26th to 29th August 2022 - Naismith Hut , Elphin (Late August bank hol)
What a weekend with the EMC in the far north-west! On Friday, Claire, Neil, Rhiannon, Doug and I had a long but stunning day on Seana Bhraigh, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Beinn Dearg, Cona' Mheall and Am Faochagach. Great views in all directions, stunning wilderness – I think the only thing which slightly dampened the spirit was the long and boggy descent off Am Faochagach.
Steve and Kai had quite an adventurous drive up – a burning car nearly blocked the A9 at Perth, and a crashed car then properly blocked it just after Dalwhinnie. After a detour via Laggan they did still manage to get up Stac Pollaidh and enjoyed great views from the summit.
Kate and Allan S had a leisurely drive up on Friday and got the SMC hut at Elphin ready for the rest of us; the hut was a great - and most importantly midge-protected - base for our stay. As tradition requires, Steve had brought sloe gin and banana cake and Doug has started a new malt loaf tradition – lots of deliciousness all around!
The weather got even better on Saturday. Neil and Claire originally had climbing plans – but when they realised that those would be incompatible with the opening hours of the Lochinver pie shop, they instead joined Kei on a scrambly adventure up Quinag. Despite Claire’s amazing buttresses, this wasn’t quite enough for Kai – so he also went up Conival and Ben More Assynt, whilst Claire and Neil stocked up on pies and explored the Bone Caves.
Kate and Allan had their eye on Carn Ban. They managed to drive until the Schoolhouse Bothy at Strath Mulzie, and after 2.5 hours of walking bumped into a group of stalkers. A lot of negotiations were required, and finally everyone was able to agree on a route for Kate and Allan which wouldn’t interfere with stalking – and they made it all the way to Carn Ban’s summit – and back to their car. What an achievement!
Doug and Rhi combined climbing with swimbling and had a great adventure on the sea stac Am Buachaille.
I went back to the Munros opposite Friday’s - Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Sgurr Mor, Meall Gorm and An Coileachan. Stunning views in all directions - what a day!
The weather on Sunday was a bit more traditionally Scottish - and Rhiannon, Kai, Neil, Claire and I set out for a run to and over Suilven. A lovely hill, and the remoteness in particular of the area south-east of Suilven was really quite special. More pies were acquired at Lochinver, and Claire and Neil then headed back to Edinburgh.
Steve and Doug had no views from Quinag, and Kate and Allan went up Creag Rainich from Lochivraon Bothy.
On Monday, I had a short walk up Cul Mor - initially a bit disheartened by the low cloud which made navigation a bit harder compared to the last few days I ended up so lucky with the clouds breaking, and stunning views from the summit all over Assynt. And saw some ptarmigans as a bonus, too!
Steve went up Am Faochagach on the way back to Edinburgh – his 250th Munro. Sadly he didn’t get any views, and wasn’t too impressed with the hill either.
Allan and Kate walked to the ruined fort Dun Canna, just off The Posties Path, and spent an educational time doing a little cleaning the beach of plastic; a heavy full rubbish bag.
Kai, Rhi and Doug climbed Cul Beag via the Lurgainn Edge – and absolutely loved it. In the afternoon, Rhi and Doug saw a lot of deer on “Stag” Pollaidh as well as an adder and a slow worm, went for a swimble in Loch Lurgainn, and then stayed for an extra night in the hut. They still had enough energy to do both Wyvises on Tuesday on their way back to Edinburgh!