Sgurr an Utha - and back down again! - Gillian
31st December 2001 to 2nd January 2002 - Tulloch Bunkhouse (New Year)
Heavy snow and blizzard conditions on the drive up to Tulloch on the
Saturday meant that very few hills were climbed on the first day of our
Hogmanay break. Alastair however lived true to his moto of 'an extra
hour in bed is worth 2 on the hill in the dark' as he and Alan completed
their grade 1 gully in the Cairngorms at 8pm finally arriving at the
hostel at 10pm! However eventually all 24 managed to make it through
safe and sound, apart from David who lay at home in his bed with a cold
Sunday offered a fair day's winter weather; some snow, some icy wind
but not bad views for most of the day. One party (those not inclined
to dig out their cars!) set off to do the Munros Stob Coire Sgriodain
and Chno Dearg out the back of the hostel and another group did a Corbett
out at Glenfinnan. A clutch of other hills were made by other members,
with Jonathan and Jo sensibly choosing cross-country skiing rather than
wading thigh-deep in snow like the rest of us. Bill B also chose a new
winter sport - having driven his car into a ditch, he spent the next 2
hours getting it out on his own using 'Krypton Factor' ingenuity of building up
a ramp of small stones. Car and mountaineer were both unharmed, with the
latter still gaining a summit before tea and buns back at base.
On New Year's Eve finer weather was forecast so most of the group decided it
would be a good day to bag the Ben. Unfortunately it wasn't quite as good as
promised and icy conditions slowed progress, meaning the CMD arete was only
possible for some. However everyone made it and returned back with a sense of
achievement and a tremendous appetite. Which was just as well...
In usual EMC style New Year's dinner was a feast! Mulled wine and assorted
snacks made a civilised start to the proceedings. Then a choice of homemade
soups, followed by beef casserole or vegetable rissoles with plum sauce. An
amazing array of desserts, shortbread and tablet and after dinner mints rounded
it off nicely (or finished us off - phew!). Well done to all of the cooks who
prepared the food in advance and on the day. Thanks also to Lesley, who
prepared this year's quiz, delivered in her famous Ann Robinson-style.
After two days of early morning chaos in the kitchen with people
preparing for big winter days, January 1st was a much more peaceful affair.
For many it was a day for a more relaxed pace of life. A lie in, a
delicious breakfast of leftover soup, trifle and after-eight mints (!!)
followed by a stroll to some of the less demanding local bumps. There
was also an outing to Creag Pitridh by Ann, Richard and Hywel, and of
course, David (now recovered from cold), Fiona and Alastair did some
scary climb or other.