Gillian and Stac Pollaidh - Alison C
29th to 31st December 2006 - Ullapool (New Year)
The New year celebrations may have been cancelled in Edinburgh but
the EMC and the FBI in Ullapool were made of sterner stuff. This was
our first visit to Scotpackers hostel and on Friday evening we relaxed
in the toasty sitting room checking out the MWIS forecast - 120mph winds,
chances of cloud free munros 10%, wind chill severe, going to extreme
Funnily enough the next day looked sort of OK, at least relative to
the prediction. Even more bizarrely, although it was hellish windy on
Cul Mor in the vicinity of the corries, once we got to the summit we
experienced a mysterious calm and some good views. Good enough to hang
about for half an hour watching a load of brockenspectres. The other
hills done that day were Braebag and Ben More Coigach.
On Hogmanay a big front was crossing the country. Resident
meteorologist Alison M was confidently predicting that the front was
slow moving and that far north was best (Shetland anyone?). She duly
left with the other Anne at the crack of dawn for Quinag. The rest of
us were not quite as dedicated. The boys all went for separate trips,
leaving us girlies to face the access problems at Braemore junction on
our own. A bit tough as it required us to creep quietly past the
gatehouse without saying a word. We lost our nerve further down at the
lodge and deviated through the back of the forest. The "slow moving"
front seemed to have come in just as we reached the summit of our Corbett,
prompting a split in the group with Fiona very generously noting that as
Sara wasn't wanting to go on to the neighbouring Graham she would be
willing to "accompany" her down.
The group we were sharing with let us partake in their pre dinner
Pims and Gin and tonics - nice to have some sophistication in the EMC-
before we got down to the task of making dinner to Air guitar II and
then heading off to the FBI (Ferry Boat Inn) for the Bells. Alison W
had managed to drink them out of An Teallach draught and bottled and
was presented with a free T-shirt for her efforts.
Now usually the EMC is nicely tucked up in bed just after midnight
on Ne-er day (or in Pa Broon's case several hours before the Bells) but
things were getting a bit more lively with party games starting next
door. Chubby Bunnies was first on offer. This was followed by various
people demonstrating alarming degrees of flexibility (or in my case not)
by attempting to
pick up small bits of cardboard from the floor using their teeth but
without touching the floor with anything but their feet. The other group
turned out to be particularly bendy and only one person was able
to compete for the EMC side in the latter stages. Alison W finally
restored the EMC pride by winning the
woman's leg wrestling competition.
No sign of the other group in the morning. Gillian, Fiona, Sara and
myself enjoyed rather a wild day on Beinn an Eoin with hail, wind, rain,
thunder and lightening but some good views in between the squalls.
Kenny, Richard and Alan were heading home and opted for Beinn Dearg
with some apparently awful breakable crust snow conditions which gave
Alan the opportunity to demonstrate his awesome trailing breaking ability.
All in all, a really good New year with a great relaxed atmosphere.