Mike, pitch 2 of Vlad the Impaler - Mike W
22nd to 24th May 2015 - Lochinver Bunkhouse, Lochinver (Bank Holiday Weekend)
Generally, May is considered to be, if not the best month, at least a fairly reliably good month to be up the Scottish Highlands.
But this year... not so much. The Glenbrittle meet planned for the previous weekend was basically cancelled by a horrendous forecast, and members up for the intervening week had to deal with some wet and windy days and unusually cold conditions.
Fortunately Saturday was one of the better days of the month with the peaks clear of cloud; dry for most of the day and not too breezy. Members made the most of the opportunity with a big mob including Alan, Kate, Margaret and Tim headed off around the interesting (and remarkably busy) ridges of Quinag, Chris and Katrina did the Suilven traverse (East to West), Antti bagged Conival and Ben More Assynt, Claire and Philip headed up to Foinaven and Fiona and Mike went climbing on Stac Pollaidh.
Unfortunately Sunday's conditions reverted to this May's usual wind and rain. Saturday's Quinag team bagged Breabag, but the original plan to return by an extended route along the ridge to the north didn't survive a summit hailstorm and instead a swift descent was made back past the interesting "bone caves" and the curious springs where a river emerges to occupy a dry riverbed. More sensible members opted to stay low and walked out to Sandwood Bay for some kite flying, (not swimming; sea temperature was believed to be an unusually cold 7.5C) while Mike and Fiona went East in search of obscure tops behind Ben Wyvis on the way home.
A few members stayed on at the hostel until Monday (which, while still wet, was at least less windy), with Tim traversing Cul Beag (nice stalker's path up the north ridge; treacherous wet grass and slime on the south) and Claire and Antti visiting Stac Pollaidh.
The modern, clean and cosy Lochinver bunkhouse was certainly considered a success (and the restaurant/cafe/chip-shop it sits above is recommended too). Definitely one to be used again for the next visit to this spectacularly unique area!