Reports / Photos
Present: David P, David M, Jim, Pete, Greg, Ilze, Paulina, Si, Miguel, Katrina, Jeannie and Niall, guest appearances from Dan and Diana.
7th - 9th April 2017
The Ling Hut's generator wasn't, er, up to producing electricity, but thankfully we'd all brought lanterns, and with additional light from four candles ("fork handles?") that Greg picked up we had a cosy and well-lit night in on the Saturday, with Dan and Diana joining us for a bevvy. Paulina cooked a delicious Thai green curry, with cake for dessert, too.
Sunday didn't look so good for hiking so we had a lazy morning before cleaning the hut and going our separate ways - all destined for various coffee and walking stops en route home.
View from the road (Niall)
Returned to everyone else sitting in darkness.
Further investigated the electrical issues with Jim and made a diagnosis of the problem.
No phone signal so couldn't get message out for late comers to bring Candles, so collected some water from the burn (where the pipe ends anyway) and got on with it. Some eating and planning by headlight before bed.
Went for a cycle to Applecross via Achnasheen, while others tackled Liatach and Ben Ailigan, very windy in Corrie Na Ba made the bealach climb interesting, oddly calm at the summit before an interestingly angled descent. Just missed Dan and Diana at the pub, then returned for tea.
Greg returned from a 2 Ronnies sketch with 2 brace of candles and we settled down to tea in subdued lighting.
Sunday's forecast was junk so most set off for home with eastern walks planned by some.
Saturday 1 April
Niall and I decided to head over to Lochaber on April 1st to attempt the Port Navigation 200 km Audax. This was an organised bike ride leaving Ballachulish at 7:15am, crossing over the Corran ferry, then through Ardgour to Lochaline. Here we caught the ferry over to Mull and cycled over to Pennyghael in the rain for lunch. The weather improved and with a tail wind we headed back over the hills to Craignure and the ferry to Oban. After another food stop it was back up the coast along the cycle track to Ballachulish. We finally made it home at about 8:30 pm: a 202km ride in 13 hours and 24 minutes, with three ferries and just under 9 hours of actual cycling. About 72 people took part in the event with 64 finishers.
17th - 19th March 2017
Another cracking weekend staying at Inverardran though weather not a patch on 2 years ago. Great to catch up with folk again and meet newer members. A grand celebration of Paddy's day was had on the Friday night with a general soaking on the hill on Saturday. Sunday proved the better day further east where I found lovely views of Glen Lyon from Drummond Hill at Kenmore.
- Report by Greg.
It's March, the days are getting longer, and there are rumours a few people have already been climbing outdoors, so let's get the last of Avertical World's bouldering competitions out the way. In contrast to last month's hard as nails competition this one was actually enjoyable! Several regular and less regular DMC boulderers joined in, and anyone who missed out was at a severe disadvantage when it came to the overall scores, which are the best three of each individual's results from the four competitions over the winter.
Wednesday 8 March 2017
To celebrate international women's day DMC asked some members to talk about women who have inspired them.
DMC members enjoying April snow on Skye
As tall as a mountain herself
As tall as a mountain herself, my best friend Ms iLaria Marengo was my inspiration for getting some altitude under my feet. Although born and raised in Italy she carries around a full map of the Scottish landscape inside her head. Obsessive about exploring on foot, she has walked pretty much every OS square of Scotland north of Stirling and for much of the time she was here I was a willing accomplice – even when the order came to meet at Lochearnhead at the crack of dawn to ensure an early start!
The day would begin with ‘Radio iLa’ for the car journey as she recounted her week, this lasted for the walk in too (we never saw much wildlife) but once we started to climb I found keeping up with such a long-legged, hill-fit companion a real challenge and her stature quickly became a leetle dot in the distance. It certainly helped me build up my stamina as trying to keep up meant I never got a break.
I owe my love of trekking to her too – 10-hour days were
average (our motto: squeeze the day) on the GR20 across Corsica started it,
then the Pyrenean Haute Route combined with the GR11, Slovenia, Montenegro…she’s
tireless despite living on nothing but apples, carrots and mountain air.
