16th to 18th May 2003 - Glenbrittle
Well not exactly Glenbrittle. The poor forecast for this weekend meant
that the few of us that did appear for this traditional meet didn't get
further than Sligachan. Travelling up on Friday afternoon was reasonable
enough, allowing us to set up camp in the dry, but whereas seasoned campers
Kenny and Alison wisely pitched on a well drained knoll above the wash-up
block, I carefully picked the flood plain. The three of us met up in the
pub discussing various poor weather options with the prospect of rain
spreading in from the west. Rain? From Friday night onwards until we left
on monday, the campsite was hit with wave after wave of heavy squally
showers more reminiscent of November than mid May. The ridge was out of
the question by Saturday morning, as Gillean disappeared permanently
under a blanket of low cloud and rain.
But whereas there is something strangely comforting about being secure
in a sleeping bag in a dry tent listening to the rain beat down, knowing
that a long lie is in prospect, the ear piercing cries of a nearby
camping group bawling out at 6.30 in the morning "Dave, have you got
yer 'arness Dave, we're going on the ridge!" certainly is not,
especially when you have had a disturbed night due to the weather. By
the Saturday afternoon there was a dry enough interlude to persuade us
out for a reasonable day on Belig, Garbh Bheinn, and Marsco, but the
rain was on again by our return. Conviviality in the pub followed as
we were joined by Jane and Bobbi who had gone into the Slig bunkhouse
under Glamaig, and Mark, Jennifer and Oceanna who were camping. We
heard later that a group attempting the ridge had to be rescued
having got into difficulties. I don't know whether it was Dave & Co.
There was little early improvement on Sunday, so Kenny Alison and myself
had another late start, with coffee in Portree and the papers.
Improvement in the afternoon led to a pleasant half day on the Storr
and part of the Trotternish ridge. Mark was hoping to climb Glamaig.
Monday was just the same so we decided to bail out in one of the drier
interludes. I headed off for Applecross, Torridon, and eventually Jura
for the annual hill race, with the unsettled weather prevailing all week,
the others headed home.
Despite the unseasonable weather, it would be a pity if the club stopped
having a firm committment to include Skye as a regular annual destination,
but changing working patterns have meant that some of the traditional
'local' holiday weekends are not now respected by many employers, which
means that the far Cuillin can seem very distant if you only have a short
weekend for a visit.