10th to 12th December 2010 - Milehouse, Kincraig
In a week where the snow caused the M8 to shut we were wondering how easy it would be to get to the Milehouse meet at Kincraig. However, after a thaw during the week the roads up north were looking good, even for Chris who had been snowed in for two weeks and Gillian who had been spotted by Newcastle Radio earlier in the week skiing around the steets of Roker. Unfortunately, a broken heat sensor meant that early bird Anne C was greeted with a burst pipe. After clearing up as best she could with a frozen mop, Anne packed up and headed home. By this point most people who had not left home decided that Christmas shopping might be a better idea but potential new members, Paul, Megan and Dessie were not to be put off their first EMC meet and booked into Aviemore hostel with Ged .
Kenny and I headed up on Sat morning and stayed at the Dafaber estate bunkhouse, aka chez Fiona M. It was rather a scary drive as we passed 3 smashed up cars due to black ice, one blocking the outside lane just ahead of us.
On Saturday Ged, Paul, Megan and Dessie opted for cross country skiing around Badaguish, taking advantage of the Glenmore shop’s new pisting machine. Fiona M and I also went cross country skiing around Loch Morlich. Despite the thaw, the whoosh and glide conditions were pretty good. Meanwhile, Kenny cursed the thaw as he waded into Ryovan Bothy.
All of us met up on Saturday evening at the excellent Skiing Doo where plans were formed for Sunday to take advantage of lower temperatures. Ged, Dessie, Paul and Megan had nigh-on perfect conditions heading up the Fiacaill Ridge, apart from a complete lack of views! The cloud was very low and they ended up doing some compass practice on the plateau, before navigating off towards Lurchers, where they were afforded spectacular views up Lairig Ghru, with a ceiling of cloud. Walking down, they did some ice-axe arrest practice, where they learned that those £10 waterproof trousers are very slidy, and more expensive waterproof trousers are actually somewhat of a safety anti-sliding feature if you loose your footing. (note – top tip from Kenny is to carry a pair of the cheap ones for crucial bumslide opportunities). Kenny went up the goat track and round the plateau and regretted not taking in two axes as the grade 1 gullies were looking excellent. Fiona and I did Honeypot an enjoyable climb on the Mess of Pottage with a very awkward but well protected crux.
So, whilst it wasn’t quite the meet that was envisaged, in the end it didn’t turn out too badly
Link to some photos