Nutella on the Pacific Crest Trail
Ella Raff’s blog telling the tale of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail was an inspiring read last summer. Posts went up us she went along and were humorous and at times quite frank, highlighting the amazing things she did, but not shying away from describing how hard it was at points. It was inspiring partly because it was an adventure through spectacular landscapes: the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, making me wish I could go to these places too. It was inspiring seeing someone succeed in such a tough physical feat – walking almost everyday for 6 months, covering 2,659 miles, including a day where she walked over 50 miles, over challenging terrain. When me and a friend were struggling through quite long days on the South Downs Way, I could always have in mind that it could be a lot harder! Prior to the Pacific Crest Ella hadn’t done much hiking, so it was also inspiring to see how taking on such a challenge helps someone develop their enthusiasm for, and skills in, the outdoors. I was also, I have to say, impressed by (and slightly jealous of) the amount of Nutella she got to eat!
Our very own president Berenice is one if the most inspirational mountain-loving women I know. She is always incredibly enthusiastic about getting out into the mountains and makes sure to include everybody, aiming to inspire a passion for the hills in anyone she meets. She will fearlessly give most activities a go, from a winter ascent of the Cuillins to triathlons, hill running and 24 hours of mountain biking, inevitably with a great big grin on her face. She also helps people to feel confident and ensures everybody is properly looked after, from providing soup to all who turn up for committee meetings to making sure nobody feels left out when they come to the pub for the first time. Keep up the good work pres!
Sunday 19 Feb 2017
Three A's and a B. My last visit to Loch Ordie was in the dark on a mountain bike as training for Relentless24 - highlights being the mud and the aurora. What a contrast this time - despite being mid-winter, the sun was out and it was warm. It's a lovely route for running (and biking!) past wee fishing lochs with a different view round each corner. Berenice had a shorter route and slower pace planned so hung back to let the three A's (Amy, Andrew and Allan) race off. However by the time we'd run round the far side of Loch Ordie Berenice was seen just across the water. She had extended her plan, forgetting that her route involved a stiff climb on the way back. Our route round the far side of Deuchary Hill led us through plenty of bog which cooled our hot feet until finally the climbing was over and we could descend almost all the way back. The final distance was not much short of a half marathon for all of us. A good training run for Amy's Glencoe Marathon ambition and a tad more than the usual amount for the rest of us.
Sunday 12th February 2017
A spell of cold weather was enough to tempt Dave, Ephraim and myself to leave Dundee at 6.30 on Saturday morning to head to Glen Clova for some winter climbing. An easy walk through the forest on crunchy snow seemed promising, and as we entered Corrie Fee Ephraim exclaimed his surprise at how calm it was. It didn't last, we were blasted by the wind and the knee deep snow became waist deep or worse as we headed up to B Gully. Ephraim started climbing, then decided a rope would be sensible. Dave got within site of the top, but the ice started to disintegrate so we decided to head back down. It was an energetic day out in what's best described as typical Scottish conditions.
Present: Dave M, Ephraim, Simon L
25 January 2017
We done him proud! The evening kicked off with Andrew K's rendering of To a Haggis, followed by fantastic efforts by our eloquent orators Pete M. and Mhairi. Jim's take on the Immortal memory as an interactive quiz went down well with Niall and Frantisek getting the top score. There were heartfelt renderings of verse from Louise, Paul and Berenice and a Polish translation of Burns' Bessie and her Spinning Wheel by Paulina. An evening celebrating poetry and imagination could not be complete without our own creations. These came in the form of a humorous limerick by Simon et al, but without doubt, the true highlight of the evening was Alex's own composition, Feel the Burns, inspired by the DMC Burns Supper itself, which he skillfully penned as we celebrated.
