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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

Camping Meet at Sands, Gairloch

posted 23 Jun 2017, 08:50 by Simon Li   [ updated 11 Jul 2017, 07:45 by Allan McCulloch ]

The summit of Fionn Bheinn (Ed's first Munro!) shot by Berenice.
16-18 June 2017 

On the weekend of June 17/18, Dundee was experiencing a heatwave. The temperatures soared, and most of Scotland enjoyed scorching sunshine and clear, blue skies.

Some of the hardier members of the Dundee Mountain Club, however, drove away from the sunshine and into the mist for a weekend camping at the Sands Caravan and Camping Park in Gairloch. They breed them tough in the DMC.

It was quite windy on the first night, but we'd picked a good spot on the campsite, nestled behind the sand dunes, and the Amenities block had several comfy couches where we planned the weekend’s activities.

Saturday awoke a little dreich and misty, but the determined bunch headed out anyway - Amy and Dom for a walk around the spectacular landscape of Flowerdale Forest, and the rest of the group for an attempt at the mighty Slioch. The day brightened as we headed inland, with the forecasted rain appearing only as mist and light drizzle. Slioch was conquered without a hitch, and with sightings of deer and ptarmigan to make up for the low visibility from the summit. Well done to Simone, who was visiting from New Zealand, on her first Munro!

A barbeque had been organised for the evening, which we bravely carried out in the shelter of the Sands' kitchen block and ate the grilled sausages and veg indoors. The amenities on the campsite were fantastic - and the hot showers were certainly appreciated!

After a shared breakfast on the Sunday morning on the bench beside our tents, we went down to the beach - a mere 20 yards away - to take in the breath-taking scenery, looking out to the islands of Longa, Rona, and Skye in the distance.

Berenice, Ed, Simone, Mhairi, Janet, Dom and Katrina then packed up and headed inland to climb Fionn Bheinn from Achnasheen on their way home. The rounded Munro looks fairly unimpressive from the roadside, but a boggy tramp to the top was rewarded with incredible views across Torridon, Fisherfield and beyond.

Although the weather could have been brighter it was a fantastic weekend, and requests have already been put in for a return meet next year!

- Attendees: Amy, Dom, Louise, Stephen, Mhairi, Katrina, Janet, Berenice, Ed, Simone
- Report by Katrina

Ride to the Sun (Edinburgh / Carlisle)

posted 19 Jun 2017, 01:41 by Simon Li   [ updated 20 Jun 2017, 05:18 by Allan McCulloch ]

17-18th June 2017 

I can't remember how this started, I know I signed up on the 11th of November and Simon was involved in planting the seed; in fact Simon was the one who made me aware of it. I believe it went along the lines of "So you've done relentless and you're giving up MTB for a bit, how about this, it's a bit like the Dunwich Dynamo but in Scotland so it won't actually get dark"

I don't exactly need much convincing of a challenge, and as much as riding from Carlisle to Edinburgh overnight sounds like a challenge, the route was only 162Km and there's a bit of a logistical problem there too!

Parking the motorhome up at Cramond beach car park early on Saturday morning I planned to get a bit of a snooze before meeting up with another fife rider who had given me a route down, unfortunately he needed to bail at the last minute so instead I set off early; spinning through Edinburgh as Saturday business kicked off for the day the weight of my touring bike showing it's hand on the climb up to the bypass; I had intended to use my road bike but a failed gear cable and bottom bracket has seen it consigned to my LBS for repairs and not being happy with the bike I borrowed off a mate for the distance I stuck with the bike I knew.

I rolled on at a comfortable pace reaching a busy Peebles earlier than expected I wasn't impressed with the choice of Costa or Greggs, so I pressed on hoping for food at Cardrona or Traquair; mistake!

Thankfully I didn't need to press on in the heat to Moffat unsatiated as I rolled down Mountbenger the George Arms was busy selling lunches and gave respite before the climb over the watershed and county march to take me past the Grey Mare's tail and into Moffat

From Moffat my route duplicated the ride North down beside the A74(M) a rather boring ride along the B7076 which is the old A74 giving some spots such as abandoned petrol stations and repurposed little chefs along with a terrible surface.

Hungry again and aware the Start of RttS was far from food shops in Carlisle I paused again to raid the fridge of a petrol station in Longtown, this was also handily the start of near constant down hill to the meeting point!

The rather more sensible Simon was sitting waiting for me and after short discussion we decided to set off slightly early like many I had passed on the way in due to our expected low speed. By now the sun was beginning to lower in the sky, shining brightly directly into our eyes as we climbed towards Lockerbie where the road swings North.

Arriving in Moffat at Sunset we got stuck in to a plate of chips and an extended rest (the queue put the Ainster Fish bar to shame); as we queued groups arrived and departed and a bowser full of water was disgorged into bidons ready for the highlight of the ride.

Setting off in the darkness under the still sky blue sky it was clear we were gaining height, house lights pierced the darkness of the valley below and a string of blinking tail lights rose toward the sky. The Devil's Beeftub is not a difficult climb, it is neither steep nor technical but its 10Km at a 3% gradient in the dark was fantastic.

As too was the descent off the otherside down to Tweedsmuir where at just before 1am the darkest part of the night, the Crook Inn although closed was playing host to a CycloRave with Bananaman handing out Bananas to the sleep deprived and possibly hallucinating riders.

Leadburn was the next mental target, from there it's almost all downhill, through Penicuik at 3am we were on target to arrive at Cramond before Sunrise the sky was lightening over the Pentlands, but my mind was tiring and I called to Simon to go straight on to Bilston rather than slip right up to Damhead; in daylight a critical failure as it takes you into the madness that is Ikea traffic, it meant descending into Edinburgh to the wrong end of the New Town; the sky now very light behind Arthur's Seat.

Correcting the error by crossing the Meadows we found our way onto the Queensferry road and picking up speed rolled into the finish crowd Cramond Foreshore at 0420 moments before the Sun started to rise over Fife.

Of course there was still the matter of needing to sleep before heading home, as I rolled into the overcab bed Simon told me he was heading out! A few hours later having been woken by a backthrottling Pratt and Whitney or possibly Rolls Royce I was aware Simon hadn't yet returned; over 3 hours later. Wandering back down to the now near deserted esplanade, Simon and a couple of other hardy soles were sleeping out in the open air. Looks like I need to Rule #5.

Niall Stats:
Distance: 335.6Km
Moving Time: 15hrs 45min 45sec
Moving Average: 21.3Kmh

- Report by Niall
- Who was there: Me, Simon and around 600 other nutters

Hirta, St Kilda

posted 24 May 2017, 12:42 by Simon Li   [ updated 8 Jun 2017, 13:38 by Allan McCulloch ]

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

posted 24 May 2017, 12:38 by Simon Li   [ updated 8 Jun 2017, 13:39 by Allan McCulloch ]

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

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