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Hogmany meet 2018

posted 10 Jan 2018, 14:03 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 10 Jan 2018, 14:03 ]

1st January 2018 

"Do you know I can scarcely look over this little cliff without getting giddy ?"

The "little cliff," upon whose edge he had so carelessly thrown himself down to rest that the weightier portion of his body hung over it, while he was only kept from falling by the tenure of his elbow on its extreme and slippery edge -- this "little cliff" arose, a sheer unobstructed precipice of black shining rock, some fifteen or sixteen hundred feet from the world of crags beneath us. Nothing would have tempted me to within half a dozen yards of its brink. In truth so deeply was I excited by the perilous position of my companion, that I fell at full length upon the ground, clung to the shrubs around me, and dared not even glance upward at the sky" - Edgar Allen Poe

The above passage from "A descent Into The Maelstrom" was brought to mind during a Ne'er's day hike by myself and Simon to the Falls of Glomach.

On reaching the top of the falls I didn't dare look as Simon, much keener on his feet than I, stood on the edge of the precipice taking photographs.

Impressive falls, would be good to see them from lower down.

Report by Niall

Editors note:  Various other activities occurred on the meet but I wasn't there and no more reports were sent in.  More photos can be seen here

Ice Climbing in Glen Clova

posted 19 Dec 2017, 14:33 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 19 Dec 2017, 14:34 ]

16th December 2017 

After a couple of weeks of chilly weather I'd heard rumours ice routes were forming in Corrie Fee. So a few of us headed up for a return match with B Gully. Conditions were pretty good for this time of year and we made easy work soloing up the gully. We got to the main ice pitch in one piece and here got the ropes out and split into two teams. I got the first lead, possibly the steepest bit of ice I've led, certainly pretty steep for a II. Ben had thought about soloing it but when I brought him up he admitted the rope was a good idea. We hung around at the belay just long enough to see Andrew up. It was a bit parky for hanging around so Ben and I strolled off to visit Mayar's summit and reunited with the others at the top of the Kilbo Path. Made it to the forest by dark and then gingerly had to pick our way down the icey paths by headtorch. Great day out and here's hoping the coming thaw isn't too devastating.

Report by Dave Matthews
Who was joined by Andrew Kesterton, Simon Li, Ben Hughes

Christmas Meet 2017 - Bridge of Orchy

posted 15 Dec 2017, 10:05 by Dominic Williams

8th - 10th December 

The year for Christmas we once ahead headed to Bridge of Orchy.  34 of us packed into the Glencoe Ski hut for a weekend of fun.  Saturday saw at least 9 different parties head to the hills so this report will be made up of accounts from four different people.


Greg's story

The Glencoe Ski Club again proved to be a fine venue for this year's Christmas meet though some members had some difficulty achieving the optimum route in! Simon O and I had a pleasant warm up on Newtyle Hill by Dunkeld before the drive west via Loch Tay. Most folk were up bright and breezy on the Saturday to do climbing, snow wading, cycling, first munroing and the like. I took in a Corbett down Glen Falloch and enjoyed a dramatic dawn over Ben Lomond and the company of Glasgow lasses on the hill.The Xmas meal was a great success again, running somewhat late owing to the tardiness of the Top Gun team. Songs was were sung and whisky taken. We enjoyed a word search, quiz and even a visit from Santa before the pass the parcel game saw a steady drift of folk heading for the hay. On Sunday we awoke to a bright winter wonderland and blue skies with some taking to the hills again. Same again next year please, Santa!

Lomondside Dawn from Glen Falloch


Buachaille Etive Mor by Dave

After partying not too late and not too hard on Saturday night, Andrew and I dragged ourselves from our beds at half past six in the morning to head back out onto the hills. Rising even earlier, Ewan had driven over from Perth with a domestic day-pass to allow him out for some fun. Waving goodbye to a few early risers we drove towards Rannoch Moor. As we sped across the moor in the pre-dawn light, the temperature gauge dipped below -11 degrees; a peach of a winter's day was in prospect.

Our target for the day was the classic Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. Between us we'd done it numerous times in summer but none of us had ventured on to it in snow and ice.

