on the way back.
Four members drove round the coast to Ruba Reidh lighthouse and walked round the headland to Camas Mor. Returning to the car, they proceeded north to Gruinard Bay and had a walk on the beach at Mellon Udrigle. Walk number three for this group came at Poolewe where they had a walk to Loch Kernsary. The remaining two had a walk to Slaggan Bay before visiting the museum in Gairloch.
The same three groups ventured out on Sun, with two of them determined to get to a summit and the remaining group of four settling for another low-level walk.
The low level walk followed a path from the end of the road at Redpoint to an old fishing station where they saw great skuas and black-throated divers.
The same two walkers who had attempted Baosbheinn on Sat had their eyes on another Corbett just a bit further along Loch Maree, namely Meall a' Ghiuthais, but with the wind still fairly strong, they settled for a nearby circular walk to a high viewpoint on the Coille na Glas Leitre trail.
The final two members attempted to climb Ben Wyvis on the way home but were once again forced back by the wind just before the final section below the plateau.
Favourable reports of the hostel were received, in terms of the facilities, the staff and the wonderful setting. However, this is the second time running that a weekend of summit-bagging here has been thwarted by strong winds. As with our last visit, only one peak was successfully climbed , namely Fionn Bheinn this time. (One member somehow fought his way to the summit of Slioch in similar conditions in 2018). Lesser mortals may be tempted to give up on the area, but with the excellent facilities and numerous scenic hills, the phrase on everyone’s lips is - “I’ll be back!”
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 Mon 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 Sat. 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 Sat 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 Sat 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.
Sun, 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 online. 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 Sat.
• 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.