by Chris Radcliffe
This year the winter meet was held in Aviemore at the FRCC hut, Karn House. Located in a housing estate to the north of the village, it seemed an unlikely base. However, it was comfortable and well-appointed and a reasonable drive to our destination hills. Seven of us turned up on Wednesday evening, February 15th.
In contrast to last year there was little snow when we arrived and even less when we left. The main feature of the weather was strong or gale force winds from the SW. Although there was an overnight frost on Thursday night, in general the freezing level was high and the limited snow cover continued to melt through our stay. There wasn’t a lot of rain but the summits were often in the clag. We got out every day and ticked a decent number of Munros.
Mike and Dave had climbed Ben Chonzie from Killin on their way up to Aviemore, so they hit the ground running on Thursday with an ascent of Meall Chuaich to the east of the Drumochter Pass. The rest of us decided on a shorter day with an ascent of Meall a Bhuchaille, a shapely Corbett close to Glenmore Lodge. Mick (accompanied by Jackie) made the top in a ferocious storm and retreated back the same way. Setting off later, Chris and Gill together with Pete and Laura passed Mick on the way up after the storm and had views from the summit before continuing down to the beallach and back through the forestry.
Friday was sunny and there was good neve on the climb up the Fiacaill Ridge between Coire an t’Sneachda and Coire an Lochain which Gill, Chris, Pete and Laura tackled. It is a mainly straightforward scramble, but Gill and Chris put the rope on to climb the crux chimney to follow the ridge direct for a couple of pitches, while most parties bypassed this on a ledge system. We continued to the summit of Cairngorm and enjoyed great views. Meanwhile Mike and Dave ascended Sgorr Gaoth in Glen Feshie, from Auchlean and Mick climbed Geall Charn, A’Mharconaich and Beinn Udlamain – Munros to the west of the Drumochter Pass. Here there was thick cloud on the summits, but otherwise not unpleasant.
The hut reached capacity over the weekend as a group of Oread’s arrived, climbing in Coire an t’Sneachda and Coire an Lochain, together with other users, but we managed to survive the temporary chaos.
On Saturday Gill and Chris were joined by Ellie Roddick for an ascent of Mullach Clach a’Bhlair from Glen Feshie. This was a fairly boring summit reached on a tedious track, so we also pulled in Sgorr Gaoth and enjoyed clear views from its spectacular summit with a dramatic cliff plunging down towards Loch Einich. Mick was also in Glen Feshie knocking off Munro Tops: Meall Tionail, Meall Buidhe, Geal Charn, Creag Mhigeachaidh.
Sunday found Mike and Dave again at the Drumochter Pass ascending A’Bhudiaheanach Beag and Carn na Caim from Balsporran Cottages. Mick did the whole of the Glenmore Ridge: Craiggowrie, Creagan Gorm and Meall a Bhuchaille (again). Gill and Chris went to the Monadhliath to climb A’Chailleach and Carn Sgulain.
Monday was dull and wet, so we all headed home. Later in the week Storm Doris moved in and dumped a load of snow in the area, but it has been an unusual and variable winter in Scotland.
by Ruth Gordon
The DMC After Dinner Walk was a pleasant if very muddy outing uphill and down dale around Sheldon where we had a very enjoyable llunch before heading home. As you can see Richard took a mud bath quite early in proceedings!
by Sally Newton
On Wednesday 18th January 26 people participated in an urban Night navigation event in Matlock.
The event was started from the Sycamore pub, and the participants had to find 30 points using a 1:5000 map. The route was down to the group but most did between 8 -10 km depending on their route choice.
The weather was kinder to us this year compared to last, during the Wirksworth Urban night navigation when the heavens opened for the whole three hours, the evening was chilly and a little foggy but not wet.
All had to be back at the Thorn Tree Pub by 10pm with their answers, some debate was had re where the circles had been marked on the map (3mm out in one case eeek!)
Everyone enjoyed the event and were ‘buzzing’ when they arrived back, some competitiveness was demonstrated and the majority got correct answers and completed the course.
Well done everyone. Thank you for supporting the event in such numbers.
by Sally Newton
Eight people turned up on what started being a lovely day.
We started the walk from Upper Booth in the Edale valley, walked through the fields to Crowden Clough. The weather was fine until the start of the scramble up the stream. When it started to snow, We clambered up the clough but had to abandon the steepest part as it was iced over and we did not have the appropriate equipment. We did not do the squeeze at the top because of the ice. Unfortunately the fog had come in so instead of going to Kinder Scout or the downfall we changed direction and walked along the edge past the Woolpacks which were quite eerie in the foggy snowy light.
We followed the path round to the top of Jacobs Ladder where we had a quick lunch ducking down behind an wall out of the wind. We completed the day going over Brown Knoll which has now been fully paved, (Mike informs us that each flagstone cost £75-£90 each and then there are the personnel and helicopter costs, but if this stops extreme erosion it is worth it). We dropped down to Dalehead and back to the cars by 3pm.
A good day was had by all, thank you for supporting the day event, and hopefully we will have more on our next weekend or day walk.