June Day Trip to Drumochter

Warm sunshine greeted the 19 walkers as they made their way to Cathcart on Saturday 5 June to catch the bus to Drumochter.  Because we don't have the numbers attending nowadays for a 53-seater, I had ordered a smaller .. and much more manoeuverable .. 29-seater instead, which turned out to be a bit tight for space but was exceedingly useful when making pick-ups along the busy A9.

After our customary bacon roll stop at Ballinluig, three separate groups set off into the Drumochter hills ....

Download a map of the area?

The Geal-charn group made the ascent of the northeast ridge at a cracking pace, having set off at 11.30, and arrived at the summit at 1pm.  The walking conditions were just about perfect .. not too hot, not too sunny due to the fluffy white clouds, and a little breeze at the higher levels keeping the sweat levels down.  The views all around were extensive .. from the bulks of Ben Alder to the southwest and Creag Meagaidh to the west, to the Monadhliath and snowy Cairngorms to the north, and of course to Schiehallion to the south.

On the summit of Geal-charn

The group split into two sections here, with Ian, Bob, Steven, Don, Cornel, Hamish and Louise zooming off to take in A'Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor .. and Andy, Gwen, Tom, Iris, Susan and Pauline enjoying a sandwich before heading for A'Mharconaich and back down to Balsporran by its northeast ridge.  But before Section 1 zoomed off, I reminded Bob that we had first met on a Club expedition to these same 4 hills exactly 20 years ago .....

On Sgairneach Mhor in June 1990

Section 2 left Geal-charn at 1.30 to descend to the bealach at Coire Fhar, then made a leisurely ascent to the southern end of the long ridge on A'Mharconaich, just in time to meet Section 1 returning from the summit and about to start their ascent of Beinn Udlamain.  A further leisurely stroll brought them to the summit at 2.30, then after another sandwich, left at 3pm for the long descent.  The breeze was fairly strong on the initial descent, but it became quite hot as the height was lost, and they arrived at the bus at 4.15.  Because Pauline had arrived in her own car, the ladies took the opportunity of going immediately to the Atholl Arms, leaving Andy and Tom to pick up the other groups (and Section 1) as they arrived back at the A9.

Section 1 on A'Mharconaich  Section 2 below A'Mharconaich  Section 1 on Sgairneach Mhor  Group 1 relaxing on Beinn Udlamain

Our ascent by the Landrover track to the main ridge was fairly gentle but everyone was feeling the heat and John decided not to make the trip out to Carn na Caim but to wait at the top of the track.  James, Alasdair and David headed out for the northerly munro which turned out to be a longer walk (and return) than was suggested on the map.  Navigation along the wide open ridge was easy in the great weather .. unlike some previous visits to these munros.

On Carn na Caim  On A'Bhuidheanach Bheag

Once we met up again with John, we continued south along the undulating ridge to A'Bhuidheanach Bheag arriving around 3pm.  We followed the ridge southwards over Fuar Monadh before our descent steepened southwestwards to Creag nan Ubhal.  As our knees tired we saw our first wildlife of the day .. scaring a brace of red grouse and few mountain hares from the heather.  The final section was a steep descent to layby 79 on the A9 where a quick phone call to Andy brought the bus down to collect us.

James Anderson

The Carn na Caim team was first to arrive at layby 79, and the bus made a quick stop southbound to pick them up before continuing south to Dalnaspidal Lodge to make a turn northbound.  The bus then returned north to layby 79 to wait for the others.  All had arrived by 5.30pm, and the bus continued north to layby 80, where we had discovered earlier that it was possible to make a turn south .. now for Blair Atholl and the Atholl Arms.  Thanks to our driver Bill Hardie for his patient co-operation .. this would not have been possible in a 53-seater!  The predicted thunderstorm suddenly arrived as everyone was enjoying their post-walk refreshment, and the few yards to the bus had to be taken at a run through the flooded car park at the front of the hotel!

Enjoying a nap on the return journey

As we approached Perth the sunny conditions returned, and we arrived back at Cathcart at 8.30 after another great day out in the Scottish hills.


