Archive for the ‘Extended trips’ Category

Snowless in Elphin

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
Arkle
Arkle

For the 2018/9 New Year meet we returned to the excellent little hut in Elphin, up in the far northwest of Scotland. One of these days we'll get there to coincide with some good winter's weather, but not this time, mild weather through December led to largely snow-free conditions.

Of course, that didn't stop us 9 of us making the long journey north, and it's a fantastic place to be in (almost) any conditions.

Ben Hope

We arrived on Boxing Day, and the following day the best conditions were due to be further east, so Carmen and I headed north and east for an ascent of Meall Horn, a Corbett near Arkle. An overcast day nevertheless stayed dry and the cloud mostly above the summits, with some great views to the sunny peaks around Ben Hope. Meanwhile, Annie and Peter diced with death on Cul Beag but lived to tell the tale.

Meall Doire Faid

The next day we headed south, again chasing the weather, and again got lucky with a sunny ascent of Beinn Enaiglair, another Corbett near Braemore Junction. A long approach spiralled round to the far side of the hill before climbing old stalkers' paths to the top, descending the other side and back up from the col to bag a Graham summit, Meall Doire Faid.

Annie and Peter set off to walk up Quinag, but after half an hour sat in the car park watching the rain, they settled for a walk to Eas a Chual Aluinn, the highest waterfall in the country.

On 29th the rest of the group arrived, so of course the weather took a turn for the worse.

Mike, Pete W and Rob repeated their now traditional late start on a long walk near shortest day with an ascent of the Assynt Munros, including some consternation about the descent from the ridge (minor epic narrowly averted) getting back just a tad after dark.

Carmen and I headed south again, to pick up an insignificant Munro Top near Meall nan Ceapraichean – the only Munro summit in the Beinn Dearg group that we didn't go up on the 2011 LAMM – we'd traversed 20m below the summit! Today we weren't so lucky with the weather, which stayed resolutely damp and dismal with low cloud, so having ticked the summit we headed back, detouring slightly to visit one of the impressive waterfalls in the glen (an advantage of the poor weather!).

Peri and Karl found the best weather on Ben More Coigach, a fine mountain overlooking the sea north of Ullapool.

Falls of Kirkaig

The next day was once again damp and windy, with cloud levels even lower, so we had a team walk to the Falls of Kirkaig, impressively full of water after all the rain.

New Year's Eve was a repeat, only windier, so various groups did various low level bimbles – some to the Clachtoll Broch, others to the crags at Reiff, others to the coast near Lochinver.

Then it was the traditional NYE haggis over-eating, over-drinking, and struggling to stay awake until midnight, followed the next day by fine weather, snow on the hills, and a long drive home.

Some more photos here

YAC Autumn Ariege trip

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Last October 7 YAC members (me, Simon, Ann, Peter E, Peri, Dave D and Mike) plus James and Sara went to the Ariege (foothills of French Pyrenees). It is a lovely area that Simon & I were keen to return to. Peter and Ann hired bikes for a couple of days and were doing a mixture of cycling and walking and even the occasional rock climb. Sara was also doing a mixture of cycling, climbing and walking activities, including a sightseeing day with Dave D to Carcasonne. The rest of us just climbed – as there is so much climbing around. We were overall pretty lucky with the weather. Any heavy rain fell overnight and we were able to get out climbing everyday.

Several days were spent on the local limestone crag of Calames – climbing some of the quality long single pitch and multi-pitch climbs. Couple of trips to the brilliant granite crag Auzat – La Sabine is a must do route (just as good as we remembered). A trip to a new gneiss crag of Junac, not in the current Rockfax which turned out to be rather good and complete with cheeky goat. A trip to Baychon where the routes were of variable quality and grading – but a beautiful outlook over the valley. Some of the team climbed at Aux le Thermes and some of us went for a long multi-pitch on Dent d'Orlu (granite) which was a top day out with fantastic views and we had the East face to ourselves. Worth saving for the good forecast.

Still plenty more routes and crags not visited. It is a beautiful area with a good variety of rock types and route lengths. I think we might be back again some day (hopefully).

