Members' reports 2019-20
Campbell Crombie, An Caisteal, 8 September 2019
First walk of the 40th CBMC season & walk a few steps with 1 of my climbing heroes, our Bob. What a time we have had over the years.
Bob Gardner: Help I'm red faced. But, it's true to say We have walked many a mile together and shared many a laugh. What the club is all about. Taa Campbell.
With the poor forecast in Scotland I headed to the Peak District. Stanage Edge was brilliant, although I have no knuckles left (gritstone). The climbing is so accessible. I will definitely organise a weekend down there for us next summer
We had a great week trekking in the Picos de Europa. We had long days with great weather, big ascents every day, one in particular 2000m. The trek was very varied with some scrambling, summiting two peaks and steep descents. The long 10km Cares gorge was magnificent, we trekked along the gorge to the small village of Cain then trekked the 10 km back to our base for the night. The huts were very well established, good food and beer available.
Stick a fork in me- I. Am. DONE.
Multi-summit cluster-bag of the Glenshee 9.
Visibility approx 10m at start of the day and OS still not updated their app so no GPS and a bit of nav practice. Wind chill decidedly sub zero in the morning too.
Had the head torch on to descend Cairnwell around ten hours after leaving the car.
As a side note: my walking pole gave up the ghost last week and the only ones I could get at short notice were the cheapo decathlon ones with the pre-drilled holes that the springy button pops into. I imagine this is what it would be like to hike up a mountain with a class of primary school children who are all learning to play the recorder! 🌬️🎶🏔️
This autumn’s Club Weekend was scheduled for Ratagan Youth Hostel. Many of the club members had never been there before, and so, with Glen Shiel (and more) laid out on the doorstep, the weekend was eagerly anticipated. The weather forecast slowly improved over the preceding days, but unfortunately, when Saturday morning arrived, there were still the remains of a blustery wind. This put paid to any thoughts of airy ridge walks, and most of the group set out for Beinn Fhada.
The way up Gleann Choinneachain felt almost Alpine, followed by the path up Coire na Sgairne to reach the summit plateau of Beinn Fhada. From here, the way back across the plateau looked vary inviting, and most of the group chose that route, only to find an increasingly narrow, rocky and undulating ridge – not too bad in fine weather conditions, but challenging in a blustery wind with occasional rain showers – followed by a very steep descent back to the car park.
Rather than Beinn Fhada, one small group set off for the Three Brothers on the north side of Glen Shiel, and threw in Ciste Dubh for good measure. Others, not fancying a fight with the weather, took a much more relaxed approach and visited some archeological remains in the area.
As always, the evening passed very amicably, with good craic lubricated by plenty of liquid refreshment.
On Sunday the weather looked to worsen again, and so, bearing in mind the previous day’s exertions, the assembly broke up and wended their individual ways back home.
Another good Cairn Ban weekend!
A small group headed down to Bealach na Sgairne to climb A’ Glas bheinn – two very brutal kilometres: not so much the steep climb up from the bealach, but the seven of eight false summits that followed demanded some mental (as well as physical) stamina to overcome.
An Socach yesterday on way up to Montrose. Discovered it gets dark at 7 now & enjoyed a bit of night navigation!
Great day with the new guy Stuart Drummond
At Beinn a’ Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich , even got time for a visit at kilchurn Castle for some pics , then a £27 fish supper for the 2 of us at the real food cafe 😯Tyndrum .
Wall to Wall sunshine ☀️
Four out yesterday on Meall nan Tarmachan – Iain, Davy, Campbell and me. Patchy cloud on the summits, and pretty windy (and cold). Always a good day on the Ptarmigan though.
Ice forming on tufts of grass – winter is a-coming!!!
Sheena and I took my brother up Ben Challum today. For a non hillwalker he did ok.
Plenty snow up top and very very cold !!
Well the Lochnagar 5 were tough today in freezing temperatures and strong winds. 😴 I’m absolutely Burst, turns out we done it backwards.
7 of us out today for a walk to Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean. It was a cold and windy walk but there were views from the summit of Beinn Tulaichean.
Team Toubkal, Alan Forsyth, Alex Haken & Iain Kent were out training today. Turned out a perfect winters day, clear skies, snow, a lot of ice on paths. The two up at Loch Earnhead, forget their names. If you are going out tomorrow conditions are meant to be even better,
Today saw five of us out on a cracking long outing (finished in the dark) on Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig. Pretty good day weather wise but the windchill in places was fierce. Think we are all pretty tired but satisfied with another really good Club Sunday.
A good day out on Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh today. Lots of snow up high. Lots of slippery ice on paths.
40th Anniversary Ceilidh, Piping Centre, Glasgow
Thanks to all who were at the Club Dinner Dance for making it a Brill night. A great evening with thanks to the organisers for setting it up. Nice to see and chat to those I've not seen for a while. What a great mix of lovely people in the club.
Alan Wade: Was a fantastic evening and what a great turn out. So good to see everyone, some we haven’t seen for a while. Thanks to everyone that made it happen - Elaine and Alan x
Susan Burek: Thanks to the committee and everyone else who contributed to making last Saturday such a great night. Also to Sheena for such a special memento. Took a while for my feet to recover from all that dancing.....never get blisters on the hill....is that telling me something?😂😂
Today Stewart Drummond and I did Beinn Challum, views weren’t there but it was a good wee venture all the same .
First summit of the day Ben Dubhchraig now onto Oss with next new potential member 👍
Team summited Mt Toubkal today. Not much snow, but icy path up the Corrie.
