8th to 10th February 2013 - Ochils Hut, Crianlarich
This was our first visit to Inverardran Cottage for two years and the first since the hut was extended to accommodate a large kitchen / dining area. The result is very a positive improvement, although new members Shona and Sharon found the Alpine bunks an unexpected surprise! The new kitchen provided the focus for much of the socialising over the weekend but as the evenings wore on, the open fire, good craic and perhaps a dram or two of whisky had lured even the most stalwart of radiator huggers into the intimate atmosphere of the traditional hut lounge. For the second time in as many trips, we were entertained by the Friday night comedy sketch of Kenny, Alison and their car key. Having missed the last trip after Kenny managed to lock himself out of his own car, Alison staged a commendable solo effort this time around by proving she could both lock herself out of the car and lose the spare car key in the process of trying to get back in. She arrived late but adamant that conditions would be cold enough for climbing the following day. This caused a minor fracture amongst the climbers who divided into the pessimists and the optimists.
The optimists left early on Saturday morning to seek out some climbing in Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glencoe while the rest of us enjoyed a more leisurely start and stuck to the local hills. The day was exceptionally still with hardly a breath of wind on the summits and despite mist and low cloud in the glens, many were lucky enough to enjoy a brief inversion in the morning. Paul, Fiona C and Allan headed up Beinn Chabhair, while Martin, Anne C, Alan and Anne R climbed neighbouring An Caisteal, continuing on to Beinn a’ Chroin where Martin ensured that every minor bump on the summit ridge was visited. On Ben Oss and Ben Dubhchraig to the west, Sharon enjoyed her first taste of Scottish winter conditions and climbed her first Munros to boot, in the company of the two Cla(i)res, Ian and Shona. I combined the Graham of Beinn Donachain with the Corbett of Beinn Mhic-Mhonaidh, to complete a good circuit from Glen Orchy. Making a comeback from injury, Kate was happy to walk a section of the West Highland Way.
By late afternoon all but the optimists had returned to the hut. The pessimists tried to remain optimistic that they’d not been overly pessimistic about the chances of climbing, but a few were starting to feel pessimistic about their pessimism. Eventually the optimists, a.k.a. Alison, Kenny and Tim, returned back having completed Boomerang Arete. Kenny relieved the tension in camp pessimism with his summary of the climb as ‘och it was alright’.
Snow and wind greeted us on Sunday morning and many were happy to head home early. Tim’s unquenchable optimism inspired members of the grade I gully climbing subgroup of the club to attempt Y Gully on Cruach Ardrain. Unfortunately, their efforts were thwarted by the weather and Tim, Paul and Claire had to settle for hot chocolate in the Ben More Hotel instead. On Ben Chabhair, Ian and Clare attempted to go boldly where others had been the day before, but were forced to retreat at 750 meters by deep snow, high winds and poor visibility. They found solace in the nearest pub. Taking the pessimistic view, my goal was the Graham of Beinn Suidhe from Victoria Bridge. I enjoyed a bit of everything on a great hill in some wild country, but the highlight was watching a pair of Golden Eagles scouring the hillsides below me for mountain hare.
We shall live in best of hopes.
That wind, sun, landscape will be all as
We desire upon the slopes.
(from the Gaelic song On Missing at Hunting by Duncan Ban MacIntyre)