Early morning Vrackie-bagging by Claire and Neil - Claire H
10th to 12th December 2021 - Moulin Hotel, Pitlochry (Dinner meet)
A few of the group made the most of the weather on the Friday and started their adventures a day early - Fiona and Mike ski touring in the Cairngorms and Alan and Anne in Glen Lyon.
As usual with EMC meets, people arrived all evening and the cosy bar at the Moulin became the ‘meet and greet’ point for our group albeit social distancing meant there was no standing around the bar and masks were duly worn when moving around. Plans were hatched for the following morning which was looking to be wet and chilly.
Saturday brought better weather than expected - slippy underfoot but much drier than forecast. Claire H and Neil made an early start with a pre-breakfast walk up Ben Vrackie. Martha, Anne, Alison C and Kenny headed up some Marilyn’s - Meall Chomraidh & Sron Smeur - and reported a soggy trip. Duncan and Keith had a morning walk up Vrackie too followed by mountain biking for Duncan and shopping for Xmas lights in Pitlochry for Keith (surely a first for an EMC meet?!). Allan S, Kate, Emma, Fiona, Shirleen, Marlene, Gillian and Margaret headed for a walk over the Ben Vrackie beallach and ended up climbing the Corbett given the weather was better than expected. They had their spikes on most of the way. Alan R did a run from the hotel, Tim N did a Corbett up Glen Tilt, Alison F and Ken did a circular forest walk towards Bruar. Fiona and Mike climbed Meall Dearg from Amulree. Ali, Rebecca and Pauline were the most ambitious of the group - heading for a Munro that Rebecca still had to do and returning just in time for their starters.
The Moulin hotel looked after us well and we all enjoyed Christmas dinner in the evening followed by Claire’s presidential address and awards. She talked about the challenges of lock-down with cancelled meets and not getting to the hills but reminded us too of all the good things that it brought - zoom pub nights, what’s app groups and members coming together to do what they could. The Martin award had a slight change of theme this year (usually for a very long / unusual link up hill day) and it went to Fiona M and Susan J for meeting up in the middle of the Cairngorm Plateau one day last year- one having journeyed from Aviemore in the north and the other from her council area in the south - on one of their birthdays. While it was a brief meet-up it was a fantastic two-pronged adventure and very much in the spirit of friendship. There was a new award this year too - the Poulet D’Or; a wordplay on the Piolet d’Or which is a prestigious international award given annually to a person or team of hardcore climbers usually for a new route on a high mountain. The EMC version is intended to be tongue-in-cheek and given to those who either opt out of a route (for an amusing reason) or admit to an amusing error of judgement. This year’s choice of Alison C for her part in #Swanrescue and the #fakeswan debacle appeared to be very popular with those at the meet and caused much laughter and some new what's app members too.
Sunday brought a better day and everyone headed off in different directions and a range of activities. Duncan, Claire H and Neil made it to the Glenshee slopes for some skiing action and had a pretty good outing despite the thaw firmly having set in by the PM, Martha and Alison C did a run over the Vrackie beallach and back via Killiecrankie and there were a couple of groups up the graham Blath Bhaig - Alan and Anne forming an early party and Tim B, Gillian, Kate and Allan S a later one. Alison and Ken were up Ben Vrackie where there was a skater on Loch a Choire making the most of the ice before the thaw had too much of an impact. Fiona and Mike did another soggy Perthshire Graham - Beinn na Gainimh.
All in all a really good weekend. It was great to be together again having had a break from our dinner meet last year in the midst of covid.