16th to 18th April 2004 - Ling Hut, Torridon
Following on from the Easter meet at Applecross, quite a few had decided
to stay up north for the week, linking up at the end of it with the meet at
the Ling Hut in Torridon. We all remembered the near Mediterranean
conditions we had had this time last year and were looking to repeat the
experience. No such luck. For those that did stay up that week, it was a
fairly wet, soggy experience for the most part. By the Monday, both pairs
of boots I had with me were sodden. There were some bright spells on
Thursday however, and Friday turned out to be a lovely day once the initial
heavy shower of hail had passed over - I'd forgotten just how sore it was to
be caught out in a dumping of hail. Was this fine weather a herald of
better things to come for the weekend?
On Friday, I finished my hill, by returning round beautiful Loch Clair,
convinced that folk would be standing impatiently waiting for me at the
Beinn Eighe car park (I had the hut key). Thankfully, only a few had
arrived before me and were still in the process of sorting out their gear,
before all trooping off on the little track to the hut, totally laden down
with provisions for the weekend. I, of course, seemed to have more than
everyone else and had to do two trips.
The Ling Hut really is great. Once we had the shutters off the windows,
the fire going and the water pump cranked up enough to boil a kettle, it
was very cosy and after good food and plenty of wine, everyone was getting
enthusiastic about what they would do the following morning. Well - when I
eventually stuck my head out of my sleeping bag to have a look, things
didn't look too clever. Gone were Friday's blue skies and sunshine.
Instead, grey, leaden skies looked less than promising and the temperature
seemed to have slumped back in the direction of winter. Nevertheless, a
trusty gang left with the intention of conquering Beinn Alligin. Gillian
decided on the Corbetts behind the hut. As for me, when I left the hut,
with the intention of just walking up to Coire Mhic Fhearchair, the rain was
falling steadily but bearably. However, having climbed well up on the path,
the rain then decided to come down in stair rods. Enough I thought.
Another soggy walk with wet boots and my head down
all day did not appeal, so I copped out and drove round to Sheildaig for
newspapers and tablet, having decided to chill out by the fire in the hut.
The Beinn Alligin brigade reached about 500m before being beaten back by
gale force winds. The conditions were so bad that nobody realised until
they got back down that Victoria had gone missing. Being small and slight
been struggling in the wind, so concern for her safety and fervent hopes she
hadn't been blown off the hill sent everyone scurrying back up to look for
One up for technology when Victoria rang Alison Wells, mobile to mobile, to
say she was ok and had descended by a different route!
Gillian as it turned out, was the only one who managed to get up a hill
Sadly, Sunday looked much about the same except for the fact that the
rain had obviously been falling as snow on the high ridges. Beinn Eighe,
Slioch and Liathach looked suddenly very wintry again!! As it wasn't
actually raining (a
small miracle in itself), some were keen to attempt Slioch, and I understand
that particular hill was in fact climbed that day. I think Bill Brown and
Gillian went off Grahaming near Beinn Aliigin. One or two stayed on the
Sunday night, but most opted to head for home. I was one of those people.
Well - Jessie was knackered and I'd run out of dry socks.