Fiona & Ian - Meall Chuaich summit - Mike W
7th to 9th December 2012 - Sgorans Lodge, Lagganlia Glenfeshie
As mountaineers, do we enjoy winter because we like suffering in the cold or do we thrive off the sense of achievement from pitting ourselves against the elements and surviving? I would defy anyone to enjoy the sensation of hot aches induced nausea, which I suffered for the first time after seconding Fiona M up the superb first pitch of Hidden Chimney Direct in Coire an t-Sneachda. Thankfully the feeling quickly passed as the blood flow returned to my finger tips. As Tim led off on the second pitch the cloud lifted briefly to reveal a handful of climbers below us in the coire. Most had turned back, discouraged by the wind and low cloud but after Saturday’s brief thaw, an overnight frost had brought the cliffs into superb condition and we enjoyed excellent ice from start to finish. Further south on Meall Chuaich, Mike, Fiona and Ians’ perseverance in high winds and squally snow showers was rewarded with a cloud free summit and good views. At House of Bruar, Anne C and Martin (who was feeling unwell) made a particularly tricky traverse of the ice covered car park en route to the coffee shop.
The day before, various parties had set out to explore the hills of Glen Feshie. There was a good covering of snow on the hills, but after several days of hard frosts, temperatures rose steadily through the day. With high winds forecast for the afternoon, early starts were the order of the day. Anne C rebuffed all suggestions of completing her round of Munros on Mullach Clach a Bhlair and instead joined Tim, Ian, Martin and myself on the Corbetts at the head of Glen Feshie. Looking for a big winter day, Tim, Ian and I trudged out to Leathad an Taobhain in the snow, before returning to follow Anne and Martins' footsteps back over Carn Dearg Mor. On the east side of Glen Feshie, Kenny, Alison, Alan and Anne walked up to the The Argyll Stone on the main Feshie Ridge, Pete and Sara joined up with Rebecca and Ali on Mullach Clach a Bhlair in whiteout conditions, and Fiona R tried out her new snowshoes with Mike on Carn Ban Mor.
Our accommodation for the trip was the spacious Sgoran’s Lodge at Lagganlia Outdoor Centre, funded by the good taxpayers of the City of Edinburgh. An excellent venue in a good location, I hope this will become a regular on our calendar. Friday night in the lodge was greatly enlivened by the fitting of Rebecca’s new yeti gaiters. Our resident yeti fitting guru was eventually reduced to warming the gaiters in the oven to soften the rubber and very soon there were at least five members (all male) engaged in a friendly rivalry to fit the gaiters first. In the end, two of the competitors pooled their resources and found the winning formula with an upturned chair, two knives and a bit of muscle. And after all that effort, the rand still popped off the toe when Rebecca wore them on the hill the next day!