7th to 10th April 2023 - Craignure Bunk House, Mull (Easter )
It wasn’t that long ago that a group of EMCers set out for a trip to Mull – but given that on that day in November 2022 the weather forecast was for heavy rain and 66mph winds gusting at 77mph, those who were coming back to Mull for the Easter 2023 weekend were relieved to see a mostly positive forecast ahead of us.
Whilst at the recent Loch Ossian meet a last minute train cancellation made for slightly stressful travel conditions, the Mull meet was hit by various ferry issues. Advance booking on the Oban-Craignure ferry was severely limited as Calmac was operating a reduced service – and then also the Corran ferry had broken down on Friday morning.
Fiona C was the first one to start her Mull journey when she drove to Oban on Thursday night. After a stay at the Oban bunkhouse (plus paying an extortionate amount for long term parking) she set over to Mull early Friday morning as a foot passenger and enjoyed sunshine, blue sky and low winds on Dun da Gaoithe with views in all directions.
Dan and Dougie had an early start from Fife, set over via the Lochaline ferry and then had a stunning day on A’Chioch and Ben More.
Fiona M ticked 2 Grahams on her way (Beinn Bheag, Sgorr Mhic Eacharna) before meeting up with Alison C & Kenny. Those two had been up Beinn Chlaonleud, a Marilyn, earlier in the day, and then proceeded for some climbing on Mull with Fiona.
Emma Y, Joh and I broke up our journey on Meall Odhar, a Graham at Tyndrum. And Gillian had a great day on Beinn Mheadhonach, a Graham at Loch Etive.
After a long and stressful search for a parking place Hamish eventually found a great option at the train station, and we all congregated in the Craignure Bunkhouse, making plans for Saturday.
The wind had picked up a bit on Saturday, but the forecast still promised a good day in the hills. 7 of us set off for Ben More in 2 groups. Fiona C, Fiona M, Joh and Emma headed up the ridge of Beinn Fhada, whilst Alison, Hamish and I went up Beinn Ghraig, a Marilyn, first, before meeting the rest just off the summit of Beinn Fhada. Together we then carried on to A’Chioch and Ben More – it was a bit blowy in parts which made the scramble (expertly led by Alison and Fiona M) slightly more exciting than anticipated. We were rewarded with stunning views in all directions – and at last I did get a summit jump on Ben More’s summit, which was impossible back in November.
Kenny, Dan and Dougie went up Dun da Gaoithe, and Gillian continued her Graham-bagging on Corra-Bheinn & Cruach Choireadail.
Sunday started with a visit from the Easter bunny who brought coloured eggs and chocolates for everyone. The day was waterfalls-going-uphill-windy, so we all decided to skip the higher hills on that day. Fiona M, Alison and Kenny went up highest and summited 2 Marilyns - Beinn na Sreine and Coirc Bheinn (Kenny skipped the second one). Joh enjoyed her trip to Tobermory, Fiona C, Dan, Dougie and Gillian went wildlife watching, hoping for otters and eagles, but even though they were all hiding the group still had a nice coastal walk. Emma, Hamish and myself had a jog to the Fossil Tree. This tree was engulfed by lava from the Ben More volcano 50 million years ago and is only accessible by foot along a coastal path involving a very steep and rusty ladder – exciting! We admired the hexagonal basalt formations, found crystals and saw some feral goats.
The day was nicely rounded up by tasty food and drink in the pub next to the bunkhouse.
Monday was wet. And windy. Hamish, Joh, Dougie, Dan and Fiona M made their respective ways home. Fiona C stopped for a wander at Dunstaffnage Castle. As a Marilyn a day keeps the doctor away, Kenny and Alison went up Carn Ban and were accompanied by Gillian. Emma enjoyed food and galleries at Tobermory. And I had a character-building day on Dun da Gaoithe. After forgetting my lunch in the bunkhouse, I flooded my boots at a significantly-bigger-than-expected-by-looking-at-the-map river crossing, got rained on, got hailed on, and eventually blown over on the ridge which was clagged in. But there also were lots of rainbows, golden plovers, mountain hares and a buzzard – so no regrets!