27 December 2007 - 1 January 2008

Rob, Simon C, Carmen, Debra, Simon F, Mike, Peter, Gordon P, Gordon T, Annie, Graeme, Warwick, Karen and Andrew.

This was our third time at the Cairngorm Club hut and since our last stay some £75,000 had been spent on refurbishing the kitchen and installing a new disabled toilet. I'm not sure if we will be allowed back for a fourth trip after Mike told one of the Cairngorm Club's committee members and an ardent supporter of Scottish National Trust's 'No Cycling' campaign that no one was going to stop him from cycling on the newly restored footpaths!

On arrival at the hut, Annie and Karen were on antibiotics for advanced snot eradication, and Mike and Andrew were feeling pretty rough. By the time we left, Karen was feeling a lot better-thank you very much-, but the lurgi had spread to Debra, and Simon F felt that his immune system might be coming out in sympathy, and Annie broke a molar tooth…Oh and Pete bust a rib.

Thursday 27th Dec

Creag Leachach, Glas Maol, Carn of Claise, Tom Buidhe, Tolmont, Carn An Tuirc.
Simon C Carmen, Gordon T, Debra, Simon F
An excellent day, cold and mostly clear with some snow. 7 hours, 15 miles with 1350m of ascent. Debra and Simon F had more sense than the rest of the party, who repeated the insifnicant lumps of Tom Buidhe and Tolmont, just for the benefit of Gordon's tick list! Simon C

Friday 28th Dec

Carn Bhac, Beinn Iutharn Mhor
Simon C, Carmen, Gordon T and Peter
7 hrs 44mins, 5 miles cycling each way approach with 12 miles walking. Far harder walking than yesterday. Although the temperature had risen by 3 deg C since yesterday, it certainly didn't feel it. Some cloud, but not as much as expected. Another insignificant lump, in the form of Carn Bhac, this time for the bagging-benefit of S&C, followed by the rather more impressive (and tiring) Beinn Iutharn Mhor. Rained on the summits. Simon C

"The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella
But chiefly on the just
Because the unjust steals the just's umbrella"
Spike Milligan. (Has he paid his subs?-ed.)

Graeme and Warwick
I got up late after arriving late the previous night. We got to the car park at Lochnagar late. We walked up to the corrie too late to do a route. We walked to the summit and got back to the car late(ish). Graeme

Glas Tulaichean
Debra and Simon F
Got up late after an early night. Building on the general malaise, we set off for Glas Tulaichean - a Munro with a track almost all the way to the top. Interesting disused railway built to take Victorian hunters up the glen, and allegedly still operating until 1977. Sadly, not a very interesting hill. Simon F

Saturday 29th Dec

Debra, Simon F, Simon C, Carmen, Rob, Graeme and Warwick
It was a bright cold start to our walk, but became windy (to say the least - standing was a struggle, moving forward, more so) when we hit the col. Simon F and Carmen headed for Raeburn's Gully and the rest of the party headed for Black spout. Simon F and Debra took the main route whilst Rob, Graeme and Warwick took a right hand variation. On topping out, Rob and Warwick shouted to Simon F to throw down a rope for his party to use on the final chimney. We then staggered through the high wind to the summit and celebrated Simon and Debra's 100th Munro. In the meantime, Simon C and Carmen had an excellent climb in Raeburn's, in thin but complete condition at a good grade III. Probably the best winter route we've done, and we had it to ourselves, probably thanks to an over-pessimistic weather forecast. It started snowing half way up. We topped out at 4pm, in plenty of time, but spoilt it all by getting ever so slightly lost on the way back to the car park and arrived 90 minutes after the rest of the party. Simon F & C

Glen Luibeg to Glen Dee mountain bike ride
Peter and Mike
We cycled from the hut up to Derry Lodge and into Glen Luibeg, crossing the river at the Luibeg Bridge, instead of fording the Luibeg Burn. In retrospect, it might have been better to have risked the cold water of the ford because we had to push/carry the bikes the last 100 metres to the bridge. After the bridge, we cycled into a horizontal snow storm as we attempted to follow the burn Allt Preas nam Meirleach. At one point Mike berated Peter because he was getting cold waiting and did not want a near death experience. Peter was lagging behind and Mike did not want to freeze to death in cycling kit at 600 metres. Luckily, once in Glen Dee the snowstorm stopped and we travelled south along a technically difficult and icy path. Some sections of the path had once been boggy, but had had been improved, leaving the rest of the track still awkward and swampy. After we reached the White Bridge, it was mostly easy riding downhill back to the Linn of Dee and home. Peter