James on La Sabine -Auzat
Simon at top of multi-pitch
la voie des peres tranquilles – Calames
Peri climbing at Baychon

View down valley from Baychon
Mike on classic
Fleur de Rhodo – La Dent d'Orlu
Dave D on
Fleur de Rhodo – La Dent d'Orlu

Dolomite adventures

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Due to an imminent change of lifestyle, I was desperate to get in a big climbing trip whilst I still had some freedom. The plan had been to get a core group of 4 together to simplify decisions and arrangements, then open it out to the rest of the club. Unfortunately due to my inability to organise a piss up in a brewery, there were still no firm arrangements a week before our planned departure date (and a month before due date)! After about two hundred emails back and forth we finally agreed on a 4 bed apartment in Arabba, a tiny village close to the Sella group in the centre of the Dolomites. The team was Mike Shaw, Pete B, Rob and myself, with Paul coming later for an extra week with Rob…

We arrived at the apt (Cèsa Raggio di Sole) about midnight and were pleased to find the extensive dithering had paid off. A great little apt, newly decorated, comfy, and cheaper than camping. Though we had no crags right on our doorstep, we were pretty well located for the Western end of the Dolomites, with a huge selection of crags (a.k.a. mountains!) within an hour's drive, inevitably involving going up and over a mountain pass – we got very used to those hair-pins.

As we'd arrived late we hadn't had chance to pick up any food but with the weather forecast warning of storms later in the week we wanted to make the most of the good weather despite our late start so grabbed a meagre breakfast of apples and cake in the local shop and headed to Sella Towers, a group of three towers right by the road at the top of one of the passes, with a selection of long easy routes to go at. Mike and I climbed Via Fiechtl (V-), a nice route with the crux (for me) being the awkward offwidth on pitch 2. The route culminated with a fantastic couple of chimney pitches, proper traditional back-and-footing, which proved rather easier for those closer to 6ft than 5 ft! Pete and Rob climbed a neighbouring route which shared the first 1.5 pitches.

A great start to the weeks climbing, but we got back to the car too late to make it to the shops (silly continental Sunday trading hours) so we scraped together some dinner from the basic provisions we'd got that morning and Rob's secret stash.

The following day, despite the lack of a proper meal for almost 2 days, we opted for another big route before the storms arrived, this time on Piz Ciavazes. Once again, Mike and I teamed up for 
Little Micheluzzi (Direct Start), a three started V- culminating in a fantastic juggy traverse with spectacular exposure hundreds of metres above the valley floor.

The following day had rain forecast for the afternoon so a roadside sport crag (Penia di Canazei) seemed like the perfect option for the morning. This turned out to be a humbling experience, with most of us struggling on 5s and 6s, and I even managed to fall off a 4! The rain arrived just as we were running out of routes, and pulling power so we took the opportunity to do a proper shop, at least that was the plan, continental trading hours had other ideas, so an hour or so was killed mooching around the town, but we finally got some proper supplies.

More sport the following day, this time at Sass de Stria, a much better crag with more realistic grading. A few of Rob's mates who'd been camping nearby made an appearance.

More suspect forecasts the next day prompted a bit of via ferratta. A grade 4c (out of 5) on Sella Towers, which was great fun but over all to soon. The descent from the top was a different story, going via a couple of summits just under 3000m and taking several hours, only to emerge on the road about a mile and a half downhill from where the car was park. I drew the short straw so ditched my bag and went to retrieve the car, however karma was clearly on my side as the others got midged whilst waiting.

paul at rest

Paul had been due to arrive that night but due to a delayed flight (a sign of things to come) he resorted to kipping in the car and arrived early Friday morning. With a good forecast one last big route was called for so we headed to Falzarego Towers. Since they were climbing as a three Pete, Rob and Mike went for the easier option of Comici – South Arete (V- *** 6 pitches) whilst Paul jumped in at the deep end and joined me on Dibona (V+ *** 11 pitches). This had some great climbing throughout, culminating with a scary unprotected chimney pitch behind a detached pillar (crux IMHO) leading to a fantastic belay perched atop said pillar. The final pitch (and technical crux) stepped back across off the pillar and pulled through some wild and steep moves to reach the summit. A great start/end to our respective trips.

