Glen Etive
21-24 April 2000

Nineteen rather apprehensive mountaineers set off for an unknown hut in Glen Etive with 13 beds and a small area of land on which to pitch some tents. Amongst its amenities the hut boasted a composting toilet and a stream 80 metres away to provide some washing facilities and drinking water. Some of us had visions of a small, damp stone shack a bit like a bothy. The nearest pub, at 8 miles away, was not close if things turned out grim.

On our arrival everyone was pleasantly surprised by the pine panelled walls, ample seating area, and well equipped kitchen. An open fire kept the living room warm and cosy and communal meals of a professional standard were prepared each evening. The weather also turned out to be very good with several of the party returning home with a glowing complexion. The views from the mountain tops were superb with the Cairngorm plateau visible in the distance over Rannoch Moor. The wildlife in the surrounding area made itself known: a cuckoo was heard calling; and the Easter Bunny made a more silent visit on Sunday morning leaving no trace except a large number of chocolate eggs.

In terms of mountaineering, the trip was very successful. Members of the club stood on top of a total of 17 Munros over the four days. Other activities included: climbing in Glen Nevis; mountain biking up the West Highland Way over the Devil's Staircase; scrambling and climbing routes on Buachille Etive Mor and Beinn a Chrulaiste; and a walk along the shores of Loch Etive. No Alpine Club members joined the handful of dedicated enthusiasts skiing the rather small patches of snow on the White Corries range of Meall a Bhuiridh.

Peter was reduced to a gibbering wreck by the first day's mammoth stomp over three Munros with Gordon T and Simon C (Mel, Tom and Carmen having wisely decided to turn back earlier). He was muttering incoherently when he returned to the hut for tea. Later when he had recovered his composure he resolved to go climbing the next day because "it's not so hard." However, Saturday saw him inventing the new Evans hold, by jamming his helmet between
the rock and a tree (while wearing the said helmet) he managed to keep himself from slipping downwards.

On Saturday a small party from YAC set off up Buachille Etive Mor. They had reached the col below the summit just in time for lunch. At least that is what one member with tired legs on a second major expedition in two days had hoped. But the decision was taken to move a little further on to escape the crowds, prompting a loud cry of "bastard" for the whole mountain to hear. On reaching the summit a party was in full swing. A fifty year old had climbed up to celebrate his half century and was sipping champagne in, appropriately enough, his birthday suit.

Ask Annie about the descent down the vertical north face of Sron na Creise on a day when she hadn't wanted to do any scrambling. A stiff drink at the Kingshouse was required at the end of the walk.