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Inverie, Knoydart

posted 20 Apr 2019, 10:49 by Simon Li   [ updated 21 Apr 2019, 13:24 by Dominic Williams ]

12 - 14 April 2019

Inverie, Inverie, that's where the mountains meet the sea.
Every laddie kiss your lass, everybody raise your glass,
and let's hear a shout o' Inverie. (Inverie)

DMC Knoydart
And now for the latest installment in the DMC adventure series…. “18 go to Knoydart Island”

OK, not an island exactly but a superbly remote area, part of “The Rough Bounds” which means uncompromising (unshaven?) terrain, and makes for long ‘km’ and big ‘metres’…. as we were to find out.
Sgurr Coire Choinnichean is the sharp peak which looms above Inverie on the approach on the Ferry from Mallaig (and featured in Greg’s Mountain Mind Quiz a few weeks ago) – and is a good indication of what to expect, a sea level start, brutally steep, bit rocky and with fine ridges. This was the ‘plan’ for Saturday, start here, follow the long ridge beyond eventually leading to Ladhar Bheinn, then pick our way down to the north and circling back to Beinn na Caillich before a long walk out and back to the Bunkhouse. We soon learned that those who arrived for a full day on Friday had taken 10 to 11 hours to do Ladhar Bheinn (Konrad, Maddy and Stef) and Luinne Bheinn plus Meall Dearg (Berenice and Andrew).. maybe we were being a little optimistic??

All assembled on the Friday eve, some sampled the Old Forge seafood menu and real ales (locally brewed – yes even Knoydart now has its own micro-brewery.. “Remoteness” 3.8% abv – and not a bad pint…), others worked out how to share a single ‘3 working hob’ cooker in the bunkhouse (with beds for 24), and some (one?) who’ll remain nameless resorted to Pot Noodle at the campsite…

DMC Knoydart routes
Saturday brought terrific clear conditions and loads of contenders for the next DMC Photo comp but pictures belied the true conditions with a fierce easterly wind and bitter wind chill. 4 seasons in 20 minutes, gloves on, gloves off, suncream on, sunhat off, shades on, down jacket on…. Dom&Amy and I pursued our mad round, and set about gently pushing back our target time for each summit, so 1pm leaving the top of Ladhar Bheinn became 2.15, and 5.20pm for the top of Beinn na Caillich.. with a mere 9km back to base. Whisker under 12 hours all in and a memorable day, especially the icicles and verglas encountered descending the north side of Ladhar Bheinn… Everyone made a Munro or Corbett - Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe all featured and we even came up with the new activity of wild paddling, the loch in question being too shallow for wild swimming..

A storming evening meal courtesy of Berenice, Andrew and Maddy, replenished tired bodies, and a combination of alcohol, Munro Top Trumps and Dobble frustrated tired minds, and set us up for Sunday’s adventures. Undeterred by even colder, windier conditions, Sandy and I traversed the length of Beinn Bhuidhe, whilst Dom&Amy took in Meall Bhuidhe. Some of the others opted for low level runs, and some cragging back on the ‘mainland’. Phelim, Katrina and Sandy stayed on for the Monday – has anyone heard from them since??

Sad to leave, another fantastic weekend and can’t wait for the next Chapter…

- Report by Iain

A ps from Sandy

Nice one Iain for writing the report.... Just to confirm, Phelim bivvied out on the beach Sunday night and left on the Monday morning ferry. Whilst Katrina and I set off for Our Mary, (lady of the sea) on the hillside before returning home to Dundee about 9pm. Ready for a new week after a very fine weekend!


posted 3 Apr 2019, 05:04 by Simon Li

24 March 2019

Meall nan Caorach - Meall Reamhar
Teamed up with Suzanne on Sunday to do Meall Dearg, a Graham north of Amulree. We timed things for an afternoon start to allow a front through but got hammered by the wind for most of the 19km circuit achieved. Weather and wildlife marked the outing with some horizontal hail, warm sunshine and a little snow; geese, mountain hares and a deer hassling sheep! A satisfying half-day.

- report by Greg

Glencoe Independent Hostel

posted 22 Mar 2019, 08:16 by Simon Li   [ updated 22 Mar 2019, 09:02 by Dominic Williams ]

15 - 17 March 2019

glen coe
One of the most beautiful locations in Scotland – Glen Coe! I was looking forward to the meet, leaving Dundee on Friday afternoon with Suzanne and Paulina, sun was shinning and it was looking pretty good...