That evening we celebrated with pizza and beer and went our separate ways the following morning, Paul and Rob to find a campsite for the next week, the rest of us squeezed in a couple more sport routes at Sass de Stria before heading to the airport for our flight home. The less said about that the better, let's just say there's a few of us who won't be flying with Ryanair again. An otherwise great trip! I would certainly go back either to the same area (as there's so much more to go at) or elsewhere in the Dollies, maybe in 18 years or so.

Pix (more to come): https://photos.app.goo.gl/HLSwkcdnDmFTyNgw8

Herberts in Ibiza

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Hotel

At the beginning of May I went on a mountain biking trip to Ibiza. We were a party of eight including two from York Alpine Club.

The trip started well when the author narrowly missed having coffee poured over him twice but did not miss out, along with the other 100+ passengers, when when one of our party managed to delay our departure from Leeds Bradford Airport by three quarters of an hour

We flew out to Ibiza on a Jet 2 package holiday staying in a modest hotel in Santa Eularia on the south coast of the island.

On arrival we picked up our hire bikes, Orbea hardtail 29ers, new for the season and good value at 12 Euros a day.

Santa Eularia is packed with restaurants, evening meal on the first night was seafood paella 7/10.

Riding day one – We had with us a guidebook that purported to describe the best eight of the twenty or so signposted trails on the island. Route 20 was supposed to start from Santa Eularia but there were no signs anywhere. There was a route 5 which seemed to go our way so we followed it. The first part of the route followed the coast, sometimes new housing developments blocked our route, sometimes we lowered bikes down grade 2 scrambles. Cafe stop number one Cala de Boix, tuna salad 7/10. On the island there are a number of stone built watch towers and we took a detour to visit one at Valls. Crash number one, the author going rather quickly round a bend lost control and skidded on gravel, may have confused the brakes, which are the opposite way round in continental Europe. Fantastic gravel rash and later colourful bruises. After to the coast paths we followed quiet lanes back to Santa Eularia. On return we stopped at a bar on the main tree lined avenue in the centre of the town run by a Norwegian/Guatemalan couple – this bar became the obligatory post ride stop. Evening meal after much deliberation at a Michelin starred place costing twice as much as the previous night, but not twice as good.

Riding day two – Route 21 from our book, still no signs but similar to a Route 2. A very hot day particularly as we pushed our bikes up a steep dry river bed and past the second highest hill on Ibiza. If it had been the highest we would have made a detour to climb it. On the way down crash number two, the other YAC member this time – lots of noise, over the handlebars, bruises to body parts and a distant spec in a video. Cafe stop number one, St Joan 9/10, service included antiseptic and ice packs for our injured. After the cafe stop headed north to a a point from where we could see a lighthouse on the northernmost tip of the island. Thereafter superb single track to St Vincent and cafe stop number two, surf cafe, just drinks, no score. Back to our bar, then evening meal, pizza 8/10, ice cream cafe 8/10, Abba tribute band 1/10.

Riding day three – Followed a route 6 with a big climb/coastal scramble variation taking us anticlockwise from St Eularia to Cala Llonga – stone sculptures of a turtle and a salamanda on route in Cala Blanca. Terrain as hard as the first day. Great views out to sea (Not just of the naked sunbather in what they though would be a quiet secluded place, only to be disturbed by five mountain bikers). Cafe stop number one, beach, Cala Llonga, sardines, chips & salad 9/10. Tracks and cycle paths took us to cafe number two at St Gertrud(is)e, cakes 10/10. Tracks & quiet roads back to St E and our bar. Evening meal in “trendy” “organic” restaurant, food 9/10, island craft beer 10/10.

Day four – early start meant a quick dash to the hotel restaurant for breakfast things, flew home, no aircraft incidents. Make sure when travelling with a certain member of YAC they keep hold of their passport otherwise you might end up crawling on your belly down an aeroplane gangway looking for it.

It turned out to be a good idea to take the holiday as a package, flights, airport transfers, bed and as much as you can eat breakfast, no need for a hire car, good bikes, we flew out on a Monday and back on the following Friday.

GPX files of our routes are available, contact Peter Evans.

