28th to 30th January 2022 - Aite Cruinnichidh , Roybridge
For several weeks we had uncertainty if the meet could go ahead due Covid restrictions. But luckily those were lifted just in time and after having missed the complete winter season 2020/21 we finally had an EMC winter meet again. And even though the forecast wasn’t particularly inspiring we decided to make the most of it!
On Friday, PNM Steven R walked up The Fara – and whilst the summit was in the clouds and he had a few showers he did enjoy his day on the Dalwhinnie Corbett.
Tim N wasn’t far away – he climbed the two Corbetts from the Gaick Pass (An Dun and Meall Creag an Loch) and had his first wildlife highlight of the weekend – black grouse!
As the forecast had been best for the East Claire had been particularly creative and suggested to drive to Roybridge via the A9/A93. Claire and myself went for a run up Monamenach and back via parts of the Cateran Trail and were rewarded with no rain, hardly any wind and good views except on the summit – plus a red squirrel sighting.
In the hostel we were later joined by Mike W & Fiona R as well as Chris Wo and Max H (PNM). Steven obviously knew how to make friends and the cake made by his wife plus the Sloe Gin convinced everyone that he should become a proper member very soon!
Storm Malik had arrived by late Friday. On Saturday, early morning updates from the weather station up Cairnwell reported 110mph winds. Not a day for the high hills! Fiona & Mike went to the climbing wall and then to the cinema at Fort William. After a considerable amount of procrastination and staring out of the window the remaining 6 of us headed to Spean Bridge for a walk through Leanachan Forest with the ultimate goal of climbing An Guirean (a Tump for the hill baggers amongst us). The approach turned into a bit of an Odyssey as 2 footbridges marked on both, OS as Harvie maps turned out to be in a rather dilapidated state, not really fit for crossing unless hunted by red coats or brown bears. After a 14km walk-in we finally reached our little hill. Flanked by a sprawling waterfall on one side it provided a stunning viewpoint towards the Grey Corries, and we were additionally rewarded with a sighting of two Golden Eagles. It was pretty much dark by the time we were back at the cars, but we hardly got wet at all and had a very sociable day outdoors.
Back in the hostel a delicious Burn’s Supper was whipped up by many helping hands. Neil A who dropped in for a short visit on his way to the Ben arrived just in time for a strangeness of haggis, beeps, tatties getting served, followed by apple crumble. Yum!
Once storm Malik had quieted down there was a little bit of respite before storm Corrie was due to arrive – which was used by all of us for some more Corbettiering.
Steven went up Meall na Leitreach – 2 mountain hares in full white winter coat made up for the slightly dull and boggy walk with no views on the top. Tim, Chris Wo and Max went to the end of Glen Roy and did the two Carn Deargs. They had some mist on the first one, but clear views on the second, and it stayed mostly dry until they were back at the car.
Fiona, Mike, Claire and I were next door on Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor – good views from the Graham, the Corbett summit in the clouds, but spectacular views to the Parallel Roads on the descent; we even walked on one of them for quite a while.
I think we all made the most of a not particularly great forecast and had a fantastic and sociable weekend with a lot of wildlife highlights.