Present: Ilze, Simon, Mhiari, Paul, Pete Mann, Jim, Alex, Paulina, Niall, Bill, Frantisek, Louise, Andrew Kesterton, Allan, Berenice, Andrew B
Report by Berenice
20th January - 22nd January 2017
The Saturday was forecast as a cracking day so it was an early start for all of us with four parties heading for different mountains. Justyna, Hal, Sarah and Jim looking to do the four munros down the east side of Glenshee: Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, Carn of Claise and Carn an Turc. Paul, Mhairi, Andrew and Berenice jumped on the bikes and cycled up to Glen Slugain, then on foot up to the Sneck and east to the Tors of Ben Avon. Ed, Janine, Ishbel and Rosina's destination was Morrone (a first climb for the girls) and then the delights of The Bothy. Pete took himself off to bag a distant munro - Carn a'Mhaim. A frosty start meant no hangin' aboot then once out of the glen it was wall to wall sunshine, perfectly crisp snow underfoot, views as far as Sutherland to the north and Kintail to the west - unbeatable! Sunday saw a second group up Morrone and some of us headed out on an exploratory 10k run up Glen Ey to visit the Colonel's Bed followed by the unmissable treats in The Bothy.
Present: Paulina, Hal, Justyna, Jim, Pete, Ed, Janine, Ishbel, Rosina, Andrew, Berenice, Mhairi, Paul, Sarah
Report by Berenice
29th December 2016 - 2nd January 2017Two reports on Hogmany meet from Niall and Justyna. See the photo album
Splitting life two-ways, or in some cases even more, is not easy, as Jim and I discovered when trying to marry our love of the DMC and our loved ones for Hogmanay. Or, as Jim may put it, we are just too popular!
Either way, I ended up getting up at 5.30 am in Aberdeen yet again to travel down and meet Jim for a lift to the West coast. And here we were, having a fry-up and a coffee in the Fort William Morrison’s at around 10.30am. From there we drove up the way to the Glenfinnan viaduct and parked the car there for the night. We were heading up the glen to stay in the very accessible bothy and try to have an early start for some big hills before joining the rest of the gang at the hut. We were both going to leave on Hogmanay and wanted a wee escape and to wish our friends a Happy New Year before we did.
Arriving at the bothy not long after 1pm, the weather was promising but we knew gusts up there were a lot more than we were feeling not much above sea level. We took up residence, cleaned up the floors, chopped some wood and set up for a fire. We then set off to explore the surroundings before it got dark. The surroundings were not hard to find, as the nearest Munros were reachable by a path starting some 200m from the bothy, and numerous Corbetts could be climbed directly from it. Knowing the limited daylight, we opted to explore some smaller nearby peaks, hoping to catch the setting sun and scope out tomorrow’s route.
We reached a set of crossroads and were prepared to turn off and head up, when Jim interrupted my undoubtedly fascinating monologue with a loud “shoosh!!!”. It didn’t take me long to spot the reason – a young stag had emerged some 20m away from us and had just climbed a small mound and stood there, head high, with his front legs higher than the hind, posing for a calendar photo. After a few moments, he cautiously approached us and crossed the path we were on, at times getting closer than 10m away from us. He seemed curious, well fed, though maybe greedy for some treats… We stood there staring at each other for some time, before we slowly walked away in our own direction, and he began following us briefly, before probably realising it wasn’t worth the hassle and turning the other way.
So up we went, up a small but tricky and scrambly rock summit which provided the first little bit of entertainment. The wind was noticeable but we decided to head for a nearby summit, the 749m Sgurr an Fhuarain Duibh. The hill we chose proved tricky, with multiple ascents of long stretches of steep slabs, crags to navigate, steep grassy gullies to go up. And about 30 false summits later, we reached the blustery summit. The view was breathtaking. The red setting sun cast a linear shadow on surrounding peaks, the lightly overcast sky was dancing with colours, faraway lochs shone bright red and orange. If it wasn’t for the fierce wind, we would have stayed much longer. We regretted not setting off sooner and making the nearby Munro, but hey. Tomorrow was another day.
We struggled somewhat on the equally tricky route down and descended in medium darkness. On reaching the hut, Jim took to making a Thai curry and I… to a beer and a book. I helped the cook by chopping up 5 chillies and putting them in the sauce, followed by applying cream to my face with my fingers….followed by dipping my face in the stream for the next 30 minutes. Dinner turned equally hot, and now both the inside and outside of my face were burning. Fabulous. Just as I was regaining sensation, the doors slammed open, and……
“A’rit ma’e!” (que Jim’s flawless imitation of the weegie accent)
And walked in four of the most irritating urban drunkards in all Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
We woke up annoyed and bleary-eyed but having heard the wind and rain on the roof of the bothy we knew we were going nowhere. We decided to walk out (carrying out our “friends’” rubbish) and take a chance with the weather after scoping out the hut.
