8th to 10th December 2006 - Lagangarbh
There was a good turn out of 10 members and a welcome influx of 3 new
members for the penultimate EMC meet of 2006. Most of us gathered in
the Kingshouse hotel before proceeding to the car park and short walk in
to Lagangarbh, situated directly beneath the iconic Munro of Buachaille
Etive Mor. This very well appointed SMC hut soon warmed up, and in the
absence of SMC members we were able to spread ourselves throughout the
alpine style sleeping areas. The mountain forecast was quite explicit,
a reasonably good day of sunshine and snow showers for Saturday, and
unambiguously atrocious for Sunday. Thus ambitions for the weekend were
all for the former.
Pre bedtime diversions included Alison's secret Santa present- a
bottle of red wine in bondage gear and the challenge to release it
without resort to mindless violence. Male incompetents struggled
ineffectually before Anne M asserted her superior cognitive abilities.
As a skilled yachtswoman she soon had this knotty problem solved and
the bottle popped out of its restraints. Being already 'there' as it
were, a relaxed late evening of gentle imbibing and plans for the
'morrow were discussed before retiral.
The obvious local choice on Saturday was for the 'Great Herdsman of
Etive' and two parties emerged. Alan, Anne M, Kenny and Alison C opted
for the traverse of the big Buachaille Munros from Glen Etive, whilst
new members Tanya, Ewan and friend Carolina looked after wild Bill C.
Their day involved going for the outlier Stob na Broige from Lagangarbh
first, then returning over the higher top of Stob Dearg. The standard
gully descent from the Buachaille was made interesting due to the snow
conditions and Tanya, a rookie on snow was on a 'high' requiring little
advice on use of her ice axe due to her natural abilities.
Richard and Anne C decided on an assault on Ben Starav at the foot
of Glen Etive, while myself and Alison W went for the full ridge
traverse of Sgor na h-Ulaidh. Our ascent line through semi-liquid grass
and scree slopes was arduous, but on the ridge itself the conditions
changed dramatically. There was good snow above 700m with an icy base,
and for comfort and safety we donned crampons for the final steep summit
slopes. Good views prevailed for most of the day, and the proximal
vista to Bidean and outliers was superb. President Owen took the
opportunity to explore the tops surrounding the nearby 'Devil's
staircase' pass which leads to Kinlochleven.
All of us made full use of the daylight hours, and it was a happy
and relaxed group that settled down for the evening in the hut, and
ambitions to transfer to the Kingshouse hotel bar were quietly shelved.
This presented a certain problem as Tanya had mistakenly assumed that
the evening meal would be communal. However, food on EMC club meets is
always in excess and she was able to sample a variety of offerings.
Special mention should however go to Ewan, who Jamie Oliver style
produced a beautifully presented squash and pancetta risotto with
venison sausages for himself and Carolina, perfectly complemented by a
precocious little Chateau neuf du pape.
At about 8.00pm President Owen mysteriously announced that he was
leaving, mumbling something about it was 4 hours to a 'locked maiden'
or was it Lochmaben? The sky was clearing with moon and stars appearing,
and this lycantrope disappeared into the winter night. Zzzzzz's arrived
early and even duracel bunny Alison W was tucked up in bed before
midnight but not before her usual late night cheese feast. We're
all addicted to amino acid dreams now! As forecast, the wind and rain
developed throughout the night and it was torrential horizontal rain
lashing the glen in the morning. After the usual clean up we made a dash
for the cars and the journey home. No one was tempted out and the
apposite comment from Alison W is worth repeating here. She said it was
a Jane Eyre day. Confused? Apparently the first line of this Bronte
classic is 'there was no possibility of a walk that day.'