31st December 2014 to 3rd January 2015 - Kintail Outdoor Centre, Morvich Wester Ross (New Year 2014)
As usual for a new year meet there was a fair bit going on, a few sore heads, a Cathy led rendition of Auld Langs Syne, a guest appearance by Pip the Soprano Pipistrelle bat, a mountain of vegetables, a cocoa incident, Harry project managing the meal, a lot of rain and a couple of good winter days on the hills.
We all arrived on Hogmanay after a pretty wet drive up the road. Once established in front of the stove the drink began to flow, we had Mike`s home brew beer, various whiskies,finnish vodka which was like drinking liquorice allsorts (an acquired taste of Annti`s!), raspberry vodka and other libations. At the bells Cathy was surprised by the now customary stiff upper lip EMC reserve of barely an acknowledgement we have slipped into a New Year and decided to put this to rights by leading us into the foyer where we sang a hearty rendition of Auld Langs Syne. Will this new found lack of reserve catch on for next year!
The weather the next morning was its fair to say a tad wet. The river next to the hostel had risen alarmingly, so much so we ended up moving the cars down the road later in the day as we feared the river would burst its banks. A group consisting of Kenny, Alison, Margaret, Fiona C, Nigel, Mike, Fiona R and Harry went for a wee Kenny coastal walk at Broadford, it was by all accounts a disappointing affair. This was followed by a forest walk at Balmacara which resulted in them getting lost so not the most auspicious start to the year! Myself, Martin, Gillian, Fiona M and Cathy decided that a summit was the only way to start the year so we swam up the nearby Corbett Sgurr an Airgid, it was very very wet. The remainder of the group didn’t venture too far, blaming the 3am finish the previous evening, the youth of today, no stamina!
Attention then turned to the traditional communal meal, without Anne to keep us right we were leaderless and slightly concerned about how it would come together. Suggestions were made about skyping Anne or checking our smart phones for a suitable app but never fear, Harry stepped into the breach and led the way. Times for putting the oven on, what time the veg was to go on (did I mention there was a lot of veg!), times for the main dishes were all project managed by Harry and low and behold at 730 we had a fantastic meal. Nigel managed to blemish the copybook by deciding to throw cocoa all over himself and the oven but despite this his Zuccottodessert was delicious. The quiz followed dessert with the quizmaster Fiona R standing on a seat to assert her authority, in a change to the norm the team with Kenny didn’t win the quiz this year. Nigel, Alison, Fiona M and Cathy being victorious.
At breakfast the next morning while tucking into our porridge something dark fell down from the curtains, hit my arm and then half flew slightly dazed and ended up on the floor. After some confusion about what had happened we recovered enough to realise it was a bat. CLAIRE, CLAIRE, the shout went up as our resident bat expert was summoned from the kitchen. Claire advised it was a Soprano Pipistrelle bat which had got confused in where it was meant to be hibernating. After giving it a wee drink of water Claire re-housed our bat out of morvich to a more suitable location.
The weather was vastly improved and myself, Martin, Mike, Fiona R, Fiona M, Dave, Pauline set off to the nearby GrahamCarnan Cruithneachd, closely followed by Fiona C, Alison, Margaret and Gillian. This was a great wee hill with good views on a typical January winters day. Claire and Anttiwent for a low level 20km run near Glenelg and Kenny redeemed himself by doing a nice wee 13km coastal walk starting at the Glenelg ferry. Nigel went further afield to do a Marilyn near Loch Ness. That evening despite Harry not being around another fine meal was pulled together led this time by Alison who used all she had learned from Harry the previous evening. And still the veg pile didn’t go down.
No bats appeared at breakfast on the final morning, everyone went off home with bags of veg and the weather had improved again. Claire and Annti went off to BeinnSgritheall, Cathy off to the Corbett Meall Dubh, Mike, Fiona R, myself, Martin, Alison and Fiona M had an excellent day on the 3 munros known as the brothers on the north side of Glen Shiel. Gillian went off to bag a graham as did Nigel and Kenny went to the hill above Loch Ness Nigel had been on the previous day.
A great meet to start the year, thanks to everyone for providing all the food, the quiz, the coal and for helping out to make it such a good few days.