Roybridge (Feb 2016)

19th February – 21st February 2016

This weekend DMC stayed in Àite Cruinnichidh and Roybridge hostels.

Justyna writes: As probably the only Dundee Mountain Club member who doesn’t actually live in Dundee, I have of late undertaken some fairly ambitious treks in order to attend meets. This time I drove at night through the Lecht for 3.5 hours, from Aberdeen, basking in sunshine, to the West Coast and Roybridge, smitten by weeing rain and blasting wind.

My expectations were pretty realistic and stopped me from taking touring skis but I was hoping, in view of the weather, to maybe have the opportunity to do some poor weather cycling and running instead of the greater activities of walking high up and bagging Munros.

The view from the window on Saturday morning did everything to reassure me that this was the best thing to do.

As everyone else packed bright and early to go and attack some big summits, Paul and I packed our bikes onto my car and drove to Corpach, just outside Fort William, to do a route recommended by a local website as a lovely cross country circuit with some track, single track, wood and tarmac, with grand mountainous terrain and a bothy to stop at.

Well, to be entirely precise, here is how things REALLY were:

Cross country – indeed

Track – yes, the road was good from the start, with fairly uphill but good off road track through a pleasant wood. Until we got to the bit where they were chopping it down and laying down a massive pipe all the way into the glen. This resulted in us being chased around by a manic bulldozer driver pretty much the entire way, only to find a considerable building site instead of a glen, right by the picturesque bothy.

Single track – did not exist. We asked a runner who had come the opposite way and he advised against bringing anything less than wading boots to the bog that was once a path.

The bothy – potentially quite a nice place to stay, but required pretty much a loch swim (with bikes on back) to reach. We had fun inside, jumping up and down to warm up and attempting to light a fire by dismantling a torch battery…

The mountains – unexpectedly grand, an area not much explored I suppose, looking impressive and formidable – if only we could see them for longer than 5 seconds at a time as the clouds and rain/snow/hail enshrined everything in the way!

We returned frozen, soaked and muddied, then drove to Nevis Range for some actual mountain biking and a coffee in Fort William.

Meanwhile the others were literally blown off the Munros Beinn a Chaorainn and Meall na Teanga by blinding blizzards.

The next day brought no expectations whatsoever, and while some of the others attempted to attempt what they had attempted the day before, those more disillusioned with the high mountains in their current state went for a cycle/run up Glen Roy to experience the “ice age landscape”. We indeed experienced the landscape in short bursts of visibility, and I have to say it was spectacular.

The run ended up being a road one, 10k, decent distance and a good pace, with numb legs and drenched clothing. Andrew, Berenice and Mhairi cycled, while Paul and myself ran (and almost caught up with the cyclists!).

All in all a very enjoyable weekend, with absolutely nil being achieved in terms of bold mountaineering escapades, but lovely company, good banter and the discovery of some unexpected and underestimated corners of a popular part of Lochaber, which I will definitely be coming back to – in SUNSHINE!!!

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