Rainy, grey Saturday morning... more than slightly disappointing but what can you do!! Berenice, Steph, Simon, Dom, Iain and I headed off and made a few good hours out of it, after a 'rainy & snowy walk', and exploring the loch, part of the group (Steph, Berenice, Simon and I) ended up with an unexpected afternoon shopping trip to Fort William. Some other afternoon plans involved climbing at the Ice Factor (Paul and Sandy), skiing (Suzanne, Paulina and Sandy), watching Six Nations Rugby 2019 at the local pub, and the new people checking out DMC club went for a run...

It was Chimed’s last meet before leaving Scotland, sad to see him go... all the best with new adventures and I am sure many great memories and stories of DMC and Scottish Munros will be taken away.

We celebrated this weekend with a 3 course Dutch communal meal, which was fun and an experimental task to prepare dinner for a group of 20 people following the recipes for the first time. Finished off with delicious Bailey's and Maple syrup cheesecakes (17th March is St. Patrick's day) made by Chimed.

Tim, who came to DMC meet for the first time, happened to have a bottle of Dutch Gin, this was a perfect occasion for the Dutch Gin bottle to come out of the storage cupboard after being there for around 20 years.

Sunday turned out to be sunny and clear, Glen Coe Mountain Resort was packed with skiers, snowboarders and people who came to enjoy the views, a very beautiful day. Other groups went Munro bagging.

Regardless of the circumstances DMC always manages to find ways to have fun and make the most out of the day. New people are very welcome and for those whose time have come to a change will be missed.

- report by Ilze

glen etive beinn nan aighenan
March meet to Glencoe saw a contrast between the different days. Quite a lot of snow falling in the lead up to the meet had made some excited for skiing and others worrying about avalanche conditions on the hills. Saturday was forecast to deteriorate so those aiming for the hills were up early 6 people set off for Sgurr Elide Mor with the rain in the car park soon turning to snow as height was gained. A decision by 4 of the 6 was made that Loch Elide Mor was a suitable alternative target for the day given weather conditions. The others carried on up and discovering the weather didn’t deteriorate higher up pressed on for the summit. Crampons being left in the car and ice under the snow on higher slopes further reduced the party so Iain summited alone. Returning to the hut early afternoon we found the other group heading for Munros had been no more successful turning back on school house ridge cutting short a planned circuit of Ballachulish horseshoe.

A trip to the Clachaig soon ensured to console the disappointed walkers and was everyone up again. The evening saw a fantastic three course meal served to mark Chimed’s final meet before he runs away to the Netherlands (he will be back to visit I am sure).

Sunday the forecast was for a better day so Berenice’s proposed walk to Beinn nan Aighenan proved a popular choice with 8 heading up there. Thankfully the cloud was higher today so the way up to the col was visible from the road and looked like the route up the valley was the best option and not subject to bad avalanche risk. My early dreams of bagging extra Munros on the return journey slowly faded long trek up the valley reached the snow line and progress slowed. After nearly 3 hours of walking we finally caught sight of our destination summit and had a celebratory lunch stop. As always seeing the top is not the same as climbing it and it took a while longer before we reached the final summit. This day I took my crampons (having decided I would be sad if I didn’t make this summit) but with only a very short icy section on the top didn’t put them on. Descent saw good use be made of a snow filled gully to quickly lose height the snow was poorly bonded together, so the predicted considerable avalanche forecast was probably correct. We got down with no issues and eventually returned to the cars after 6pm quite late for a Sunday to start a drive back to Dundee.

Another great weekend with a great bunch of people.

- report by Dom

Devils Ridge Glen Nevis
Wow!, a great selection of reports already in, and as the recent inaugural winner of the DMC Scribe award I feel like I need to sharpen my pencil!

Winter was back with a bang and the wind changed suddenly to the east on Saturday with heavy snow which produced pretty widespread windslab and considerable avalanche risk, so managing to get to a summit was an unexpected bonus. The amount of snow above 700m was quite a surprise, and the original plot with Simon to tackle the Aonach Eagach on Sunday was quietly dropped, the idea of trail breaking along a sharp edged ridge with fresh windslab everywhere didn’t appeal... instead we opted for the Mamores, Sgurr a Mhaim and round to Stob Ban with the added excitement of the Devils Ridge, which ended up trail breaking along a sharp edged ridge with fresh windslab everywhere....

