3rd to 5th February 2023 - Mar Lodge Bunkhouse , Braemar
OFFICIAL meet report, Pauline Jones
The beautiful Mar Lodge is always a popular trip, and despite opening early for bookings to avoid Christmas and New Year was rapidly full with an extending reserve list. This resulted in the insurrection meet in Ballater! As is becoming a tradition at this meet, we planned a Burns’ Supper, with volunteers bringing not just haggis, neeps and tatties but a variety of desserts, cheeses and whisky for Saturday evening. Unfortunately one member had to drop out at short notice because of family commitments.
Given a spell of unusually mild weather, there was little snow on the hills and Saturday’s forecast suggested windy conditions and poor visibility. Steven Richardson left early and had been optimistically hoping for a ski, but had settled for 2 Corbetts. He arrived at the Lodge first, with delicious supplies of cake, whisky and sloe gin. Doug and Rhi indicated that they would travel up the following morning with the essential supplies of neeps and tatties for all. The rest of us settled in comfortably, making plans for the following day.
Saturday dawned a little brighter than expected. Steve headed out towards the Corbetts Cullardoch and Carn Liath, hitting the summit ahead of the breakaway team, whom he met lower down. Judit and Richard had headed out with the goal of Carn Bhac, but were affected by strong winds and poor visibility which resulted in their early return. Judit used the time to produce beautiful drawings of the glen.
Allan, Kate, Dave, Emma and I decided to head straight out from the hostel towards Creag Bhalg. The woodland regeneration resulting from deer control is evident everywhere, with vehicle tracks disappearing and the treeline steadily rising. We had clear views from the top of the hill, so decided to make a traverse then visit the lochan in the steep sided Clais Fhearnaig. Allan then encouraged us off the beaten track, to explore what remained of riverside tracks which had been affected by changes in the course of the Quoich. These became a little too adventurous, and in the end we had to rejoin the main track on the east side of the river.
I had received an email from Doug and Rhi, explaining that sadly they had car trouble and would be unable to join us, depriving us of their company but also neeps and tatties… when we returned to the lodge we discovered that as well as Emma heading off to the co-op, Rob Ewing had also answered the call so we had no shortage in sight!
Haggis, neeps, tatties, broccoli and no less than 3 sauces (whisky cream, peppercorn and tomato and chilli) were expertly prepared. Address to a Haggis was bravely read by Rob, toasts of whisky drunk and a delicious meal shared. The Ballater group had only one type of sauce and no broccoli, although we were assured that it was delicious all the same.
Sunday dawned dry with little wind, but some clouds capped the higher summits. Steve headed off early to Beinn Mheadhoin, this was a success and he returned safely to Mar Lodge that evening (having already made plans for an extended stay). David and I headed for Carn a Gheoidh from the south, with an increasingly large collection of toy mascots accompanying us. Kate and Allan headed for Ben Earb, bumping into Alan R (who was heading off for a run) and Anne at the car park. Emma fancied a run up Morven, having found the pace on Sunday a little slow and consequently chilly.
All in all, it was a fantastic meet and I’m sure we all feel sorry for those unable to attend.
THE INSURRECTION MEET REPORT
The places [at Mar Lodge] were STOLEN from us. So the former president organised an insurrection and a group of legitimate followers (Duncan, David T, Martha, Dan C and Gillian) gathered at Ballater and marched on the Corbetts (Creag an Dail Bheag, Culardoch and Sgor Mor) and other peaks around Braemar and ate haggis and drank whisky and exercised their rights to free speech (and nonsense). The [former] president went up the biggest hill. It was the best, you should have seen it, there weren't any hills better than that one (Beinn Bhreac). And Gillian went snowboarding at Glenshee despite the snow having also been STOLEN. And the Calcutta Cup was played and there were winners and losers.
And if anyone asks about the insurrection I should get all the credit and if they don't I shouldn't be blamed at all.
Make anoraks great again!
Insurrection report written by Claire H, uploaded by