A cup of tea at the Kinlocheil Outdoor Centre was a good idea, as the second to arrive was Simon and we just managed to entice him to a walk. We found a “low level” option to find Prince Charlie’s cave some 500m from the railway line a few miles out of Glenfinnan. Ascending the rough path, we found magnificent, rough country, rarely trodden, with dramatic rocks and tricky navigation. Reaching a pass in the ridge, we were met with a view of a steep downward slope, guarding a stunning loch, a long glen heading into Glen Dessary and Glen Finnan, and at this point inhabited by a village reachable only by foot or several boat rides. On the opposite side were the wild flanks of Knoydart and miles and miles of true wilderness… Looking down the overhanging rocks and formidable slope, we knew the cave must be somewhere down there. But it was starting to get dark and none of us fancied a tumble down so we turned around and headed back for tea and a whisky.
The whisky was there on arrival, and tea disappointingly late but we all quickly got into the cheer as more people arrived. After dinner a game of Scottish Quest began, and I could see the pain on Berenice’s face as she watched the game played at a pace comparable to the evolution of the dodo, helped by our elderly members who were swapping glasses in an effort to read out the letters on the cards…
Jim responsibly stopped drinking at 10pm as he was driving me back to Perth the following morning, and stepped down from spirits to several bottles of beer therefore predictably I did the driving the following morning. Everyone got there safely in the end and we had a fantastic time, first enjoying some beautiful hills, rarely visited places and then irreplaceable company.
Happy New Year to you all and I hope we make many meets like this in 2017!
A sharp exit from work is always welcome, but on the last working day of the year even more so.
Shooting off up the Blairgowrie road to join the A9 at Calvine for the Drumochter slog I got stopped by a phone call at Bridge of Titlt from some hungry pests demanding to know how long it would be until I got there with the components of tea; it was only half 4...
After tea we played Scottish Quest, where I reveled in playing the banker and Charon, oh and winning too.
We woke to a horrific downpour and while some braved the rain for a run others took to the Mallaig leisure centre while I sat in the hut and read about Peanut roasted guinea pig and a hungry cyclist in South America. Another little creature was sacrificed for that great chieftain of the puddin' race to be our last meal of the year before settling down to a game of trivial pursuit to take us to the bells. That game never finished as the bells turned into a Ceilidh in thew car park!
The first day of the year dawned clear and bright so I took a wander to Corryhully followed by Smirisary and the White Sands at Eillean Coille, returning to the traditional Scottish Ne'er Day meal of Steak pie!
I had originally considered a non-landing cruise of Rúm, Eigg and Muck for the Saturday however Simon had spotted that on the 2nd all 4 Small Isles are visited; so we set off early for Mallaig.
"Non-Landing Cruise, Good Luck with that!"
Rather odd welcome on boar... oh god.
As the master threw the Lochnevis into it's big turn out of Mallaig harbour to head for Canna my thought process was confirmed and the Sound of Sleat was a bit "bumpy" in a decent sized swell. Standing on the bow deck as the bow dived into the oncoming wave sending spray either side of the internal accommodation was rather enjoyable for me at least, At one point I returned inside to warm up to find Simon standing warming himself up while islanders and other non-landers lay horizontal trying to minimize the effect of the motion.
Canna and Rum were visited with little of interest beyond the scenery, Muck however has a tight and tricky approach that can't be done if the swell is too big, and thankfully for the islanders they received their first visit since the 27th of December with their Amazon orders and mail being taken off the delivery van that sails with the boat.
Eigg was the most interesting, the woman in the galley had advised that 80 had disembarked on Hogmanay for the Ceilidth and most likely 80 would be getting back on; the ship was now stowed and I missed my chance of a CalMac burger (too late for a 2nd lunch, too early for tea), there was also an awful lot of people lying down again as we sailed back into the Sound of Sleat with a fair bit of pitch and yaw going on (but no rolling) as we swung into Mallaig harbour.
Then we finished the day off with burgers at the Clachaig and then the blast home.
I might have to do some more mountainy stuff next time I make a club trip!