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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

Meall an t-Seallaidh and Creag Mac Ranaich

posted 21 Aug 2017, 12:13 by Dominic Williams

19th August 2017 

With the planned bothy meet no longer going ahead two of us decided to make best use of the weekend and climb some more local hills.  Early sunshine in Dundee caused me to pack sun cream which of course meant that by the time we had reached lochearnhead for the start of the walk it had started to rain.  The short shower passed and so we set for a target of two Corbett's behind Lochearnhead.  Some initial route finding difficulty/ exploring a nice viaduct we found the good track heading up to a high pass between the hills. 

Early birghtness over Loch Earn.

The first summit of the day was a foreboding craggy hill to the right.  Allan, not yet a seasoned Corbett bagger, was disappointed about the lack of a path but we found a way up the steep grassy slope not problem.  There was an increasing amount of rain by the time we reached the summit but no cloud leaving us with some views.  A sheltered out of the wind spot was found for lunch before we continued to the second peak.  This looked more inviting but ongoing rain meant we didn't hang around at the summit.  A short clamber down lead up back to the track and we were able to retrace our steps out to reach the car in time for some early evening sunshine.

Report by Dom

The view from the summit

Tayside summit to sea challenge

posted 14 Jul 2017, 12:04 by Dominic Williams

1st July 2017 

Ben Lawers to Broughty Ferry Castle running, kayaking and cycling

Tayside Summit to Sea from Dominic Williams on Vimeo.

After picking Paul and the kayaking kit up in Dundee we headed west towards Kenmore where we met Berenice. We left my car parked up and all got into Berenice’s car for the final stretch up to the Lawers nature reserve car park, dodging herds of sheep sleeping just on the road. It was about midnight when we got there so a bit dark and very still, so quite midgy. We hurriedly pitched our tents in the carpark and settled down for a few hours sleep.

Waking up about 5:15am we were greeted by the sun peeking out over the ridge. It was looking to be a day of fantastic weather! We had some breakfast, packed down the tents and by 6:16am we were ready to set off back to Dundee. It was a lovely morning to be out walking and even wearing shorts I was warm enough. We took the signposted route to Ben Lawers, going along a very good path across the lower slopes and deciding, partly for completeness sake, to take the route up over Beinn Ghlas. As we began to go more steeply up some low cloud built up, but this was mostly below us by the time we got on to the ridge, making for very atmospheric views. We made our way up to the top of Beinn Ghlas and from there ran down to the col with Ben Lawers, and then we walked up to the summit.

Given it was just before 8am it was slightly surprising to find two other people with their dog already on the summit! We couldn’t have asked for better weather - it was sunny, bright and there were fantastic views. I retrieved a postcard that had been left by my dad and his friends below one of the trig points and we posed for photos with a silky pillowcase that mysteriously gained the DMC logo on it later. As lovely as it was on the top it was time to start the summit to sea challenge proper and begin running along the ridge!

We spread out a bit as we descended down the ridge and I managed to go the wrong way for a short while, waving to Paul as he took the correct route. We gathered together at the col and walked most of the way up An Stùc. The descent off An Stùc was not particularly runnable. Me, Dom and Berenice took one route and Paul another. Paul seemed to have picked the best route, going steeply down a gully, while our way was a bit scrambly - as good as Salomon Speedcross shoes are for running they aren’t made for trying to climb down wet schist. Me and Dom managed to cut across to the other route and Berenice climbed back up again and came to it higher up. Eventually we all made it to where Paul was sitting waiting at the col and then it was time to go up again to the summit of Meall Garbh.

The remainder of the ridge after Meall Garbh was much less rocky. Berenice said she would be happy for us not to wait for her for the rest of the run, so me, Dom and Paul headed off. It was a bit boggy in places on the way down Meall Garbh and up Meall Greigh but mostly runnable. A quite new lamb decided it preferred Paul to its mother so we had to pick up the pace to avoid the sheep getting too angry. After a while we made it to the summit of Meall Greigh and could see Loch Tay below. We took the NE ridge, running over tussocky, grassy ground, picking up vague paths occasionally until we reached a good track.