Maps are not as good as Ordnance Survey, we had to check our position with GPS several times.

There is a 200km mountain bike tour of the island for a next time. We will be going somewhere sometime for dry conditions in hot weather, after an inevitable wet and muddy British winter.

 

Mountain Bike Tour of the Yorkshire Dales 2017

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

The Flying Herbert's are a Mountain Biking Group some of whom are or have been members of York Alpine Club. Every Saturday morning they do Mountain Bike ride somewhere in Yorkshire, last week from Gargrave, this week from Barnsley. In addition most years they do a multi day tour on Mountain Bikes. Some times we have a single base and other times we stop at a different place every night, tours last 4-6 days. Place to place tours in recent years have included routes in the Cairgorms, the North York Moors and the Sandstone Way (Northumberland). The 2017 trip was a Tour of the Yorkshire Dales. The inspiration for the tour was the Yorkshire Dales 300 a 2 day! 300Km mountain bike race and rides of our developed over the years on a Saturday morning ride in the area. We originally planned to go as a team of four but due to big toes and chinese laminate flooring we ended up with three riders Peter Evans (The only YAC person), Phil Sawyer and Paul Bell. We planned for 2 half days and 4 full days riding staying mostly in Youth Hostels, carrying our own kit

Day 1, Pateley Bridge to Kettlewell 26 miles

Thursday 10am. A lovely clear day.

At the start we parked in the street outside Pateley Bridge Primary School much to the amusement of the pupils out at play time. The route followed one of our usual Saturday morning rides as far as the dam at Scar House Reservoir, stopping for a cup of Tea and the usual (Beans on toast with an egg on top) at High Stean Gorge. Then up the side of the reservoir before climbing to the col between Little Whernside and Great Haw. From there we dropped down into Coverdale and began a long road climb to Tor Dyke. Next we made our first changed to the planned route, opting for a fast road descent down Woodale to Kettlewell rather than what looked like soft ground to Cam Head. We spent the night a Kettlewell Hostel, run privately, but marketed by the YHA. The Beef Stew there is huge and excellent.

Day 2, Kettlewell to Grinton 29 miles

Friday, Grey and wet to start, improved during the day.

Cooked breakfast. Another change, road to Buckden (Blame the weather) rather than going up high. Then followed a route called 'A Pennine Journey' towards Bishopdale. Disaster! Peter falls off attempting to ride up steep slippery limestone. Hurts like mad getting back on the bike but once on the pain is manageable. Route does not go down Bishopdale, instead heads north over Stakes Allotments to Wensleydale. Teastop at Askrigg (Not usual, a variety of menu choices). On and off road to Castle Bolton. A lot of pushing North up to Apedale (Would have been better going by road). Up Apedale, missed a turning at Whitaside Moor. Peter's lungs not large enough to call the front runner back, so road now all the way to Grinton and Bridge Inn pub stop before steep climb to the Youth Hostel. Back to the pub for food – not as good as Kettlewell Hostel, pie pastry shortcrust but microwaved to death.

Day 3, Grinton to Hawes 26 miles

Saturday, good weather to start, rains a bit in the afternoon.

Shopping trip to Dales Bike Centre. Steeply up Fremlington Edge, more pushing than the last time, is it because we are carrying loads or because we are older or both? Next to Langthwaite. Picnic by Old Gang Beck. Over to Melbecks Moor. Lovely riding, not easy for the one with the poorly arm. Another fall, a bloodcurdling scream, the front runners way ahead did not hear, Then called at the Halcrow Fox Estate for a welcome cup of tea and a grand tour. The riding is taking its toll, we decide to go by road to Hawes, steeply out of Swaledale,, we stop at Askrigg for a teastop (different cafe). We are knackered, there has been lots of climbing. Spend the night at the Youth Hostel too tired to visit the town. Food adequate at Youth Hostel, warmed up curry? not memorable. We impressed the Tasmanian water wheel fanatics with our exploits though.

Day 4, Hawes to Ingleton 17 miles

Sunday, filthy weather up high, wind and rain.

