March Day Trip to Ben Donich

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I was hoping for a clear, crisp day for my final Corbett ascent of Ben Donich .. however, it was dull and overcast when I arrived at Cathcart, and by the time the 10 of us (including ‘long-time-no-see’ Liz W) had met up with the other 7 at Arrochar, the rain was bouncing off the pavements.  Not a good start, but it simplified the walking plans for the day with everyone opting for the shortest ascent from the Rest and be Thankful.

The rain had stopped by the time we started walking but the mist, gusting wind and mud underfoot meant it was a day for the full waterproof gear.  The ascent was made at a fairly leisurely pace although we did overtake a group from the Ramblers who had started 5 minutes before us.  As we climbed onwards and upwards and into the clag we made occasional stops to re-group and do a quick head count to make sure there were no deserters.  The obvious path made the navigation easy and the climb was uneventful except for a short scramble down some rocks.  The sat nav was useful for checking our progress to the summit and after 2 hours walking it was indicating 50m to go, so I stopped to let the tail-enders overtake me before I took my final steps through a triumphal Leki arch to the top of Ben Donich.

Setting off from the Rest And Be Thankful  On the ascent  Arriving at the summit of Ben Donich  Corbetts conquered!  Congratulations all round ...  3 of the Club Corbetteers

The sun did make a brief appearance as I touched the trig point but it was soon hidden again by the swirling mist.  The strong wind made the pouring of the celebratory drinks a difficult task and a few drams were lost before the pouring technique was perfected.  We found some shelter near the top to eat our pieces and then set off on the descent before we succumbed to hypothermia.  The descent proved tricky in places and there were a few slips and slides experienced on the muddy path.

It was raining again by the time we got back to the cars so it was a quick change before heading for the Village Inn where more celebrations followed, and then another ‘long-time-no-see’ Linda Brown arrived to add her congratulations and renew old acquaintances.  With all the boxes ticked, we headed for home after a very memorable day on the hills.

The Quaich

Thanks to all who joined me on the day and to those who were there in spirit, and thanks also for the good wishes and cards received and the suitably engraved quaich.

Needless to say, the next day was dry and sunny.  C'est la vie!

Willie Robison

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March Weekend to Strontian

Hills climbed on this weekend

Ardgour Friday Saturday Sunday
Andy McGowan Carn na Nathrach Beinn na h-Uamha Fiarach
Allan Boyd Carn na Nathrach Beinn na h-Uamha Fiarach
James Anderson Carn na Nathrach Beinn na h-Uamha Fiarach
Kenny MacKenzie Carn na Nathrach Beinn na h-Uamha Fiarach
Bob MacDonald Druim na Sgriodain Beinn Gaire
Croit Bheinn
Sgorr Mhic Eacharna
Beinn Bheag
Gordon King Druim na Sgriodain Beinn Gaire
Croit Bheinn
Sgorr Mhic Eacharna
Beinn Bheag

A group of 6 headed north on the Friday for the Strontian weekend .. the Corbett Catchers car with Andy, James, Allan and Kenny and the Graham Grabbers gig with Bob and Gordon.  The CCs quickly left their bags at the Ariundle Centre on the way over the hill to the start point for Carn na Nathrach, and began the ascent at a fairly late 1.20pm, judging that darkness would fall around 7pm.  The initial ascent was unrelentingly steep until established on the ridge, followed by a rising switchback over a distance of 4km to the summit, arriving at 4pm.  The weather was reasonably kind and good views were enjoyed all round, particularly on the descent.  Darkness was indeed falling as the car was reached at 6.40pm, and the drive back over the hill to Strontian was made with full beam headlights.  After a very quick shower .. after a warning text from Bob .. we made the Strontian Hotel just in time for last food orders at 8pm!  The GGs had crossed on an earlier ferry than us, and had made a swift start on Druim na Sgriodain .. and had been in the pub for a wee while ....

The food was good and the beer was wet, and some enjoyed a nightcap of the amber nectar back at the Bunkhouse before bed ....

On Saturday everyone was up and about fairly early.  The GGs were heading out to the west of Loch Shiel for a long day and the CCs were heading for Sallachan near the ferry for the long walk-in to Beinn na h-Uamha along a track in Glen Gour.  The plan was to continue from Beinn na h-Uamha (the lowest Corbett) over Sgurr a 'Chaorainn (one of the 3 highest Grahams) and down to Ariundle, and collect the car later.  The walk-in began at 9am in bright but cold conditions, and after crossing the River Gour at a suitable point, the unrelentingly steep ascent was begun.  The upward route took in the top of Stob an Uillt Dharaich, and the summit was finally reached at 12.45pm .. phew!  The weather had become colder, with a few hail flurries, and the westerly wind stronger .. so the decision was made to return to Sallachan rather than continue into the weather.  A direct descent was made down the southeast ridge .. again unrelentingly steep .. to the end of the track in Glen Gour.  An easy crossing of the river and a long walk-out brought us back to the car at 4.30pm.  We grabbed a quick pint at the Hotel en route and organised the shower rota back at the bunkhouse.  The GGs had arrived much about the same time, and we all settled down soon after for the Saturday banquet ...

Saturday Night Menu
I retired pre-cheeseboard due to a surfeit of hill climbing and fine wine, and didn't hear the others when they eventually went to bed.

On Sunday, the CCs decided to have a short day and, with advice from chief GG Bob, agreed to climb the Graham called Fiarach near Tyndrum.  The GGs had another 2Gs to go and grab on the south side of Glen Gour, and we all headed off around 8.30am.  Fiarach was fairly quick and easy compared to the Ardgour ascents, with a pleasant walk-in on a forest track by the railway and a short steep ascent to the summit ridge.  On the descent we met quite a few making the ascent .. a much busier hill than the lonely Ardgour peaks!  Leaving Tyndrum at 1pm ensured a quick run home .. usually on a sunny Sunday the roads are busy with folk 'out for a wee run in the car' who we usually encounter when travelling south in the late afternoon.

The reasonably good weather .. weather heralding the heatwave of the following week .. and the pleasant bunkhouse with comfortable facilities made this an excellent weekend.  Must have another soon .....

AMcG

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