For those who know, in summer this is an exhilarating knife edge but mainly a walk with a couple of scrambling steps. Having done it before in winter in my formative years I was quite confident it would be a fun day out and a fitting adventure to cap Chimed’s time with the DMC. Just as well we couldn’t see the ridge from the top of Sgurr a Mhaim... we negotiated the first narrow section and the little step around the pinnacles where you drop a few feet off the ridge in an exposed position and I then headed up to a curious bulge of snow on the ridge crest. Breaking through this my heart sank - what should have been a straightforward path on the crest of the ridge - and maybe a cornice on one side, had been transformed by the variable winds into a Mr Whippy sculpture of teetering soft snow, spectacular but unnerving. Plan B was to traverse along the west side below the crest - firm snow but a really exposed steep slope and not on the original itinerary - some 'on the job training' for Chimed. Safely negotiated and surfing on adrenalin we regrouped on the broad col beyond. Master of understatement - 'I was a little bit out of my comfort zone' no S**t!

Such things are memories made of...

- report by Iain

Glencoe Independent Hostel
The popularity of a Glen Coe venue meant we spilled out of the Alpine Bunkhouse to take some space in the main building where the cosy fire was enjoyed by many of us. Saturday was dreich and a bit blowy at times with only 2 folk managing hill summits mainly due to the snow conditions. The skiers had limited visibility and later took refuge in the new Kingshouse.

Others ended up in the Clachaig Inn & The Ice Factor. On Saturday evening we celebrated Chimed's last meet with us with a hearty dutch meal of Soup, Wurst, Sauerkraut with lashings of Potato and Chimed's home-made Cheesecake (somewhat later!). The evening concluded with several group games played. On Sunday the weather gradually improved and we were blessed with blue skies and views. The skiers returned to see where they had been the day before and Berenice took a party to Beinn nan Aighenan. Chimed got his Munro tally to 50 via Sgurr a'Mhaim, the Devil's ridge to Sgurr Ban with Iain & Simon. Comrie chipper & Tyndrum Real Food Cafe were utilised on the way home - yum.

- report by Greg

Inverardran Cottage, Crianlarich

posted 25 Feb 2019, 04:16 by Simon Li

15 -17 February 2019

DMC Crianlarich In the rain
It was a wee bit wet (!).

Actually what was left of winter was running off the hills, but undeterred, three groups set off on Saturday heading for Beinn Narnain and Ben Ime (Berenice, Ilze, Paulina and Sandy), Beinn Chabhair (and onwards on the Steve Fallon round...?) for Dom, Amy, Konrad and Andrew H, Barry & Bob headed up Ben More for an early finish, leaving myself, Chimed and Anton to head for Ben's Lui, Oss and Dubhcraig - the long walk in past Cononish and up the NE Coire, which was the only place with any appreciable snow. Luckily it was quite sheltered until we pulled over the top, the snow ended, and we were blasted by the wind which quickly reminded you that windchill still bites even if the temp is well above freezing!

It was on stepping round the back of summit cairn that I discovered Ben, slightly distressed but still able to explain that he had been there for 5 days and was looking for someone to take him onto some more Munro's. He was quite well equipped and in a dry bag but we agreed we would make sure he got back safely.

Now at this point i should point out that Ben is a travelling (teddy) bear, has done 57 Munro's to date and been on lots of adventures going by his Facebook page!

He was duly fed and watered back at the hut and taken up Ben More by Chimed and Andrew the following day, in truly atrocious conditions... Other hills were also done however, Berenice to Beinn Mhanach (bagging...), Me, Sandy, Konrad and Anton for Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh (bagging...), Dom and Amy for a run and an MRT 'assist', Ilze and Paulina off on the bikes.

So despite being close to home, plenty of good hills to go for and enough collective enthusiasm to get up them even when it's mingin' outside...