Next morning Phil drops a bombshell he is retiring from the ride, not well. He looks at his options and decides to cycle by road to Garsdale Head where he can get a train back to Leeds. The other two also make changes. We had intended to go to Bainbridge and up the Roman Road, instead we decided to shorten the ride by going south east to Dodd Fell. In good weather this would have been brilliant cross country riding despite a push up at the start. We got to Ribble head and and had a sausage and egg butty with cup of tea from the catering van there. Took ages for the food to arrive and had to shelter from wind. From here we should have ridden above Twistleton Scar, not keen on slippy limestone, instead we opted to go to Ingleton by road. This meant we got to Ingleton Youth Hostel rather early so it was not open yet. We went to Bernie's caving shop/cafe otherwise there is not a lot to do on a Sunday in Ingleton in October. Pub food at the Wheatsheaf ok, the woman sitting at the bar described her sex life in detail.

Day 5, Ingleton to Grassington 27 miles

Monday, the wind is behind us, some rain.

First road to Clapham. Off road via Austwick and Feizor to Giggleswick Scar. Tea stop at the Naked Man in Settle. Steep road then off road ride out of Settle following our Malham ride. Then to Mastiles Lane towards Kilnsey cutting across before part way down to join our Linton ride and the usual superb down hill to Threshfield and Grassington. The bunkhouse we were staying is at the top of a hill above Grassington so before climbing we had an end of day drink in the village. Grassington Bunkbarn is very well appointed. Great food and atmosphere at the Foresters Arms. We went back for breakfast on Tuesday. The best days riding not to far, not too much climbing, finished in good time.

Day 6, Grassington to Pateley Bridge 16 miles

Tuesday, good weather

We shortened the ride again so we could go to Grassington for breakfast because we did not want to go back up hill immediately after. Road then to Skyreholme and the across Pock Stones and Braithwaite Moors, on the route of our Appletreewick ride, back to Pateley Bridge and a celebratory drink outside in the sun at the Royal Oak.

Verdict

We ended up cutting a lot of distance out of the ride due to the climbing taking more out of us than expected. When we did the NYM ride last year we travelled further each day but did a lot less climbing. Peter carried way too much stuff. He has .gpx files of the routes each day, if interested.

Postcript

After the ride Peter drove to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton to have his arm checked at A & E. It is quite difficult changing gear with a right hand in a right hand drive car. Verdict broken humerous in left arm just below shoulder. Rode for 4 ½ days with the injury, Doctor not impressed.

2018

An extended Cambrian Way, Clun to Aberdovey, Wales.

A quiet August Bank Holiday

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

A combination of family commitments, double bookings, iffy weather forecast, and 6 hour drive, meant that there ended up being just the two of us on this year's August camping meet to Pembroke. And we'd thought about cancelling as well! But were very glad we stuck with it as we had a cracking time, extending the weekend by a couple of days to make the drive worthwhile.

The campsite at Bosherston was heaving when we arrived, but the crags mostly varied between quiet and deserted despite what turned out to be 5 days of good weather.

On the first day we had the crag entirely to ourselves. After a few  routes at Fisherman's Point waiting for the tide to drop (over graded, over starred, but pleasant enough), we then switched to Rusty Point for some top quality slab and corner climbing at HS/VS. An attempt at following the old guidebook description for Sea Tube led to Carmen leading a new route (of the must-have-been-climbed-before variety), before we abbed back down and led the proper route (wriggling up a smooth blowhole, looked outrageous at VDiff but turned out to be soft for the grade). We finished the day with South West Ridge (Severe).

On Sunday we headed for Stennis Head where we expected to meet the crowds. But although we saw a few other climbers, we were mostly on our own again. I led the first pitch of Maelstrom Chimney as an approach pitch to Stennis Arete (HS), which means missing out the lower part of the arete proper, but gives two 3-star pitches – highly recommended! This was followed by Stennis Chimney (S), which isn't really a chimney but is another 3 star pitch.

We then moved to Huntsman's Leap, where we found all the crowds! But they were mostly climbing harder stuff, so we abbed in to Myola (HS), where we had to wait for a while for another pair to climb out – the only queuing of the trip! The initial section to reach the cave is very traditional and quite bold, but the rest is well protected – just as well as it's tough for the grade.