The walk in is easy enough and we soon got to the steepening at the start of the ridge. At a small exposed (death-fall potential) traverse I suggested getting the ropes out and no-one disagreed. Once we had them on we used them for most of the rest of the ridge, moving together at times and pitching a fair bit. We left Ewan at the sharp end purely to avoid the faff of swapping ropes around. Conditions were a bit tricky with unconsolidated snow but a lot of the time it was easier to climb with hands rather than axes, one tool might well have been enough. Ewan quickly dispatched the crux corner and we eventually reached the top of the climbing. Traversing over to Crowberry gap, we didn't bother with the tower and headed straight for the summit in time for sunset.

We made good time down and got below the steep part of the corrie before needing our headtorches. Back at the car park we were all set for chips and Andrew motored off to wait for us in Tyndrum. Alas Ewan's car just couldn't make it out of the car park. It took us an hour and a half and a borrowed set of snow chains to free ourselves!! Even this inconvenience couldn't spoil a top day on the hill.


Daniela's weekend

On Saturday Daniela was Billy no mates, so she ended up doing Sron nan Lairig (Scottish Winter grade II) on her own. Route in the picture

On Sunday, Daniela and Niall found themselves benighted on the icy MTB route over the mountain from Kinlochleven to Glencoe. Was fun (mostly afterwards…).

It was lovely to see some of you and catch up, many thanks from me for an awesome meet.


Emel Ridge with Simon

Conditions looked promising for an easy winter climb so Dave, Andrew and myself wandered up Beinn an Dòthaidh, conveniently located next to the hut. After consulting a photo with an imaginary topo we started up Emel Ridge (grade II), carefully picking out bits of ice to climb where it looked solid enough. We got the rope out on an exposed bit, then had a quick lesson on carrying coils and moving together up to the summit where Pete and Jim appeared, along with a biting wind.

Lagangarbh Meet - Glencoe

posted 6 Dec 2017, 10:15 by Dominic Williams

17th-19th November 

As winter began to make itself known, we headed to Glen Coe for a weekend among the first dusting of snow. Our accommodation for the weekend was the Laggangarbh hut - an ideal base, right at the foot of the Buachaille, and with a roaring fire to warm us back up after our hikes.

On the Saturday the whole party (except lone ranger, Greg, who headed up the Aonach Eagach) went to find "the forgotten Munro of Glen Coe", Sgor na h-Ulaidh. After debate on how best to ascend the ridge, we split into three groups, and managed to meet up again on top before everyone that wanted to headed on to bag the Munro. Berenice, Andrew H, Paul, Phelim, Joe and Sergey managed to bag the nearby Corbett Meall Lighiche, too.

Ilze had volunteered to cook the group meal on Saturday night, which also happened to be the Latvian Independence Day! She treated us to utterly delicious platefuls of chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce, with new potatoes and salad. Candles were lit, and we all learned how to say "Cheers!" in Latvian, before tucking into watermelon, pineapple, and two kinds of dessert. Full and sleepy, we retired to the fireside for a few sing-songs and the odd dram or two before bed.

Sunday saw the group part ways. Berenice ran over the Devil's Staircase to Kinlochleven, to meet Ilze, Bruce C and Andy M. Sergey hiked up the Buachaille by the corrie path, and Phelim, Paul, Andrew H, Joe and Katrina took on the Curved Ridge - ice made this route quite tricky in places, but crampons, ice axes, and the occasional roping-up got them to the summit of Stob Dearg in fine time.

Our Christmas Meet is just down the road in Bridge of Orchy, so here's hoping the snow has stayed for some more winter mountaineering!

Report by Katrina


Curved Ridge

Climbed with 4 others in marginal winter conditions under sunshine and good weather.
water slide rock
'Slight' thaw underway with ice falling from Rannock wall and streams flowing well...!
Crampons required, two axes would have been better than one.
First roped pitch, wished we had a 50m rope rarther than the 30m, managed to traverse into gully on RHS.. minimal gear options, with minimal gear! 
Final crux pitch was a sketchy dry tool lead.  Too cold to get fingers into the cracks.
Happy to summit and brief chat with weegie bloke who had no crampons but had made it up the main path nonetheless.
Descent from col dicey with lots of ice, no snow in gully yet.
My 4 or 5th ascent, first in winter conditions, prior climbs have been without gear... or fear!
Very happy to be back the hut and welcomed by Bruce with a cup of Tea.
Enjoyable outing all in all with everyone managing the climb in crampons. 
Joe's aluminium crampons took a brutal pasting but just about held up to the beating.


