29th December 2019 to 1st January 2020 - Kintail Outdoor Centre, Morvich (New year)
The weather forecast did not bode well for our annual New Year meet however, as so often happens, it didn’t quite live up to expectations, for the good! We enjoyed some dry spells and a glorious Hogmanay. Certainly a lot better than the winds and deluge we experienced last year.
Twenty members arrived at Kintail Outdoor Centre at various times on the Sunday. Some braved the weather and had a day on the hill beforehand, whilst others arrived straight from Edinburgh.
After a few false starts, Fiona took charge and the stove was soon burning bright and giving out some welcome heat, as we gathered round to make plans for the next few days. First on the list was Neil’s expected Munro compleation on Beinn Sgritheall and a departure time of 9.30am was agreed, as the weather was due to improve as the day went on. It was a damp start, with some snow flurries on the summit, where 16 members helped Neil to celebrate with some fizz. The cloud then promptly started to break up, with patches of blue sky appearing, giving tremendous views. Alan, Fiona M, Alex and Susan went on to the Munro Top whilst the others descended via the west ridge and down to the road.
The evening brought the first of two huge communal meals and chat round the cosy fire. Much easier to start, now that the damp kindling and coal had dried out! The fire was very welcome as the skies cleared, the stars came out and the temperature dropped. A keen overnight frost gave way to a stunning blue sky with any cloud above the tops – perfect! Various teams set out with different objectives in mind to make the most of the day, Fiona C and Clare headed up Glen Lichd and onto Ben Attow, Fiona M also took in Ben Attow along with A Glas Bheinn while Claire, Alison, Mike and Fiona did various combinations of the hills North of the Cluanie Inn taking in a deleted Munro top on Mullach Fraoch Choire. Kenny was also nearby taking in a couple of Munros on the South Cluanie ridge, Emma C, Chris Ro and Martha tackled the brothers and Neil and Alan had a run along the sisters. Nigel was on Skye taking in a few Marilyns and David and Gillian went round to bag the Graham Beinn a Chapuill. The walk of the day though was Alex who set off at 6.30am and took in An Socach, Mullach na Dhearagian and Chrysanthemum returning to the hostel about 12 hours later. In other words, people on hills everywhere, a great way to see out the year.
Another communal meal, the usual quiz hosted by Alan and some games organised by David filled the evening. It was soon time to grab a mug of mulled wine and go out to enjoy the ‘Bells’ fireworks and Clare’s fire spinning display.
The weather on the 1st was overcast but dry and despite a very windy forecast a good number of hills were first footed, a group of Anne, Alan, Fiona, Gillian, Nigel started the year on a Marilyn near Dornie, which saw Alison and Kenny descending some vertical heather, these Marilyns are certainly not easy! Other hills first footed included A Glas Bheinn, with Chris finally getting to use his binoculars when a golden eagle was spotted.
Most were able to stay an extra night and enjoyed finishing off the excellent puddings, as if we hadn’t had enough already! Unfortunately the wind and rain started in the evening and didn’t stop the next morning so, some packed up and went home and others made plans for their extended stay in the North.
Another active, enjoyable, social, weight inducing New Year meet was over. Thanks to everyone for their contributions, whether it was food, cooking, washing up, entertainment, cleaning, etc., it all helped to make another successful meet.