Edinburgh Mountaineering Club: Meet Report
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Meet Report

28th to 30th October 2005 - Mill Cottage

Ten club members and two new members attended the weekend at Mill cottage. This MCofS club hut is very well appointed, and its situation in a secluded woodland setting near Kincraig has made the venue a popular choice over the years. With half the Party having mountain bikes with them, clearly the aspirations were there to reach remote summits, but the mountain forecast was not brilliant, OK for Saturday, and very wet on Sunday. The other notable weather feature was the high ambient temperatures, and with the prevailing fresh southerly wind, freezing levels were well above the high tops. Despite the unseasonable warmth we still had the coal and wood burning stove going well, for comfort value as much as necessity.

Saturday morning looked promising, with sunny spells and broken cloud over the hills that looked like it might disperse during the day. Unfortunately this was not to be, with the Munros and Corbetts experiencing lowering cloud bases accompanied firstly by drizzle then more substantial rain. Cyclists Alan, Anne and Kenny decided to bike into Glen Einich from Coylumbridge before ascending Braeriach. Bikeless author also bound for Braeriach jogged in the 9k to the start of the ascent line and beat the bikes. The top was reached easily enough but an anxious time was spent correcting navigational errors before descent by another route to Glen Einich. The cyclists spent 15 minutes at the wind becalmed summit cairn and then chose the northerly descent via Sron Riach almost to the site of the dismantled Sinclair hut before cutting across heather moorland to their bikes. I arrived at the road end precisely 20 seconds prior to Kenny. How is that for timing? Kenny enthused about the 30 minute brakeless freewheel out.

Alison W drew new boys Charlie and Richard F under her matriarchal wing, and provided exemplary navigational instruction and practical advice on a traverse of the Glen Feshie ridge (all in cloud) from Sgurr Gaoith to Mullach Clach a' Bhlair. This is not easy with poor visibility, but plateau compass bearings were good (unlike mine) and new tops were ticked by all. Alison, despite several previous visits to Glen Feshie still awaits a view from the summits. Just hang in there Alison, one day you will be up on the Feshie ridge, looking over the vast wilderness plateau of the Moine Mor and the backcloth of the Braeriach to Cairn Toul high tops, with only the plaintive call of the golden plover breaking the silence! The destructive presence of bulldozed vehicle tracks through parts of The Great Moss for seasonal stalking present alternate sadness of our insensitivity to unnecessary exploitation of our wonderful and fragile natural heritage, but occasionally sighs of relief on poor visibility days when such intrusions underpin navigational confirmation of precise location.

The other bike Party Bill C, Eileen, and Alison C were further west enjoying the pleasant ride south along the west bank of the River Feshie before striking up to the summit of the Corbett Leathad an Taobhain. No navigational problems were encountered here as a track and path leads all the way to the summit. Still no views from the top however. Owen headed up to near Aviemore for the Corbett Geal Charn Mor, whereas Bill B travelled further west along loch Laggan to tackle the twin Grahams Binnein Shios and Binnein Shuas. The eye is drawn to these prominent hills on the drive towards Spean Bridge and is the scenic view from fictional Glen Bogle in the ham TV Scottish Highland soap 'Monarch of the Glen.'

With all the Party safely gathered in at t'Mill the evening was spent in characteristic EMC boozy style, although perhaps a few feathers were ruffled by a mild rebuke of another's way of cooking potatoes. Talking of feathers and fur, 'Roadkill' Bill B once again revealed his propensity for tarmac cookery, saying that he had a winter's worth of pheasant and rabbit in his freezer and anything else scraped from the asphalt. . Later for tea he had something strange looking, accompanied by fava beans and a nice Chianti fffffffff. Apparently there really is a road kill cookbook!

With the onset of winter time and a gentle rain already falling the general consensus seemed to be in favour of an early return home on Sunday morning, except for Owen who was staying up north for the following week. Cyclists were looking at various undemanding low level routes to stretch the legs and the circuit of Loch an Eilean was mentioned. No such prevarication from Alison W however. With a talk across the Pond to prepare she had little time left to don her power shoulders, split her infinitives and incentivise her adjectives in order to wow the Americans. Having dropped the hut key off to the Custodian in Kingussie I was glad that my only leg stretch was as far as the car foot pedals. The rain on the A9 was monsoon like at times.