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Home arrow Meet Reports arrow Scotland Spring Meet, Plockton, 24-31 May 2008

Scotland Spring Meet, Plockton, 24-31 May 2008

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Contributed by Marianne Stuart   
Ian and I had been spending the previous week in Poolewe and arrived in the late afternoon via Ruadh-stac Beag, a satellite of Ben Eighe.  The club had booked three cottages in the village, all looking out over the loch and proving comfortable, to accommodate 14 members. A number of members were already there and the rest turned up at intervals through the evening culminating with Tom and Don's very late arrival following a breakdown in the Midlands and negotiating a fire on the railway embankment near the village entrance.

The first day saw Sandy, Julie B, Steve, Don and Lylli cross to Skye. Don and Lylli had an exhilarating time climbing Clach Glas. The others tackled Blaven via Coire Uaigneidh and returned the same way. There were fantastic views across to the Cuillin ridge and out to the surrounding islands of the Inner Hebrides.  BlavenThere was a bit of drama on the descent as a group of four walkers went past at speed, only for one of them to go cartwheeling over at a sharp drop.  He finished up with a leg broken in several places and a fractured shoulder.  For more details see Julie's account of the helicopter rescue. A second group, Hazel and Diana followed a bit later by Eric, Julie H, Maureen and Tom, ascended the Saddle via the Forcan Ridge.  This proved quite challenging with some awkward drops but all succeeded without mishap and some went on to bag Sgurr na Sgine as well. We went to tick off Sgurr Gaorsaic, a Corbett surrounded by bigger hills.
Monday was a big day for some of us with a 7-strong assault on the Five Sisters of Kintail. The traverse involves lots of stony ups and downs after a long ascent up steep grass to the Bealach na Lapain. The weather started a bit cloudy but improved later to a beautiful afternoon with good views from the ridge, but with coolish strong breezes (it felt very hot on the way down though). A more-energetic group went ahead to recover the car from the starting point while the others were descending more slowly, as we didn't want to miss Julie H's birthday meal out.  Sandy, Tom and Steve tackled Ben Attow approaching from Strath Coe.  The descent via the Sgurr a'Coire Ghairbh ridge over steep and craggy ground needed some careful negotiation.
Tuesday was the biggy of the week for Sandy, Tom, Julie B and Steve, teaming up to tackle the South Cluanie Ridge.  This necessitated a 5.15 am start so that they could be climbing the first Munro well before 8.  The ridge walk took in all seven Munros with the high spot on Aonach air Chrith at 1021m (and with Steve achieving the milestone of his 50th Munro on the second summit - only 230-odd to go!). Fortunately the ascents were not too demanding, but all feet were feeling fairly battered by the end.  The day finished with a big dinner at the Kintail Lodge Hotel to restore the calories.  Others went for a fine walk up Ciste Dhubh. Ian and I ticked off another admittedly easy Corbett, Aonach Bhuidhe above Iron Lodge, but which entailed a 10-mile approach.  
Wednesday was wet in the middle part of the day and the Cluanie Ridge team enjoyed a rest day. Ian, Don, Hazel, Lylli and I, together with Wayne who was visiting for the day, took advantage of the dry morning to drive up the spectacular Bealach na Ba road to Applecross and make a dash for Beinn Bhan. This seemed a reasonable idea and and it was very atmospheric, until the rain came while we were having lunch on the top. A speedy but wet walk back to the cars and coffee and cake back in the house seemed a good idea. This was the only rain of the week though so no complaints.  It was also a week when the midges seemed to remain mercifully absent from our activities apart from the odd evening in Plockton and the morning we left.

Thursday was similarly bleak to start with, but several of us joined up to do the Old Man of Storr on Skye and continued along the Trotternish ridge to the north.  The weather cleared and there were a couple of very steep climbs before we found our way off the ridge through a series of crags. Sandy, Eric, Julie B and Lylli completed the circuit of the Brothers, Sailag to Aonach Meadhoin. Here it was also misty till mid-afternoon.  That evening the restaurant a few doors along provided a decent spot of nosh, organised by Julie B, with plenty of fresh vegetables (not always found north of the border).

On Friday, the last day, two cars loads set out for the Cluanie Inn.  Don and Lylli went for a sample of the South Cluanie Ridge, aiming for the first four summits. The other six of us chose the three Munros north of Loch Cluanie, starting with Carn Ghluasaid which has a good path to the top. The summit provided probably the most extensive views of the week, from a bookcSgurr an Lochainover view of the South Cluanie Ridge, to Skye, Torridon, the Glen Affric hills and a glimpse of the Ben away to the southeast. The circuit also took in the high point of the week, Sgurr nan Conbhairean (1109m).  An east descent to the cars was followed by a visit to the Cluanie Inn, on the pretext of waiting for Don and Lylli.

Alongside all these mountain activities were local walks, sight-seeing visits to Skye, cycling and even a few games of golf. Ian and I had planned a short ascent on the last Saturday but despite the bluest sky of the whole trip once out of the coastal mist we were just too tired after such a successful trip and we went directly home.


Please check out the gallery for pictures of this meet.

Sandy Gordon's pictures are here

Don Macauley's pictures are here

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