On Monday we headed for Mother Carey's Kitchen, where again we expected crowds, but again found none, just a handful of teams early on. Our first route was approached by abbing down the wrong line after a miscommunication with some guys at the top, followed by an "interesting" (and rapid) boulder hop in between waves. The Cracks was given Severe in our guide, after Carmen had a minor epic leading it we discovered that it's since been upgraded to VS!

Failing to learn from this we abbed back down for Threadneedle Stret, another "Severe" that's now VS. A giggle of a route, up a slightly overhanging wet chimney at the back of the cave (finishing with some don't-think-about-it bridging up mud conglomerate). Pitch two then takes an outrageously exposed traverse, thankfully on massive flake holds. The final pitch is supposed to climb a crack further right of The Cracks, but after finding 4c moves to reach the bottom of it and seeing no gear for the next offwidth, I traversed back to finish up The Cracks. Still get the tick though as that's the line described by Rockfax 🙂

The next day started with light drizzle, so we opted for a non-climbing day, with a nice walk round the local lily ponds and were rewarded with not one but two sightings of a kingfisher. After lunch it cleared up, so we headed for Mowing Word and the classic Diedre Sud, which had been on my to-do list since our only previous visit to Pembroke some 16 years earlier. Well worth the wait, even if it was overgraded at HS. We briefly considered another route as there was time, but opted for the pub instead.

The sunshine returned for our final day, so we headed for Giltar Slabs as it was on our way home. And again, we found it deserted. Some lovely slab climbing, mostly of the relaxing type, but with one VDiff turning out to be VS 4c (has since been upgraded)!

We enjoyed ourselves so much that when we got back we invested in a new set of guidebooks – so we're not waiting another 16 years before our next visit 🙂

A load more photos here

Winter adventure talks series 2017

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

In the winter months of 2017, the club ran a monthly ‘adventure talks’ social evening at the Falcon tap pub in Micklegate, York. The idea being that we have a couple of short talks by members or visiting speakers about a trip they’ve been on, and get a chance to have a drink with friends, meet new members and find out more about what people have been up to, hopefully getting inspired for the coming year at the same time!

We’ve had some great talks this year, starting in January when Dave told us about his trekking and mountaineering trip through Peru and Bolivia, and Peter described his adventures horse riding and trekking in Kyrgyzstan.

February took us to New England with Carmen and Simon to see the fall colours and of course do some walking and climbing, and then over to Northern Sweden with Donal for a multi day hut-to-hut walk along the Kungsleden or ‘King’s trail’.

Finally, in March we got on our bikes with Chris who competed in the transcontinental cycle race from Belgium to Istanbul (everyone was exhausted just listening!), and then Rob gave an introduction to lightweight backpacking (with props!) along the Haute Route Pyrenees.

Many thanks to all the speakers for giving their time to put a talk together and present it, and to all those members who came along to support, hopefully have some fun and learn about somewhere new. Looking forward to more adventure talks next year!

Christmas & New Year Meet 2016

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

P1070868The advance team set off Crianlarich on Boxing day – with the others arriving on the 28th.  Conditions meant it was very much a walking or cycling trip, with the usual excess of food.

27/12/16 – Simon and I went off to do Beinn Mhanach and Beinn Mhanach – Beinn a'Chuirn summit  as we had not visited the munro top previously.  Recent rain and snow melt meant that water was reasonably deep in the numerous fords required to reach the hills.   Annie and Pete E overtook us (on their bikes) as they were heading up the same P1040625valley but intending to cycle around the loch.  We were surprised to see them cycling back towards us only 30 mins later!  Annie's bike had a terminal break – doh!

 

28/12/16 – With a bust bike Annie was P1040641now limited to walking.  We all went to do the Tarmachan ridge.  S & I had not done it since 02 and hoped to have views this time – but didn't.  But it was quite fun doing the whole ridge anyway – still snow on the ground – bit P1070781icy in places.

29/12/16 – Karl, Rob, Gav, Esther & Jamie went up Beinn a'Chroin & An Caisteal.  Annie came Corbett bagging with S and me – Creagan na Beinne.  We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves out of the cloud whilst traversing the summit ridge.  Rather windy-so were glad we found an isolated small crag to give us a bit of shelter for a late lunch.  Pete E P1070796with a functional bike enjoyed the cycle around the loch (abandoned route from 27th).