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June Weekend to Kintail

With eager anticipation of witnessing the Club's twelfth Munro Compleation, 17 walkers made their various ways to Kintail on Friday 18 June, staying at various locations in the area ...

The Wee Bunkhouse at the Kintail Lodge Hotel
Allan Hutcheon (Munroist-in-Waiting), Tom, Louise, Diane, James and Bob.

Ratagan Youth Hostel
Allan Boyd, Andy, Gordon, Willie and Cornel.

Ian and Iris.

Mark and Miriam.

Charlie and Robert.

On Friday, James and Andy made an ascent of Beinn Loinne from the Cluanie Inn, starting the route at 1.45pm.  Cornel was already on the Conbhairean group, having started at 12.30, and Bob and Gordon were over at Arnisdale on Beinn Clachach.  Allan Boyd was making an ascent of Meall Dubh to the east of Loch Loinne later in the day, and Willie was across at Kinloch Hourn making an ascent of Sgurr nan Eugallt.  The others were travelling north at different times.

On the summit of Beinn Loinne (West Peak)  On the summit of Beinn Clachach

James, Andy and Cornel met up at the Cluanie around 7pm after a good sunny day on the hill.  Following a refreshing pint and a bar meal, they headed down to the Hostel to check in, then over to the Kintail Lodge to meet up with the others.  Getting in the door of the Hotel was almost impossible due to some important football match being broadcast .. getting a drink at the bar was even more impossible.  But an apparently poor result for England v Algeria served to reduce the crowds slightly, and the rest of the evening passed in relative quiet with The Plan for tomorrow the main topic of discussion .....

On Saturday, everyone assembled in the car park at the Kintail Lodge at 9.30am and headed up Glen Shiel to park at the Cluanie Inn for the ascent of Ciste Dhubh.  Unusually for a Munro Compleation Day, the sun shone from a virtually cloudless sky, and much sun cream was applied before the group pic was taken and the starting gun fired at 10am.  Progress was quick up to the Bealach a'Choinich at 600m where a long break was taken before tackling the steepest part of the ascent up to the little peak at 877m.  Some decided to follow the contour path directly to the next little peak at 929m, then it was onwards and upwards to Ciste Dhubh, where Allan Hutcheon was welcomed to his final Munro summit in the usual Club manner.

Leaving the Cluanie for Ciste Dhubh  Rest at the Bealach a'Choinich  Photographing the summit of Ciste Dhubh  Approaching the summit of Ciste Dhubh  Allan arrives at his last Munro summit  Allan Hutcheon compleats!  ... and enjoys a cup of champers  The well-refreshed summiteers

After much champagne and cake (how did Allan mange to carry all these bottles up there?) the group divided into two sections .. one returning over the Corbett Am Bathach, the other returning by the upward route.  All arrived back (by various means) at the Cluanie around 4.30pm to enjoy a refreshment before returning to their accommodations to prepare for the evening celebrations, scheduled for 7pm.

On the summit of Am Bathach  A well-earned pint at the Cluanie  A well-earned pint at the Cluanie

The Ratagan group booked a local taxi for 7pm, which was hijacked by the B&B and motorhome groups before arriving at the Youth Hostel.  However, a fine meal was enjoyed by all at the Kintail Lodge, then the magnificent 283+1 cake, prepared in double quick time by Heather Walker (orders taken anytime), was cut and Allan was presented with a framed photo-montage by Bob, and with a soon-to-be-engraved quaich by Tom on behalf of all those attending this notable day.  The taxi arrived for the Ratagan group at the arranged time of 11pm, and returned for the others before beginning a night shift ferrying wedding guests from a local venue.

The cake courtesy of Heather Walker

On Sunday, Mark, Miriam and Diane headed over to Arnisdale for an ascent of Beinn Sgritheall, where Charlie and Robert were also making an ascent, while Bob and Gordon headed for its neighbour, Beinn a'Chapuill.  Allan Boyd left early for Sgurr Mhic Bharraich and Willie made a later start to climb Sgurr an Utha at Glenfinnan.  As far as I'm aware everyone else headed for home .. a slow journey for James and Andy.  They had a puncture somewhere around Spean Bridge which was only discovered south of Fort William .. James had to fork out for a new tyre back in Fort William!


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