Archive for January, 2012

New Year in Elphin

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

For the New Year meet this year, we headed to Elphin, north of Ullapool – a long way away, but one of the best parts of Scotland. If the weather played ball there are fantastic walks to be had, and fantastic winter climbing.

Of course the weather wasn't cooperative, but we all had a great time anyway.

On what turned out to be the clearest weather of the week, Ben, Carmen and I walked up the trio of Corbetts that make up Quinag. Carmen had been waiting for years to do this hill, rain always previously stopping play. Despite being snow-free and cloudy, the summits were clear, and it stayed dry. Simon & Debra meanwhile went up Cul Mor, another Corbett near the hut.

Peri, Peter, and Annie now arrived, and with them came storms. The next day was so bad that apart from a few short forays to view some waterfalls being blown upward near the hut, the farthest we got was to the excellent Lochinver Pie Shop.

The forecast for the following day wasn't promising, but Ben, Peri, Carmen and I got out anyway, and had an exciting day in the snow on the Corbett Glas Bheinn. On the col which followed the wind was so strong we were struggling to move, but we persevered in the hope that the wind was being funnelled through the gap and would be better higher up – and so it proved, so we continued to traverse over Beinn Uidhe before descending to the car we'd left at Inchnadamph.

Ben Mor Coigach was our objective the next day, with more snow due before a thaw, but crucially with light winds at first which we hoped would allow us to get across the narrow ridge before conditions worsened. It worked out quite well, with good views (and even – very briefly – some sun). The traverse continued around to Sgurr an Fhidleir, with views of the classic HVS rock climb (and grade-silly winter climb) of the Fiddler's Nose following the main arete. The threatend thaw duly arrived on the last hill, and the snow turned quickly to rain, so we fled back to the cars.

Another wet day saw some on a coastal walk to the Old Man of Stoer sea stack, and others walking/cycling to Sandwood Bay.

On the final day, we did another fine walk, traversing the Corbett of Breabag near Inchnadamph. The snow had all gone, but new snow arrived during the day. A fine trackless hill, there'd be a well-worn path if it were just 100m higher!

Not the best week's weather we've had, but far from the worst, and a trip to the far north west is always good. No Munros, but 6 Corbetts and a Graham (whatever one of those is). We still need to go back to do some of the winter routes!

More photos here
Debra's photos here
Peri's photos here