30/12/16 – Seriously wet and windy.  Esther & Jamie got dropped off at Bridge of Orchy and cycled back to the hut; Gav walked along part of the West highland way.  We dropped Rob off – so he could do Ben Challum.  Annie, Pete and Karl went touristing to Aberfeldy and shopping.  S and I did an easy Corbett tick – Meall nan Subh – taking in all the various summit cairns.

31/12/16 – Even wetter and still windy.  Esther & Jamie sensibly headed home.  Karl, Rob & Gav did Meall Ghaordaidh and seemed to enjoy it despite the weather.   S & I went and did Meall Odhar (a Graham) – downsizing in hills!  A group of kayakers looked like they were having fun in the rapidly flowing river.

1/1/17 – S, me, Annie & Pete did Stob Binnein (taking in a couple of extra summits) and Ben More.  Don't walk through the forest at the start – path is blocked by fallen trees etc – there is a vehicle track on P1040709the other side of the river (for hydro-scheme).  Great day out – made interesting by the strong winds – and cloud free summits.  Karl, Rob & Gav  did Meal nan Tarmachan summit – but abandoned the full traverse due to the wind – and enjoyed a pub visit instead.

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2/1/17  The others headed straight home after cleaning the hut.  S & I stopped off to do Beinn nan Imirean on the way back -a Corbett we had failed to get to the summit of 2 years earlier.  No problems this time – but no view from the summit.

Compleat at last

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Finished!Just 6 Munros left to do as we headed to Scotland for our annual week's trip. The plan was to finish them over the Bank Holiday the following weekend, when the club was staying at Glen Affric, as 5 of the 6 comprised the Cluanie Horseshoe, which is best done from the north. This needed good luck with the weather though, it would be thoroughly miserably doing a long hill day in the rain.

The 6th was Ben More on Mull, so we spent a few days there. What a great place! We had the benefit of a high pressure system just west of Scotland, so while England and Wales shivered in the rain, we had wall-to-wall sunshine. As well as walking up Ben More and its adjacent Graham Beinn Fhada, we had a trip to Staffa (Fingal's Cave) and the Treshnish Islands (puffins galore!), and also did a spot of cragging. Not world-class climbing, but the wonderful location automatically added a star to everything. And the campsite at Fidden is brilliant.

Mullach Fraoch-choireAfter watching some dolphins swim by in Tobermory harbour we took the ferry back to the mainland for a long drive out through Ardnamurchan (we really need a club trip there!) and Ardgour. We decided to spend the night at Invergarry so we could do a quick ascent of Carn Ghluasaid, the outlying Munro of the Cluanie group. This meant that the 4 remaining summits  formed a more reasonable day's objective without a long there-and-back detour.

So all that remained was to drive to Glen Affric (about 10 miles as the crow flies, but 2 hours by road) to meet up with the club.

Low cloud greeted us on Saturday morning. But we remained optimistic that the weather would improve to give the forecast sunshine.

Charles set off first, intending to add a Corbett to the round. Carmen and I, along with Rob and Annie, followed 90 minutes later to do all 4 Munros. The others (Simon, Debra, Peter and Karl) planned to do the final two, meeting us at the summit of our 3rd.

And things mostly worked.

BubblyThe cloud burnt off to give a sunny day. After a couple of diversions for some Munro Tops we somehow arrived at the top of A' Chraileag within minutes of the others. All that was missing was Charles, whose ambitions were stronger than his legs, and eventually descended after a Corbett, 2 Munros, and a few Tops.

Our final Munro was Mullach Fraoch-choire ("Hill of the heathery corrie"), and what a fine hill it was, shapely and with some fun scrambling up the south ridge. As we arrived at the summit, Simon and Karl produced a couple of bottle of fizz from their rucksacks and we all celebrated in style.

Om nom nomA brilliant end to a long campaign (27 years for me, a rather more sprightly 16 for Carmen), made extra special by the weather, the location, the company, and of course the bubbly!