Also on the meet Berenice, Bruce, Andrew H, Andy M, Ilze, Greg, Phelim, Joe, Sergey

More photos of the meet viewable here

Elphin Meet

posted 20 Oct 2017, 11:02 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 28 Oct 2017, 09:53 by Simon Li ]

13-15 October 2017 

October meet saw 18 of us head up to the caving hut in Elphin.  On Saturday 6 different groups headed out, 4 heading to the hills, one under the hills and one climbing some sea cliffs.  Sunday saw fewer different groups but did manage to add kayaking to list of different activities seen on the meet.

View from Paul

Walked up Canisp, blowy on top, lunch.
Bone caves walk, met cavers, posed for DMC sculpture.
Back for dinner, fire on, cosy
Charades, laughs and wine, fully belly
Earplugs, snoring sleepless
Caving in 'Anus', worm route, tight squeeze
Undergound rivers, steamy photos, wet feet
Change, lunch, clean hut and home.
Sleep - shortly (perhaps)

View from Bruce S

My first DMC meet..drove up with Greg,Simon & Janet..
Saturday Suzanne, Simon & I headed over to Reiff for a wee spot of cragging..waves were amazing coming over the cliffs frequently as we approached!!
I led up the pinnacle (Moonjelly) which was very, very wet and extremely up by a circuitous variation..
Simon and Suzanne followed NTAB...
Simon led another route on pinnacle then we escaped the very high waves by a nice Severe route out the main cliff..
Over to Orange Wall which was fairly sheltered and we did 3 or 4 more routes up to Hard Severe before rain stopped play..
Sunday I came down road with Andy and had a nice walk around Loch morlich...

View from Andrew H Conival & Ben More Assynt on Saturday:

Katrina and newcomer Andrew H came with Conival and Ben More Assynt in their sights and undeterred by the forecast of strong wind and showers headed out from Inchnadamph at 9am on Saturday. On the walk in up Gleann Dubh the cloud lifted from the summits and the pair summited Conival to fine views and increasing winds. During the rocky traverse to Ben More Assynt the weather delivered the promised rain and wind, the latter necessitating a crab like walking style to negotiate. Having been buffeted about they decided against traversing the ridge to the south top and returned via the ridge to Conival. A grand day out.

View from underground

It was only fitting that a weekend staying in a caving hut in Scotland's best caving area would involve some caving. A great turnout of keen and enthusiastic, if a little apprehensive, mountaineers wanting to explore the underworld allowed trips in Rana Hole on Saturday and ANUSCave on Sunday. A leisurely pace allowed time to explore everything from nooks and crannies to gargantuan caverns, seeing all the unique features such as blow-dried mud formations, stalactites and calcite. Underground rivers, chambers, ladder climbs, traverses, worm-ways, in fact a taste of everything that caving has to offer. We were even lucky enough to get part 2 of the geology talk from Amy with a hands-on session in the dry stream bed. It's safe to say that everyone enjoyed it, conquering fears known and unknown, performing acrobatics they didn't know were possible, and returning with wet wellies and muddy faces. The best bit - there's no wind and rain underground :-)

Andrew B

View from Elsa

While traveling with Pete M and Paulina to Elphin, we stopped at Ullapool “Arch Inn” for lovely Friday dinner, recommended. Not a bad start for hillwalking weekend away ;)

Saturday`s journey took us (Pete M, Paulina, Andy M and myself) up to the Quinag. Beautiful but extremely windy and popular walk that day had to hold tight to our walking sticks to stay grounded and not to “fly” away!   A place to return back as only managed to explore one summit. To make up for it we treated ourselves at Lochinver Larder with the most pricey lunch pie seen. Warmed up we headed to explore Elphin beaches, very beautiful place. Noticed two girls swimming in freezing cold water, seeing that after cosy pie shop got us some chills, thumbs up for girls courage though.

Little I knew that on Sunday 15th of October I would discover “cave explorer” spirit within me... It was 8 of us, after an hour long walk of anticipation, heading down to the cave. For many us it was the first time caving.