We turned off the ridge and onto the track, making our way down several zig-zags. When we hit the forest a gate barred the way across the track but the fence was easy enough to climb over. A few more sharp zig-zags in the trees later we hit a better quality track, which we followed for a short way before turning off onto a very overgrown track. It was quite useful to have the map on my phone to be sure this was where we wanted to go as it wasn’t very obvious, although it clearly had been a reasonable track, and was probably the best way down through the trees (Berenice ended up cutting down a firebreak). Approaching Fearnan we left the trees and ran along the track through grassy fields, which lead us into the village.

We hadn’t agreed where we were meant to meet Pete here, and we didn’t see him anywhere (we were over an hour late at this point), so we continued down to the main road hoping to intersect him at some point. The A-road was fairly narrow so wasn’t the best place to be running along without a pavement. We agreed for Paul to go at his own pace while me and Dom carried on ahead, taking a grassy, slightly overgrown track though the trees for a couple of kilometres. This was much nicer than the road, although to get back to the road we did have to go back down through some woodland as the track wasn’t quite as marked on the map. Another short section of the A-road lead us to a carpark about 1km from Kenmore. We stopped there and Dom used the toilets. While I was waiting, Paul went past. It turned out he’d seen Pete on the road and now Pete was heading to pick up Berenice in Fearnan . We continued a short way more on the road then took a woodland path along the banks of Loch Tay, cutting of a corner, which brought us out through the grounds of Kenmore hotel. Then it was across the bridge and to the car with Berenice and Pete cheering us on for the final stretch!

At Kenmore it was time for some food, including the cutting of the Summit to Sea cake, and then a quick change into kayaking kit. We drove the boats around the bridge and then launched into the Tay, watching a wedding taking place at the Inn on the opposite bank. I’d forgotten to make sure the footrests were adjusted correctly so had to fiddle around with those a bit. The river was quite gentle as we set off, and indeed for most of the way, but with a reasonable amount of flow to keep us going along. As we crossed under ‘Chinky Bridge’ we hit probably the biggest rapids of the paddle but they were good fun rather than scary. About half way to Aberfeldy I decided that I needed to adjust the footrests again so had to get out on a gravel beach to faff around with them. Once back on the river it was generally very pleasant paddling downstream, even seeing a large bird of prey at one point. There were a few people fishing but we went past them on the other bank and there weren’t any ill feelings.

As we got to the bridge in Aberfeldy we saw Berenice and Pete on the bank, which was nice! After a quick hello and some photos we headed off, keen to continue. Berenice and Pete also continued, albeit more quickly in the cars, down to Grand Tully to meet Hazel, Jon and Baby Amy who’d been waiting for a while. The river between Aberfeldy and Grand Tully continued to be easy and pleasant to paddle. There were some bits that were very flat and in one of those we formed a small raft so Dom could get some malt loaf out from inside his boat for us all to eat - we were feeling a bit in need of energy at this point! After a while I began to feel quite stiff from being in one position for so long, although I was pleased that my shoulder and wrist were generally okay as they have caused me problems kayaking before. The approach to Grand Tully was a bit more bumpy but still quite easy, and we all made it to the end without swimming.

The others were waiting for us on the banks before Grand Tully rapid and helped me and Paul out with our boats while Dom paddled the rapid, along with quite a few teenagers practicing on the slalom course. When we were all off the river it was time for another quick carpark-change into our cycling gear and some more food. Paul was driving my car back to Dundee and Berenice was driving Pete back up to Kenmore to pick up his car. Hazel was joining us for part of the cycle to Dunkeld but because we were running a couple of hours late her and Jon had to take Amy back after this so she could have her tea and go to bed.

We set off cycling on cycle route 7, first crossing over to the other side of the Tay and then along the quite road paralleling the river. Crossing over the river again, a short stretch on the main road took us to another quiet road which was very pleasant to cycle along. The weather was still good and there was a bit of a wind behind us. After a while we followed signs towards Pitlochry, turning off the road and down a hill to cross the Tay again. We continued on the cycle path over the Tummel and the A9, and then cycled alongside the A9 for a while. This was mainly separated by a verge and trees so it wasn’t too bad. After a while we turned onto a quiet road that climbed up above the road, and then began to descend reasonably steeply into Dunkeld.

