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Hirta, St Kilda, 14th May 2017

posted 24 May 2017, 12:42 by Simon Li   [ updated 24 May 2017, 12:47 ]

14th May 2017

“Hi, we are hoping to do your St Kilda trip on Sunday as Monday/Tuesday are out” – Sea Harris

“Malin, Hebrides – South 5 or 6; rain or showers, occasionally poor, good at first” – Shipping forecast 13th May at 1745

It wasn’t looking good at sea, and the land forecast was pretty rubbish too.

“Hi, still a bit of wind tomorrow but we are still looking to run the trip, your Skipper is Chris, meet at the pier for 0745” – Sea Harris


“There’s Warnings of Gales in Fitzroy, Sole, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey and South East Iceland”, “Malin, Hebrides; South 5 or 6, Backing South East 6 to Gale 8, Severe Gale 9 later, Showers Rain Later, Good occasionally Moderate” – Shipping Forecast 14th May at 0505

“Ardnamurchan to Cape Wrath South or South West 4 or 5 increasing 6 at times, backing south east 6 or 7 later showers, rain later, good becoming moderate or poor later” – Inshore Forecast 14th May at 0505

“Sea State: Moderate to Rough” – Met Office Sea state forecast for Hebrides for 14th May.

This could be interesting...

We assembled down the pier to board our craft the Enchanted Isle just on time.
Chris and Ian welcomed us aboard as we set out on a calm Sound of Harris, but before long the sea became lively and our craft scaled mountainous waves, crashing through the peaks and plummeting into the troughs as we speed our way over the ocean.
In no time at all Boreray appeared out of the haze and we sailed into Village bay to transfer to the dingy and landed on Hirta.

Back on Terrafirma we paused to gather ourselves before setting off on our explorations. Oiseval, Connachair, Mullach Mór and Ruabhal were scaled, and the “Village” and Museum explored while the Soay Sheep and Skua kept us entertained with their antics... Just ask Simon about the Skua!

As boarding time loomed we congregated in the village and spoke to the rangers present about the island, it’s history and life, and also about the MOD base and it’s pending replacement with a more sympathetic successor.

After a quick visit to the NTS shop we returned to our ship where we were treated to Tea and Cake before setting sail for some puffin spotting on Dún, Blackface spotting on Boreray and seabird spotting on the sea stacks from the open aft deck. After this most of us returned to the shelter of the cabin (just ask Simon...) as a white knuckle ride ensued through the swell as the Enchanted Isle scythed and slalomed its way back to the welcome sight of Leverburgh and the eccentricities of Am Bothan.

View more photos in the Yogile album

Present: Alec, Andrew K, Bill, Chimed, Franta, Jeannie, Lucka, Niall, Pete M, Sarah, Simon, Toni, plus the Crew Chris and Ian
- Report by Niall

Leverburgh, Isle of Harris, Western Isles, 2017

posted 24 May 2017, 12:38 by Simon Li   [ updated 24 May 2017, 12:47 ]

12th - 17th May 2017

Our Harris trip for a second attempt at St Kilda officially started as we arrived at Am Bothan in Leverburgh however many had taken different routes and convergences to get there;
Simon extended the Skye trip visiting Dunvegan and Uig before sailing to Harris and camping out at Luskentyre the night before meeting us in Leverburgh.

Niall, Andrew and Sarah met up at the Invergarry Hostel the previous night before stopping in Portree to procure Trousers and Sea Sickness pills on the way to the ferry.

The majority converged at Uig for the uneventful Friday sailing to Tarbert, although Niall did break his rule of trying to be out on Deck as the ferry got underway, what reason other than Luncheon could be the cause of that?!

Saturday saw a hasty change of plan for one group who had intended some coastal climbing due to an iffy weather forecast and some even iffier location identification, who’d have thought Scotland has more than 1 Tarbert and West Loch Tarbert!
(For future reference, the forecast for Tarbert on Harris is West Loch Tarbert and the forecast for West Loch Tarbert on Kintyre is “Tarbert Loch Fyne”) (A Tarbert is a narrow strip of land between 2 lochs so there are many of them in Scotland)

Instead they took a “short” beach walk at Huishnish while Ceapahbhal and Uisghbal were scaled and the cyclists took in a lap of South Harris which contained a bit more undulation than Chimed is used to.

Sunday saw us sail to St Kilda where we bagged the island summit and explored the history (see separate report)

The weather turned for the worse and on Monday a strong gale and rain arrived, but this doesn’t stop us! Some travelled to North Uist chancing the possibility of cancelled sailings while others took in the tourist sights of Harris and Lewis.
Back at base the classic rainy day game of Scrabble was played along with some dodgy interpretations of the rules from Niall and Franta.