So what's next? Well I've got 38 Tops left to do. There are lots of Munro-free islands we haven't been to, Rum being top of the list. We've started the Corbetts (probably about 50 or 60 done). And the next day we added another 3 Munros to our 2nd round…

Some more of Simon Fox's photos here

Ours will follow if and when there's time…

Christmas/New Year Meet

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

This year we stayed at the Raeburn hut. A great hut which we hadn't stayed in for a few years.

It offered a sheltered location from the driving wind and rain which occurred at times. Whilst no hills are on the door step, there are lots of hills, climbing and mountain biking available within a short drive (and a distillery).

Attendees (for varying length of stays between 2-8 days) Simon C, Carmen, Simon F, Debra, Annie, Peter E, Peri, Mike S, Stuart M, Peter W and Sarah W.P1000539

27th December – gave us the best day of the week. Plenty of fresh snow, blue sky and light winds until later in the day. With the best forecast for the next few days Simon and I chose a long walk to Creag Mhor (a Corbett behind Bynack More) which took 5 hrs to the summit. We would never have made it without snow shoes! Meanwhile Simon F, Debra and Peri went munro bagging with a cycle up Glen Tilt to approach an ascent of Carn A' Chlamain. The evening was rounded off nicely with Peri's poached pears and Welsh cakes (which she had prepared the night before just to keep Simon F happy).

P100056428th December – Annie, Pete E, Simon and I headed up another Corbett – The Fara. Annie cheated and hitched a lift to the start of the walk. It would have been good to do the whole ridge – but not in the very strong winds we battled against on top today. Peri enjoyed an exploratory cycle ride from the hut (especially enjoying the downhill sections). Debra cycled whilst Simon F ran around Loch Laggan (about 14 miles) and took him over his target of 1000 miles run in 2015 – so he was reasonably happy yet again.

29th December – Pete E, Annie, Mike, Simon and myself cycled up Glen Garry. While the others carried on cycling to Kinloch Rannoch and back, Simon and I dumped the bikes for a quick ascent of the Corbett Beinn P1030946Mholach. Simon and Debra went bird watching/walking around Rothiemurchus forest – finding that the birds only seem to reside in the car park.  Peri headed back to York to check the extent of the flooding.

30th December – S & D decided they would head off back to the Dales.  As forecast it was very wet and very windy so the rest of us were content with a trip to the Dalwhinnie distillery (unfortunately no tours available – but we were given a free small dram), food shopping in Aviemore followed by a stop in the Laggan cafe (the old store has now re-opened as a cafe and with a few basic shopping supplies) – a nice cafe with a proper fire and much more relaxed than Aviemore.P1000579

31st – After several failed attempts in the past Peter E and Annie enjoyed an ascent of Meall a'Bhuachaille (a Corbett behind Glen More lodge). Simon and I went up Meall na h-Aisre (a Monadhliath Corbett) from Garva Bridge. We extended the walk as conditions were really good in the morning/early afternoon. New supplies of YAC folk arrived in the evening and we stuffed ourselves with soup, haggis and cheese. Given the good conditions forecast for the 1st we were all in bed soon after midnight and were up fairly early the following day.

1st – Stuart, Peter and Sarah W, Simon C and myself went to do the classic horseshoe of Creag Meaghaidh. We remained mainly P1000631out of the cloud (with just one session of walking around in circles in the clag) with only a strong wind to contend with. Stuart and Simon entertained themselves sledging down a snow slope (repeatedly) and Sarah fell through a cornice (not over the edge thankfully). With Annie suffering from blisters and a lack of enthusiasm for cycling, Peter and Annie went up a Munro by the A9. Back at the hut Simon proved himself to be the undisputed board game champion (well Connect 4 and Scrabble).

2nd – After a slow start deciding what to do in the wind and rain – Simon and I went for a cycle around Rothiemurchus forest, with Pete and Annie opting for walking around the forest. Stuart met some people in a bothy and they joined him in his walk near the ski centre.  Peter and Sara W went Munro-bagging with ascents of Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg in the cloud.

Overall a good trip and we did quite well considering the weather. Surprisingly  we failed to make much of a dent on Annie' s drink cabinet (apart from the gin).

Some more photos here