9th to 11th December 2022 - Glencoe Indep Hostel , Glencoe
The Glencoe meet was a fabulous start to the winter season 2022/23. Quite a few meet attendees started their weekend early. Tim D took the bus up on Wednesday and spent 2 days and 2 nights backpacking around Sgòr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh in sub-zero temperatures. Claire and Doug were glad about their microspikes on Beinn Dòrain & Beinn an Dòthaidh. Chris Re and Kai enjoyed a wintry day on Meall Ghaordaidh, and Mike and Fiona ticked one of the new Grahams/Dawsons. Dan and myself only left Edinburgh midday, but still managed to squeeze in a Graham (Meall Buidhe) on the way up.
Over the evening, also Rob E, John G, Andrew W, Pauline, Dave J and Becks arrived at the newly renovated Alpine Bunkhouse at the Heart of Glencoe. We all admired the new cosy wall-mounted bunks which featured curtains for sound- and light-proofness, handy shelves at the head end with sockets for charging all our gadgets, as well as the grand table in the kitchen which features local maps under a glass plate – ideal for planning the weekend’s adventures!
On Saturday, Bidean nam Bian was scaled from various directions in quite good conditions but with clouds covering the Munros and only breaking from time to time. Mike and Fiona ascended from the Lairig Eilde via the easy winter climb of Sron na Lairig. They then continued onto Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean nan Bian where they met Doug, Dan, John and Tim who had ascended via the zig-zags and headed down via Coire nam Beitheach. Claire and myself had gone up Beinn Maol Chalium and were initially planning a link-up with Bidean – but the steepness of the slope looked very uninviting given the slippry conditions under foot. We therefore descended the way we came and went for a trail run from the hostel to Glencoe Lochan, then to the Clachaig for a pint and chips (plus giving Scotland sight seeing advice to a Dutch mum and daughter), and back to the hostel.
Andrew had a long solo bagging day on Stob Coir'an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun which “was very icy, took forever, and was really quite annoying”.
Rob, Pauline, Dave and Becks headed up Stob na Bròige which was on Rob’s tick list and returned along the Buachaille Etive Mòr ridge but skipping the second Munro. You can be choosy when you’ve done them before!
Kai and Chris were Mamores-bound – they set off together for Binnein Beag, Chris then returned via Sgurr Eilde Mor whilst Kai took in Binnein Mor and Na Gruagaichean.
Claire’s doomsday “the Clachaig is full” message made everyone scramble about in the evening and hurry to the pub. Whilst Chris’ fancy ecar is great for the environment, it isn’t high enough for tall men with bobble hats – Doug hat to sit slightly stooped. Andrew – who was just on his way back to the hostel as we were heading to the pub – got quite irritated by Chris having his head lights on so Andrew couldn’t see anything, and Chris didn’t realise what the problem was (or who was in the other car flashing its headlights) – but everything got worked out in the end and we found the Clachaig lounge mostly empty. A big group of us still had a lovely evening with delicious food, pints and dessert.
Sunday’s weather was just amazing. Doug, Claire and I did a circular route of the Black Mount from the Ski Centre, with the first Munro (Meall a' Bhuiridh) for sunrise. The cloud came in a bit for Creise but then lifted again, and we reached our 4th Munro (Stob a'Choire Odhair) for sunset. The return along the West Highland Way felt quite long and was freezing thanks to a temperature inversion affecting the glen level – and the walk was captioned “another Chopkins Death March” by folk who were lucky to have made alternative plans. They don’t know what they’ve missed out on!
Andrew had a nice day in the Black Mount, too, and went up Stob a'Choire Odhair.
Mike and Fiona headed up Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean from the South. Starting above Fort William they slipped and slithered along the West Highland Way for 6km or so then up the crazy steep SW ridge of Stob Ban. Mike was muttering about having been dragged on a death walk not approving of Fiona's alternative route. Once the slog uphill was over they were rewarded with stunning 360 degree views.
Kai had saved Bidean nam Bian for a perfect day – and got what he was waiting for – grand views in all directions.
Becks, Dan, John and Tim had a blue sky day up up Beinn a' Chrùlaiste, and Pauline and Dave enjoyed the great weather on Beinn nam Imrean.
Chris went up Ben Ledi on the way home – and left many people envious of his nice grippy microspikes!
Fingers crossed we get many more winter meets like this one this season!