- report by Iain

New Moon Treasure Hunt

posted 8 Feb 2019, 04:24 by Simon Li

Wed 6th February 2019
DMC treasure hunt Team 3

... and on a night-time adventure off we go ...  secret location, dark - without moon light, high chances of rain or minus degrees with ice, you never know what you will get with Scottish weather....

After being lost in couple of turns, our Team 3 (Paulina, Bruce C and I) have managed to find all 4 treasure points and took a second place at the final destination, reaching Summit within estimated time. We were following clues that included general directions, cardinal directions with precise metre directions and map reading skills. Finding little treasure treats, such as love heart sweets, oatcakes, raisins and Christmas chocolates has kept our spirits up.  Have to say that despite all the fun on the way, seeing distant torch lights up at the summit was like a victory for our team work – Number 3.

During this event, I came across several realisations:
  • That an electrician skill of step- metre measurement comes quite handy and are quite frankly accurate
  • No matter how many compasses you might have, sometimes a compass tends to mislead and show several different points of NORTH
  • To find some of the treasures you must look harder and got to trust common sense that you are at the right spot
  • That a Kissing Gate exists: “small gate hung in a U- or V-shaped enclosure, letting one person through at a time”, “the first person to pass through would have to close the gate to the next person, providing an opportune moment to demand a kiss in return for entry”.
  • Bonding with teammates and having a laugh is an essential
  • Long legs get you moving faster
  • Quite a few people would love to brush up on their navigation skills
DMC treasure hunt Compass

This was the second year when Amy and Dom have organised amazing DMC Treasure hunt, brilliant idea to get people lost in the woods and hills 😉 Looking forward for the next one – 2020!

- report by Ilze

Glen Lyon

posted 5 Feb 2019, 01:24 by Simon Li   [ updated 5 Feb 2019, 01:24 ]

2 February 2019
Glen Lyon Munros

Those of us who work during the week have to put up with "weekend weather" and we all know what that means. So far this year it means cloudless blue skies, crisp clear air, incredible views in all directions and a beautiful covering of snow. Today's walk was no exception. A stiff climb out of the forest up to the first summit with views down a frozen Glen Lyon. The breeze was slight but the wind-chill was very significant so not too much hanging around. Easy walking conditions despite the full snow cover, no need for crampons or snow shoes, so good progress made around the circuit. Words wouldn't do it justice so check out the photo album! To top it all off, we beat Barry's time ;-)

- Report by Andrew

Mill Cottage, Feshiebridge

posted 3 Feb 2019, 09:24 by Simon Li   [ updated 3 Feb 2019, 09:24 ]

18 - 20 January 2019

DMC Feshiebridge

Perfect 10/10. We've all had those days where the weather has been great, or the route has been exciting, or the craic was fun, but it's rare for everything to come together so perfectly as it did this weekend. The hut is nice and in a great location, it was a great bunch of people to be with, and the rest you can tell from the photos :-) Yes, a perfect meet.

- Report by Andrew

Hogmanay meet, Craignure, Isle of Mull

posted 14 Jan 2019, 07:39 by Simon Li   [ updated 14 Jan 2019, 07:40 ]

29 December 2018 - 2 January 2019

DMC Ben More Hogmanay
Last time i went walking here was back in 1991 - a school trip no less, which took in Ben More and Dun da Ghaoithe, the resident Munro and Corbett on the Island. I've since expanded my horizons to Grahams and the odd (some of them very odd) Marylin, Mull is chock full of these and has some impressively rough and rocky ground, almost obligatory sea-level starts and big drops between them... big little hills indeed.

Sun 30th was a bit dreich but Miguel and I took our chances on Creach Bheinn from KinlochSpelve, and succeeded without getting completely soaked and/or blown over. The complete lack of photos from this hill tells it's own story. We had a wander afterwards along the beach at Loch Buie - really interesting Church / Chapel of St Kilda, and Moy Castle, sadly locked but undergoing restoration.

Mon 31st did not exactly dawn clear and dry, but buoyed by the success of the day before and making a judgement the forecast was only 'slightly' worse, Miguel and I decided to head for another Graham. In the end we only got to around 600m on Ben Buie before driving rain and nearly being flattened by the ferocious gusts of wind saw us retreat and take the scenic route to Balamory (Tobermory), to see what Miss Hoolie had been up to. OK so Andy did once teach on the Island but am reliably told it was at the high school and probably long before Balamory was created. The others had - perhaps more sensibly - wandered round to Rubh nan Gall lighthouse and taken up residence in the Tobermory Chocolate Cafe.

