8th to 10th February 2008 - Lagangarbh, Glencoe
It has been suggested that one should keep notes about the mountaineering
huts one visits recording salient features such as the cunningness of the rodents,
the distance from the car and what sort of fuel the stove requires.
If this had been done then it would have been very unlikely that Ewan and
Tim would carry a sack of coal and a bag of kindling through the darkness
to a dwelling with a gas fire. Alas neither can claim that they have never
been there before and claims that they were thinking of Blackrock were laughed aside.
The silver lining transpired to be that sacks of coal are quite good at keeping
fridge doors shut.
The EMC has a wide range of members with many skills, engineers abound and lawyers lurk,
some work in arcane areas of computing and others control unimaginable sums of other peoples money.
These skills notwithstanding nobody could manage to programme the oven to stay on for more than fifteen minutes.
Hypotheses were put forth and demolished as the oven failed to respond. An instruction manual was found but,
was alas, for the previous oven. We can only conclude that the SMC exist entirely on a diet of pizza which cooks
inside the oven's time of grace.
These events managed to distract from the disturbing reality of the thaw conditions.
The total snow cover early in the week had vanished and the morning revealed no snow lying
below the cloud level. Kenny was dispatched to investigate any snow on Bidean and Ewan and
Tim took some ice axes for a walk up Curved Ridge eventually finding something to use them on
heading to crowberry gap. In a reversal of the usual state of affairs Alison was left trailing
in the wake of Fraser on a munro ticking jaunt up the wee buchaille. Returning to the hut at half
past one the discovery of a freshly delivered but somewhat damp saturday guardian on the doorstep
gave Alison something to do until everybody else returned. Anne and Martin had an accident laden trip
up a Corbett and a Graham with Martin drawing blood on a boulder and Anne finding affinity with a quagmire.
By the time darkness fell all bar two had returned. When dropped off in the morning Ron and Sara
were intent on the round of Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh, a pleasant walk with a tricky bit of navigation
if one is to avoid a walk into the heart of the Black Mount......
As time ticked onwards their goods were mentally divided out until eventually it was decided that
somebody really ought to go and look for them before we opened Ron's wine and raised a glass to the
departed. The presence of the Kingshouse Hotel between the hut and wherever the journey may have ended
was thought likely to act as a natural collecting feature for a creature of habit such as Ron. Thankfully
(for them) they had begun the walk home from the bar before they were found so allowing a certain relief
to mask any annoyance their rescuers may have been harbouring. They had indeed walked beyond the
required turning and ended up with a long march back along the west highland way for their trouble.
Once more the oven failed to be tamed and those with pasta looked smug. The discovery of a Jenga set resulted
in an epic battle between Bill and Ron - the tower growing until finally an impasse was reached and Bill was
required to commit ritual suicide to the sound of his vanquisher's cries of joy. If such nerves of
steel were directed at the crag the results would be truly awesome.
Sunday dawned gray and a late start was had by all. The sack of coal was ceremoniously carried from
its resting place to the awaiting car as eight headed towards Beinn an Dothiadh in search of the West Gully
which we were assured would still hold snow. The unseasonal warmth caused sartorial issues for those
clad with winter in mind as more and more clothes were removed as the march upwards continued. Perhaps it
was just as well that the hills were quiet that day. The discovery of a large cone of avalanche
debris in the gloom suggested that something lurked above and slowly but surely the gully was gained.
The thaw had removed the cornice thus allowing a remarkable easy exit from the gully and the plateau
was gained. The top was duly ticked and the descent enlivened by some delightful light and a breaking of
the cloud. In keeping with the previous days events Anne once more located the deepest and darkest mire