GSG Hut, Elphin (Jun 2019)

14 – 16 June 2019

Deciding to take a break from having a camping meet for midsummer the club headed north instead to the land of late sunsets for a June meet to Elphin. The long drive from Dundee did mean the last party did still manage to arrive after sunset.

There had been some discussion of caving before going but a reasonable forecast saw everyone head to the hills on Saturday. Suilven proved the most popular hill, but the author headed to the three Corbetts of Quinag with 4 others. With Pete having only managed to climb the first one due to wind at the last DMC meet to Elphin we headed up the central peak first. Reaching the summit, we were glad of our hill choice as hills further south and west all seemed cloud covered (including Suilven). We continued along a spectacular ridge to the furthest away peak a handy lunch spot. Returning back to the car via the Southern summit for four of us we nearly but not quite managed to avoid the rain which soon stopped once we reached the shelter of the car.

Returning to the hut the sun soon returned with most of us sunning ourselves in the conservatory. Drawn back out by the sun me and Amy went for a quick swim (in wetsuits) first in Loch Borralan which proved too shallow then in Cam Loch which proved to be a better option if rather cold. Eventually the others returned from various adventures in the mist and an excellent tea with cheesecake was had by all.

Sunday saw some caving adventures. This started with much kit faff working out what kit we had for people with some (me) not doing the crucial try on to check it fits step. After getting sorted a short drive saw more faff followed by an awkward walk in too many clothes to get to the start of the cave. Being glad to not have to walk any further in wellies distracted us from the fact that Andrew had stopped us near a rather small dark hole in the ground. One by one we descended through the narrow hole. I was personally relieved by the large number of handholds meaning we would hopefully be able to easily climb back out the hole we had slithered down, but first some exploring to do.

This started with a series of short trips away from a large central chamber slowly getting us used to different bits of caving. The drier weather meant that previous warnings about caving being cold and wet were not true and I was rather too warm in my winter kayaking thermals. The final challenge of the first half of the cave exploration was a short wire ladder down to a river where we could see the line madder people than us had used for their cave diving. A rather stiff rope provided some difficulties when being used for safety but everyone managed to safely navigate the ladder. Fired up no one at this point announced they wanted to turn back before the second half of the cave system with a warning of a narrow entry passage. Reality however soon hit and after some wavering only 5 of the original 7 managed to make it through the others resolved to wait for us to return. After slithering through a narrow gap the cave did slowly get wider and a few awkward scrambles presented themselves. The lore of a waterfall drew us on but one traverse reduced our numbers to 4 (someone decided to wait no one fell). The knowledge of a narrow slither out meant I never quite relaxed in this second cave and so was quite glad to be turning back when we reached the end. A slightly different route was taken to return and thankfully Villo had not been kidnapped by goblins so we were able to return safely to the others and the wonderful daylight and air on the surface. Caving was interesting but there are probably many other things higher on the list of hobbies to do above it…

Returning to the car and showers of the hut was easier as a downhill walk out and the long drive home beckoned…

  • Report by Dominic

Sunday was the day I was waiting for a long time, I never went to any caves and always was wanting to do it. Finally we had a chance as Andrew was so keen to take us down under the earth.

Little hole and we are in. Was so quiet up there and water running sound was so different that ever heard. Bit scary, to crawling few metres with almost no space to move the feet felt so great when you end up in different chamber and than couple of traverses above few metres drops…. Hmmm. So exciting! After we have been back I am more for caving again soon I hope one day I find a prehistoric bones or a diamonds. Wish me luck!

  • Report by Sylwia

A few midges….

A few showers…..

A few beers….

A little sun burn….

A portion of lentil curry….

A little gas…!

A stroll in the hills…

  • Report by Paul

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