1st Jan - Today it did dawn (or probably did as i missed sunrise by some margin) clear, dry and bright, and so plans were put into action, Richard and Allan for the Corbett, Niall for a 217km tour of the island by bike (he left before sunrise..), Andy for a leisurely Graham, and Miguel, Simon and I for the same Graham but with ambitions of making it to Ben More. This we eventually did, via A Chioch, summitting at about 15:25, after lighting the afterburners from the col at 332m. Luckily Ben More has one of the quickest and easiest descents to the south, little over an hour to the road, and no headtorches needed!... Thank the 10 mins later sunset compared to Dundee and a bit of west-coast 'gloamin.' About 1500m of ascent overall and only 5 hrs on the hill.. Quote of the day - "all the Munro's I've done this year have been in great conditions...!"

Wed 2nd - sneaked a further quick Graham - Beinn Talaidh well under 2hrs up and down, whilst Simon and Miguel managed some climbing (!) at a nearby sport crag on the coast. This despite the morning frost which had left the beach at Loch Spelve draped in a carpet of ice.

So Mull comes highly recommended, still got a few little hills to do...

- report by Iain

Christmas Meet, Bridge of Orchy

posted 7 Jan 2019, 03:39 by Simon Li   [ updated 7 Jan 2019, 03:39 ]

7 - 9 December 2018
DMC Christmas meet hills

My first visit to the 'legendary' Glencoe Ski Club Hut, nestled in the forest near Bridge of Orchy. Santa made an appearance last year but would he show in 2018?? Judging by the distinct lack of the white stuff there were no guarantees.

We were warned about the 10p's needed for the showers, so i had been carefully stockpiling all week, only to forget them when we left on Friday. Enough food and drink however for another enjoyable weekend even if the weather didn't comply.

Sat seemed reasonable enough and a large group including Greg, Dave M, Katrina, Dom, Chimed, Dave B, Caitlin, Andrew H, Konrad and myself headed off from Achallater heading for the distant Beinn a Chreachain via Middle Earth, involving wild river crossings, and negotiating the treacherous Crannach Wood, by which point any semblance of a good path had vanished and we all disappeared into the trees only to re-emerge at different points on the hillside above. It was a bit wild on the summit and despite lots of people checking their maps, we managed to start descending the SE rather than the SW ridge of the hill... Soon re-orientated we pressed on taking in Beinn Achaladair in the fading light, and just managed to get to easier ground in the Coire below before the headtorches came out. A fine meal followed, and we learned of Andy's morning escape from the hut having found himself locked in, and Pete, Roos, Jo and Carol climbed the Corbett down the glen - Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh.

Sunday promised to be a much brighter affair and i went with a group of four - Dave M, Dave's mate Ben, and Chimed to repeat Stob Coire Odhair and Stob Gabhar, with just enough snow and ice to make it interesting and see the ice axes make a first appearance of the year. The situations and views on this circuit never disappoint, a grand day out!

- Report by Iain

Mabie - Dumfries & Galloway

posted 9 Dec 2018, 14:38 by Simon Li   [ updated 9 Dec 2018, 14:39 ]

Mabie MTB
16 - 18 November 2018

DMC headed south to the forests near Dumfries for a weekend of mountain biking. We were based in the bunkhouse deep inside Mabie forest but first we explored the Dalbeattie forest trails. Meeting old friends Dan and Diana was great and they know the area well. We split into several groups and covered as many trails as possible, from green through to black. Compared to some other trail centres we found the grading to be accurate but the density of technical sections much higher. It was great fun tackling the blues and reds, and watching the braver members on the crazy black bits. We comfortably exceeded the guide-book time of 1.5 hours for one of the red routes, some of us making it last most of the day! The scenery was fantastic with sunlight streaming through a varied mix of trees, and beautiful views from the hill tops. We stayed out until dusk, heading back up the hill to get a view of the setting sun. Definitely a recommended destination for MTB. We headed back to Mabie for a great meal (thanks Berenice and helpers) and a sociable evening around the log fire. On Sunday we stayed more local, hitting the trails in Mabie and the local hill Criffel.

- Report by Andrew

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