Sunday 30th December
Lovely, cold, still, bright day

Debra and Simon F
Wandered up The Cairnwell and took in Carn a Gheoidh on the way back. Not a lot else you can say about these rather uninspiring hills - the views were good though! Simon

Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Carn a' Mhaim
Simon and Carmen
Cycled up to Derry Lodge and strolled over Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Carn a' Mhaim in superb, though very cold, conditions. Passed someone in the glen wearing shorts - it was -5C at the time. We had fantastic views from the summit and were joined by masses of people on Ben Macdui - some carrying skis. Made it onto the track back to Derry Lodge before dark. 1580 metres of ascent, a long, long walk. Simon C

Rob and Warwick
Walked for the third time to the crags of Lochnagar and succeeded in climbing Raeburn's Gully. Marvellous day out, with a great stew to finish. Rob

"Dome shaped Munros"
Mike, Peter and Gordon T
Cycled up the track beyond Derry Lodge and walked up said "Dome shaped Munros". Nice and sunny, crisp snow and lots of ice on the footpaths. Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn. Peter cracked a rib when he fell into a burn whilst trying to step across it on icy rocks. Mike

Glen Slugain to Glen Quoich mountain bike ride
According to a Mar Lodge Estate leaflet, Scottish National Trust had recently built some new paths linking Glen Quoich to Glen Slugain. I decided to see if this new route existed and was ridable. The Landrover track up Glen Slugain extends up onto the start of the plateau south of Beinn a Bhuird. (I failed to find Gordon P's "Secret Bothy" on route.) From the end of the Landrover track I could make out the new track snaking off towards Ben Avon to the east and westwards towards Glen Quoich. As it was already 2.30pm, I wanted to join this new track whilst it was still visible so cycled across country down to the ford of Quoich Water. Unfortunately, from this low lying position, I lost sight of the new track, so made the completely wrong decision to stick to a faint track that went in the right direction on the 'right' side of the burn. After 500 metres of jungle bashing, I forded the burn and eventually found the new track cunningly hidden in the heather. After a push of perhaps a kilometre, the new track joined the original Landrover track that climbs high up on the east side of Glen Quoich. I had great fun crashing through the ice on the puddles of this track, which ended in a rapid downhill onto the tarmaced road at Allanaquoich. Andrew

Ann and Karen
Walked to Tomintoul from Braemar (the Tomintoul very, very near Braemar -ed.), and had enough energy left to ascend to the base of the 'Lions Face' on the way back. Ann

Monday 31st December

The Cairnwell, Carn a Gheoidh, and Carn Aosda
Rob, Simon C and Carmen

A dreary day, so we did some dreary hills, the sort that you only do so you can tick them on a list, and never ever go back to. This was
the 3rd time I've climbed them. Carmen was navigatrix-in-chief, much to her consternation and our amusement. Unfortunately she spoiled our jolly japes by not getting lost. Simon

The Secret Bothy of Glen Slugain
Gordon P
He failed to find it.

Social Meet - New Year's Eve Celebrations
The celebratory meal started well - with a stabbing. One of the Cairngorm Club members kindly offered to address our haggis with a verse or two from Rabbie Burns. After a few lines of mumbo jumbo, she plunged a carving knife into the poor haggis with such force that the knife shattered the haggis' serving plate. As Pete was suffering from his bust rib, we all took pity on him and declared the remainder of 2007 should be a 'Kind To Peter' time zone. Naturally, it all went very quiet for a while, but soon the booze took over, and everyone tried to outdo Mike at his version of whispering. We crawled into bed at 2.30am after a hilarious game of Pictionary.

So ended another successful New Year's meet, and one with more than its fair share of decent weather. If only they were all like this (apart from everybody being ill of course)!