15th to 18th October 2021 - Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse Durness , Durness
The Durness meet had originally be planned for May 2020 – but as so many things in life Covid caused quite a bit of a delay to this.
Given that it’s quite a track to get to Durness, several meet attendees tried to make the most of it by already starting their weekend activities on Friday. The higher hills like Ben More Assynt & Conival and Foinaven had a dusting of snow already – showing that winter now wasn’t far off. Early showers changed to sunshine, and a beautiful – but cold – autumn day was to be had. Chris R and Emma C headed up Ben Klibreck. Nigel went up a couple of hills opposite Cranstackie and visited Handa Island. Mike, Fiona and myself went up Càrn an Tionail & Beinn Direach and had great views over to Ben Hope – the mountain most of us would climb on Saturday.
Over the course of the evening also the rest of the meet attendees arrived in the Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse at Durness – some however only after most had gone to bed already.
Saturday was a day a lot of us had in the calendar since quite a while – Emma Y had set this day to compleat her Munros on Ben Hope. Nigel, Mike, Fiona, Chris, Emma C, Andrew (PNM), Max (PNM), Kamila and myself met up with Emma Y and quite a few other EMC members who all stayed at the bunkhouse/campsite in Tongue – Fiona M, Fiona C, Alison C, Shireen plus another 6 friends of Emma’s to form a 20 people strong party to head up Ben Hope. For the last few steps of Emma’s journey to compleation we formed the traditional walking pole tunnel – and Emma was dancing through the tunnel to the summit of the most northerly Munro. Well done, Emma! We celebrated in style with 2 bottles of Cava/Prosecco, a plum cake, and contents of several hip flasks. After a group summit jump we made our journey back to the cars. Afterwards there was another cake, tea and coffee at Tongue.
Alison and Kamila went for swims at different beaches. Fiona, Mike, Nigel and I stopped off at Smoo Cave for a bit of touristy fun on the way back to Durness – quite impressive I have to say!
As Roz (PNM) had been up Ben Hope just earlier this year she had opted for Meall Horn & Sabhal Beag instead of joining the big group, and had a good day on her Corbett-Graham walk.
Whilst I went for an evening run on the Durness peninsula dodging hundreds of rabbits and their burrow holes and Kamila went for yet another swim, Nigel made one of his famous sticky toffee puddings (STPs) in the bunkhouse. An orderly queue was formed and then silence settled over the bunkhouse lounge – only interrupted by the occasional “mmmh”, “yum”, “oooh, nice!”. I think this might have been the best ever of Nigel’s STPs!
Not one – but two – false fire alarms kept us up during the night. Max demonstrated his ability to set priorities – whilst he didn’t wear a T-shirt, he did wear a face covering at 2am.
On Sunday, Max and Andrew had a good (but wet) day on Ben More Assynt & Conival. Max’ US waterproofs turned out not to be proof against Scottish rain – but he still thoroughly enjoyed the day. Fiona & Mike went up Meall Horn & Sabhal Beag, Kamila went for Arkle, Chris, Emma C and I up Foinaven. No views, mizzle and a cold wind dominated most of the day – but we still all had a good day. Roz and Nigel had to head back to Edinburgh today – Roz opted for Càrn an Tionail & Beinn Direach on her way home, and Nigel for Ben Dreavie.
On Monday, Andrew, Max, Fiona, Mike and I made use of the decent weather window in the morning and headed up Ben Stack. Strong winds made for quite an exciting walk along the summit ridge, and luckily the clouds at the summit broke from time to time and we got great views over to Fionaven and Arkle. Kamila had opted to go for another swim before heading up Ben Stack as well – and we briefly met each other on our respective descent/ascent before heading back to Edinburgh.