Jon picked Hazel up in Dunkeld and me and Dom continued on. Along the quiet A-roads I saw a red squirrel, which made me very happy. We wended our way through the undulating countryside, crossing over the Tay and enjoying the scene of the wind passing through the barley in the fields. We passed through few settlements but in Murthly we stopped at the shop for a bit of a rest and ate an entire giant bag of crisps as well as some other bits of food - it was getting close to tea time but we still had a fair way still to go to get to the sea. Crossing over the Tay again and then the Isla, we began to approach the Sidlaws but road we’d originally planned to use to cross them was closed, so we ended up taking a route that Dave M had recommended. This perhaps not quite as steep as others but I was definitely flagging a bit when I got to the top of the first of the climbs. Revived with a Snickers bar we carried on towards Collace and Dunsinane hill. There was another bit of a climb, but from there onwards it wasn’t too bad, and I realised I’d actually been on this bit of the ride before.

It was a very steep descent down through Abernyte to the Carse which should have been fun, but I’m still a bit too scared about using my brakes on my road bike so I took it quite slowly - Dom got up to 50kph! There was a small section of the road to get across the A90 which was hard into the wind but as we turned to pass Inchture and then along the road to Dundee the wind was at our backs blowing us along! We stopped for some jelly sweets and then pushed on for the final stretch - the oil rigs in the docks coming into view so we knew we were nearly back. Passing through Invergowrie we continued on along Riverside and hit cycle route 1. This took us through the docks (I’d worried about the gates being closed after a certain time but they don’t seem to be) and then right along the Tay into Broughty Ferry.

At the castle we stopped for some celebratory pictures and then headed onto the beach to join the rest of the DMC gang for the BBQ and for a brief paddle in the sea! It was very windy on the beach but thankfully people had been sensible enough to bring wind breaks to shelter us while we enjoyed some slightly sandy veggie sausages, halloumi and prosecco. The BBQ was converted into a fire pit, Bruce using a sledge hammer to break up the wood, and we warmed ourselves by it while having some more summit to sea cake. Eventually, after a long but fantastic day it was time to head home for a well-needed sleep.

Report by Amy
Attendees: Dom, Berenice, Paul, Hazel, Pete, Jon, Baby Amy, Jim, Bruce, Mhairi, Andrew, Niall

Spittal of Glenshee

posted 11 Jul 2017, 07:17 by Simon Li   [ updated 11 Jul 2017, 07:43 by Allan McCulloch ]

8th July 2017 

The three of us set off from the Dalmunzie House hotel at 8.45am heading north up Gleann Taitneach. After 1km we arrived at the bridge so we could pick up the track on the east side of the river. Except that the bridge had been washed away! We crossed easily enough though and legged it up the glen, passing a series of waterfalls, to the remote but beautiful Loch nan Eun. Then across some bog to pick up the footpath to Carn an Righ, 1029m. Views from the top were extensive, from The Lomonds in Fife to the south, to Beinn Avon in the north. We dropped back down to the Bealach then up to the summit of Beinn Iutharn Mor, 1045m, where Justyna tried out her new storm shelter. The weather had become increasingly sunny as the day wore on, although there was a chilly wind on the tops. Not having had enough yet we took in Beinn Iutharn Beag, 953m, on the way back to Loch nan Eun, and then retraced our steps back to the hotel. 8 and a half hours in total.

- report by Andy Murphy, joined by Justyna Luc and Hal Robinson

Blair Atholl

posted 7 Jul 2017, 07:50 by Simon Li   [ updated 11 Jul 2017, 07:44 by Allan McCulloch ]

4th July 2017 

We were expecting to leave the rain behind us the further north we drove, and I had packed shorts and sun cream. Far too optimistic as it turned out. The weather forecasters had got it wrong again! The ascent of Carn Liath was very wet to start with, but although the sun refused to shine the rain did stop, and we enjoyed the view from the top. Dried out by now we continued on to the 2nd Munro - Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, almost 100m higher than Carn Liath. The cloud was still well down over Carn nan Gabhar so we gave Munro #3 a miss and descended the south ridge of #2 to pick up the path back to the car.

- Andy Murphy, accompanied by Corinne Furniss

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