Tuesday started similarly minging however no sooner was Monoply set up than the rain stopped and the sun came out, the wind of course kept blowing and kept Niall off his bike.
A group of climbers had identified a bouldering location so set off for that while others explored the sights of Leverburgh such as the Post Office, Co-Op and Butty Bus before heading out to spectate the boulderers who had decided to rope up.

As Wednesday approached many were on the early ferry so those staying later said their goodbyes before retiring for the night.

Simon headed north on his bike

Niall headed south with the car and meets book; checking out the hostel at Nunton on Benbecula and met an ex-military mechanic who had sailed to the St Kilda base regularly from Benbecula, 40 hours on a flat bottomed landing craft!
He set off for the Howmore hostel for the following 2 nights and Eriskay’s summit was bagged in a break in the rain on Thursday and then Fridays plan to do a lap of Barra was scuppered when he woke to wind and rain so instead explored South Uist a bit more.
A 5 am awakening on “Boat Day” (Looks like he lost track, not difficult out there), as the Lord of the Isles made way for Mallaig the sound of an accordion drifted out on deck, a brief explore revealed the islanders on board who were travelling to a party in Mallaig had brought their instruments on deck and were entertaining themselves and the other passengers.

View more photos in the Yogile album

Present: Alec, Andrew K, Bill, Chimed, Franta, Jeannie, Lucka, Niall, Pete M, Sarah, Simon, Toni
- Report by Niall

Three As and a D at Kirrie

posted 12 May 2017, 14:37 by Dominic Williams

Thursday 11 May 

Feeling inspired by scrambling in Skye on the recent DMC meet, we (Amy, Dom, Aileen and Ali) decided it was time to head outside for some sport climbing after work. It was good couple of hours trying some of the easier routes, both leading and top roped, with Aileen leading her first climb outside. We stayed until it got a bit too dark and chilly to continue, but definitely feeling keen to head back there again soon!


Skye Meet 2017

posted 12 May 2017, 14:30 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 15 May 2017, 05:10 by Allan McCulloch ]

6th-7th May 

Our first glimpse of Skye was at dusk from the mainland, the cuillins glowing a magnificent red in the fading light. We arrived at the bunkhouse at about 10pm, just in time to plan our Saturday and to hear the stories from those who had already spent a day on the ridge. The three closest munros, Bruach na Frithe, Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean, proved to be an overwhelmingly popular choice, with only Pete making alternative plans for the day.

We left the bunkhouse just before 9am the next morning, meeting the campers on our way. The sun was shining and the sky completely clear as we crossed the glen towards the ascent to Bruach na Frithe. The route was straightforward, and once we reached the top we were rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the cuillins range. We spent a little time taking photos and enjoying the scenery before moving on to conquer Am Basteir. At this point Louise and Steve left us to spend an afternoon swimming in fairy pools, however Richard and Craig had caught up with us on the summit, so we maintained numbers.

We all reached the summit of Am Basteir, navigating a tricky down climb with ease once Jim had set up a rope and with Simon’s guidance. I was absolutely loving my first day on the ridge, so when we had to make the decision about whether to continue, I didn’t hesitate! Team Sgurr nan Gillean (Jim, Simon, Andrew, Berenice, Bruce, Dom, Amy and Myself) set off for the next peak, with the rest of the group heading back to the pub for a well earnt pint. It took some time to decide on the best course up to the summit, with the closer chimney offering an easier climb, but the other taking us to safer point on the ridge. Under Jim’s guidance we opted for the latter, with a solo climb expertly executed by Simon securing the rope to bring us all up. Jim was next up, then set up another rope. The climb up was certainly not as easy to the rest of us as Simon and Jim had made it look . . . !

Once all up on the ridge we were just a scramble away from our third munro of the day, and Berenice’s 200th! We celebrated at the top with Simon’s malteaser tiffin, and wondered how Paul and Dave were getting on with the full ridge challenge, trying to see if we could spot them. The way down was difficult to navigate at first, and after a long scramble we reached the glen, and eventually the bunkhouse. We returned to a delicious dinner of spag bol and veggie lasagne, courtesy of Mhairi and Bruce. Although late, we were not the latest: we were still waiting for Paul and Dave to return from the ridge. Eventually, Paul, then Dave, returned to a round of applause. After dinner we enjoyed cake, wine and whiskey whilst talking about plans for the next day.