It`s another world down there – exciting, challenging, unknown... I felt like being in the middle of the Earth, powerful underground waterfalls were my personal treasure. Although we ended up being soaking wet and muddy, it was all worth the journey. And our caving costumes were hilarious, remind me of “Ghost busters” (see photos attached). Many thanks to Andrew B - for guiding us, Simon Li - helping navigate tricky climbing parts, Amy - having a talk about stones in their natural habitat and Bruce C for saving us from wind & rain.

At the hut we had delicious dinner with plenty of cake & custard, custard which also became Sunday breakfast for some. The hut had in store cool caving calendars, educational information, photos, and maps about caves. Outside in the darkness listening to stags roaring loudly so close by was another experience to tick. Haven't met any Elfs during Elphin meet though … there is always another time to return, perhaps they were just hiding ☺

The rest of people's photos from the meet can be viewed here

Ben Lomond Litter Pick, October 2017

posted 10 Oct 2017, 02:29 by Simon Li   [ updated 10 Oct 2017, 12:49 by Dominic Williams ]

Saturday 8 October 2017 

Thank you Mhairi for co-ordinating this event. Great effort! Well done to all who took part - Katrina dragged herself away from her own birthday party to participate and wonderful to meet people from far and wide: Tommy, Rachel and Sadie. I think we succeeded in taking around 8 kilos off the hill - plus another 8 on the lower levels. The fact that the Weegies are clearly a very tidy bunch means we had a pretty easy job! Good thing considering the grim weather conditions at the top. But it was an exhilarating experience to be up there and wonderful to see the sun emerge and reflect on Loch Lomond on the downhill stretch. Exciting too to see the Mountain Rescue teams in action - heroes.

- Berenice

Carrbridge Meet

posted 25 Sep 2017, 14:46 by Simon Li   [ updated 26 Sep 2017, 14:00 by Allan McCulloch ]

22 - 24 September 2017 
Lairig Ghru walk report 

As the Carrbridge meet neared, participants seemed to be dropping out like flies, for some reason! Luckily, some others took the spare spaces and in the end the meet had several parties carrying out their own objectives, with Greg arriving in the middle of the night having bagged on the way up already (!) and Allan and Richard off to places after the meet too.

Myself, sadly, was working on Friday evening and Sunday, so Andy’s idea of doing a 10 hour walk starting at 7am, where I would have to drive to Cairngorm from Aberdeen that morning, was a rather unappealing notion. So off I went, of course, having wangled an early finish the night before from the unimpressed Consultant (apparently doing unjustified and frankly ridiculous physical activity is a valid reason to leave work early in Anaesthetics…). I negotiated with Andy and Jim to meet at 7.30, and arrived bang on time, with the boys already eagerly waiting since 7.15, just in case….

We set off with the vision of scrambling up the Angel’s Ridge, as the name suggests, the shoulder ridge leading to Angel’s Peak, of the infamous Devil’s Point to Braeriach traverse. We walked in via the Chalamain Gap and then took the low path via Lairig Ghru due to relentless buffeting wind, in the morning around 40mph on lower ground. Despite sunshine in Aviemore, the Lairig Ghru met us with low cloud, with our heads nearly scratching the cloud base, and a nearly constant wind in our faces. However, there was enough to see for me to appreciate the beauty of this stunning valley crossing the mountains, which I had never before been to. We walked past the high point and descended into the vast opening, where the River Dee meets its tributaries coming from the craggy amphitheatre of Braeriach and the neighbouring peaks. This was a large area and we crossed the boggy terrain slowly, eventually reaching the shelter at the foot of a steep climb between cliffs, leading to Lochan Uaine (famously visible from the summit of Braeriach) and eventually to our ridge.

Due to the weather neither of us actually anticipated doing the ridge and there was even a suggestion we don’t climb to the loch, but I insisted, and off we went. The going is tough as there is only a very small area allowing safe passage between the vertical and soggy rocks forming wide waterfalls on either side. We got to the Lochan just as the sun was coming out, revealing the summit of Carn Toul and the majestic ridge leading to it. As it was my turnaround time (allowing the drive to Aberdeen and 6.45am start the next morning), I didn’t join Andy and Jim and cautiously started my descent solo. I made the mistake of not navigating properly to find a safe descent point, and instead just went for it which resulted in becoming nearly cragfast, but luckily I realised this and traversed early enough to find a safe descent. Adrenaline ran high thought, and my difficulties weren’t over as I struggled to find a river crossing without the aid of Andy’s walking poles. Eventually succeeding, I got on the way back through the Lairig Ghru, which with the wind behind me was a multitude faster, and I actually made it back to the car in far less time than I had planned. I met some characters on the way and had plenty of chat. One guy was walking (at 3pm at Chalamain) to Corrour bothy, and two young boys had descended from Braeriach and had to walk all the way to Linn of Dee for the night. They looked like they’d just come back from a polar expedition.

