Glencoe Independent Hostel (Mar 2019)

15 – 17 March 2019

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

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

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

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.