With the weather still so perfect, we were keen to make the most of the day on Sunday. I joined Berenice, Andrew, Mhairi, Ila and Chimed to bag Sgurr a Mhadaidh and Sgurr a Ghreadaidh via An Dorus. The day started with a hard slog across the glen whilst my tired legs warmed up, but I I’d feel better once I got up to the ridge again! Finally up at An Dorus, I felt the fear a bit as I looked through the doorway and saw the drop on the other side . . . We tackled Sgurr a Mhadaidh first, glancing over at Sgurr a Ghreadaidh as we had lunch on the summit, wondering if the steep ascent would make for too difficult a down climb. However, Berenice and Mhairi’s enthusiasm convinced us to continue, and I was very glad we did. The following scramble was enjoyable, and the views from the summit spectacular.

As we left Skye that evening, I was dreaming of the day I’d be back to tackle the rest of the ridge.



With a forecast of glorious sunshine for the Friday as well as the weekend a number of people headed up early to get various things done on Friday.  People slowly drifted into the bunkhouse at Sligachan quite late by everyone arrived.  With others staying in the campsite and bivying high on the Cuillin ridge for a two day traverse.

Saturday saw sun as promised and after slowly rounding everyone up a party of 18 headed to Bruach na Frithe.  Rather overwhelming the few other people present at the summit.  Carrying on along the ridge to Am Basteir the numbers were slightly reduced to 16.  Getting the rope out to pass the bad step certainly took a while with that number.  A few hours and much faffing later it was decision time at the bealach between Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean.  The promise of a slightly longer stretch of climbing to continue or an early return to the pub and bunkhouse for food reduced the numbers to a more manageable 8 ascending Sgurr nan Gillean.  Simon Li was on hand to lead the climbing pitch route then Jim set up a second rope so we could climb two at once and manage the 30m assent in under 2 hours. 

From the summit we caught a glimpse of Dave and Paul still coming along the ridge on their traverse.  As it was getting late we pushed on for a long descent and walk out back to the hut.  Handily the earlier back party had started cooking so we could quickly shower and eat tea.  Just as we were finishing Paul wandered in through the door looking very tired and having sore hands, Dave was nowhere to be seen having been abandoned on the walk out.  He appeared half an hour or so later looking even more tired.

Sunday saw the group disperse in a more usual fashion and we had groups of several different Cuillin peaks as well as people taking it easier on the way home.  All in all a great weekend.  Thanks everyone.


Curved Ridge, Glencoe

posted 1 May 2017, 02:15 by Simon Li   [ updated 15 May 2017, 05:09 by Allan McCulloch ]

Saturday 28 April 2017 

Definitely feeling Skye-ready after the DMC outing up Curved Ridge yesterday with Mhairi, Jim and Justyna. It was a great way to get up the Buachaille and it was not one I’d tried before but enjoyed every minute of it. Not wanting it all to end so soon, Jim led us round to the Crowberry Tower route as an exciting wee finale before we headed up to bag Stob Dearg. Luckily the weather stayed dry until we reached the top. Mhairi persuaded us to chum her along the summit ridge to bag Stob Broige at the other end. It was a quick exit from that summit as a violent squall chased us off the mountain.

- Report by Berenice

More photos

Ling Hut, Torridon

posted 10 Apr 2017, 01:59 by Simon Li   [ updated 15 May 2017, 05:09 by Allan McCulloch ]

7th - 9th April 2017 

View from the mountain (Katrina)

The weather was much better than expected for our weekend in Torridon! Saturday was clear so Dave P, Si, Miguel and Katrina climbed Liathach; Jim and David M scaled Beinn Dearg; Jeannie discovered new climbing routes near Gairloch; Greg ticked another Corbett off his list; Pete, Paulina and Ilze enjoyed the sunshine in the glens; and Niall completed another epic bike ride. Phew!

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)

Ling Hut
Arrived mid-afternoon to open up, spent a while trying to work out why there was no electric, gave up and went for a wee cycle over the Bealach na Gaoithe and back.
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.

Present: David P, David M, Jim, Pete, Greg, Ilze, Paulina, Si, Miguel, Katrina, Jeannie and Niall, guest appearances from Dan and Diana.

Port Navigation 200km Audax

posted 3 Apr 2017, 13:33 by Dominic Williams

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.


Inverardran Cottage Crianlarich, March 2017

posted 20 Mar 2017, 12:36 by Simon Li   [ updated 20 Mar 2017, 12:37 ]

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.

More photos

Avertical World Bouldering Competition Round 4

posted 19 Mar 2017, 07:53 by Simon Li

Friday 10 March 2017

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.

You can see all the results here, or visit AVW's competitions page.

DMC women in mountains

posted 7 Mar 2017, 14:50 by Dominic Williams   [ updated 7 Mar 2017, 23:28 ]

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!


The president

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!


Mhairi, Berenic and Andrew on Wee Buchaille

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