But it was one of those days where in the mountains in these conditions you only really bump into the toughest and most determined cookies! As I walked back, I felt rain hitting my back, but not my front, as I was out-walking a major downpour the whole way. Looking back on where I was, visibility was now zero down to the lowest ground and the shelter had disappeared. I thought about Andy and Jim finding their way down but only later found out that the two experienced buggers were absolutely grand and loving it.

So I wish I had been able to do the whole thing, but at least now I still have an objective in the Cairngorms as I plan to come back from the Linn of Dee and do the ridge and then repeat the traverse sometime soon.
Well recommended and poorly known route for any other DMC fans!

- Justyna

Comrie Hills Relay

posted 18 Sep 2017, 12:32 by Dominic Williams

Sunday 10th September 

Sunday 10th September saw DMC enter two teams to the Simon Wake Comrie hills relay.  This is a 42km route over four legs with 2,110m of ascent.  Speaking to people there previous events had seen great weather and sunshine.  Unfortunately this year the forecast was for rain.  The first leg saw 23 runners leave the cricket ground where the race was based and head up into the forest.  This 11k leg was on good paths but as the first leg had rather more ascent than descent.  The next leg was the shortest but hardest navigation required being largely pathless so two runners per team were needed.  After the leg 2 runners has disappeared up into the mist Dave our shuttle bunny for the day took us up to the 2/3 handover.   The rain was getting worse now so Amy and Paul were not too keen to get out of the car.  After waiting for a while the shout that two of our runners were approaching meant appeared out of the car wearing his infamous shorts.  A mass start was scheduled 2 ½ hours in to ensure the race didn’t get too spaced out and 45 seconds before this deadline Andrew and Allan appeared and handed the baton to Paul.  Amy started in the mass start.

Dave rushed the four of us down to the base picking up our leg 4 runners to take them up.  The rain worsened and I was glad to be eating lunch under the gazebo rather than being up on the hill.  Eventually Dave returned with the other runners (apparently it had been quite wet and misty on legs 2 and 3) and finishers started to appear.  Ed and Jen decided to run leg 4 together (which also had a mass start) so we had a DMC joint finish line.  DMC gents came 16/23 in total time of 5:30:35, DMC mixed team came 21/23 with a time of 6:01:10.  A slight mix up on entries nearly resulted in us receiving medals but Dominic refused to play ball and pretend to be over 40.  All in all a good if rather wet day and respectable position for an event mainly populated by running clubs.

Report by Dominic

DMC Gents: Dominic, Andrew, Allan, Paul and Ed
DMC Ladies/Mixed: Mhairi, Berenice, Bruce, Amy, Jen
DMC chauffeur: Dave

CIC Hut, Ben Nevis

posted 9 Sep 2017, 15:33 by Simon Li   [ updated 18 Sep 2017, 12:32 by Dominic Williams ]

21 - 23 July 2017 

The CIC Hut is one of the best known mountain huts in the UK, nestled at the foot of the north face of Ben Nevis. The forecast for Saturday was dry but very windy, a few climbers climbed up the Douglas Boulder before abandoning the idea of Tower Ridge due to the wind. Everyone else ventured up Carn Mor Dearg before sensibly retreating back to the hut. Most had previously been to the summit of the Ben, three who hadn't decided to head up the Tourist Path and were rewarded with a very rare cloud-free summit.

Beinn a'Chrulaiste via the Pink Rib

posted 21 Aug 2017, 12:29 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 21 Aug 2017, 12:30 ]

20th August 2017 

Jennie fancied an easy scramble so a quick flick through the new Highlands Scrambles South found us on Pink Rib. This is an easy scramble up the Glencoe Corbett Beinn a'Chrulaiste. It gives cracking views over to Buachaille Etive Mor, down and Glencoe and across Rannoch Moor. Only downside was the bounteously boggy walk out!

Report by Dave joined by Andrew, Jennie & Simon

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