Iain Kent: Club Sunday in Marrakech. 😀
Stuchd an Lochan (Gaelic for 'you get a lovely view of the lochan from up here') and Meall Bhuidhe (Gaelic for 'pass the sunblock'). My kit weighs a ton - I genuinely could not have been wetter if I jumped in the lochan🏔️🌧️
Beinn Mhanach with “John the Blunt”. Great winter day , had a bit of everything and John even got his Munro Top done ✅ waist deep snow and freezing conditions 🥶
John McGill: New nickname for Jamie, Mr Mangetout. Boy can that boy eat. I was wondering what was holding him up, until he took out his lunch hamper.🤣
As an alternative to the freezing weather, three of us had slightly warmer conditions at Ratho (me, Alex and David, a climbing buddy from GCC).
Up at Glen Lyon for an attempt on the circuit of four. Typically great viz for my Munro days. Was on a bearing from meall na aighean to Carn Marg. The route from that side involved climbing a windslabbed 35 degree north easterly slope. In an uncharacteristic display of good sense I decided to bail after that. Patches of ice above 950 but no crampons reqd.
Orrabest for Xmas troops😀🍾☃️
Enjoying the blue skies and sunshine for our last evening at the Refuge Du Toubkal. Climbed Toubkal and Timesguida via a splendid ridge.
Beinn Fhionnlaidh with Stuart Young today. Mild to moderately damp with the usual picturesque summit photos. Very slippery underfoot all the way. Crampons and axes left in the car. Nice wee day oot for our first Munro of the decade. 🏔️😃👍
A good walk around the Devil’s Beef Tub. Bright and breezy but very boggy underfoot.
After a bit of a long lie we upped and headed out to Ben Venue from Loch Achray. Lovely day and a bit chilly up top. Fingers crossed we get the same weather for next club Sunday.
A bitterly cold cycle and walk out to Carn a'Chlamain today.
Had a good walk to the summit, which was chilly, followed by teas and coffees in the Dalmunzie Castle Hotel. There’s not much snow left now.
Stuart Mckie: East was definitely best today. Chilly on top of Glas Tulaichean even drove home in sunshine!!
Five out today including potential new member Kirsty who was great company and no slouch!
Minus 14 degC today: if you touched anything metal with bare flesh then you lost some skin! Nice ice, but you have to hunt for it...
Stas Burek, Feshiebridge, 22 February 2020
And so we gathered at Lagganlia in Feshiebridge for our February weekend and Burns Supper. The previous few days saw torrential rain of biblical proportions, with roads flooded and barely passable in places, and so it seemed touch-and-go whether many would actually turn up. But Cairn Ban is made of sterner stuff, and in the end most folk turned up as planned on the Friday evening.
Whilst on Friday rain and flooding were the challenges, on Saturday it was different. Overnight the wind had blown up, and the rain turned to snow and settled, providing a slippery surface to the roads. Any ideas of climbing expeditions or outings near crags were shelved – for fear of getting blown off! In the end, we headed as a group of twelve to Garva Bridge to climb Geal Charn. On the way we wondered at the water all around, impossible to tell where the river bank finished and the flooded fields began.
Stuart: ‘It’s been some years since we came here, but I really don’t remember this causeway.’
Me: ‘Errr… according to the map, there is no causeway here – those are just flooded fields on either side of the road!’
After some hesitation, considering whether the river would burst its banks during the day and prevent us getting back to the hostel, we made it to Garva Bridge and set off. What on other days would have been a tedious slog through the heather across a featureless hillside, was made distinctly more challenging by the high wind, deep snow and in-spate burns. As we climbed higher, the wind grew stronger, conversation ceased, and we each focussed on battling the elements in our own way. We eventually all reached the summit plateau, and then the summit itself. As we huddled in the lee of the big cairn to eat some lunch, the wind strengthened even more, so that when we left shelter of the cairn, it was bent double to make any headway against the wind, which was now blowing in our faces.
As we left the plateau and headed downhill, the wind eased gradually and the lying snow became sparser and less treacherous. We got back to the cars with a sense of relief, and stopped off at the Coffee Bothy in Laggan for coffee and cake on the way back to the hostel. We’ll all remember the ferocious wind, the spindrift that found its way into every crevice, the frozen fingers… some were way beyond their comfort zone, and if the truth be told, most would not have ventured out if it weren’t for the big group.
The Burns supper that evening was, as always, an occasion for laughter, reminiscences and general camaraderie. Some even dressed up in 1980’s gear to mark the Club’s 40th anniversary.
It snowed heavily overnight, and Sunday’s challenge was to shift the foot of snow off the cars so that folk could get on their way. Some went directly home, others climbed Meall Chuaich on the way – still windy, but a lot less challenging than on the previous day.
And so ended another Club Weekend, with its own adventures and memories.
Stas Burek, Rjukan, Norway, 29 February 2020
Five months after Alex first mooted an ‘ice climbing weekend for beginners’, Team Norway met up in Edinburgh airport for the flight to Oslo (John McG, Stas, Jamie, Martin and Dawn, with Alex of course as team leader). Arriving in Oslo, we picked up the hire cars and set off on the three-hour drive to Rjukan.
Rjukan lies in a rocky valley to the north-west of Oslo. There are nine main ice-climbing areas along a 15-kilometre stretch of the river. Countless waterfalls into the river freeze over during the winter, making it a Mecca for ice climbers.
Having said that, the weather was warm this winter (relatively speaking!), and the condition of the ice was poor earlier in the month. But Lady Luck shone on us and the weather turned colder in the week before we went, and a few freeze-thaw cycles meant that we should get some good ice.
We woke up on Saturday morning and headed to Krokan, about 15 minutes’ drive up the valley along snow-covered roads. Five minutes’ walk through the woods in deep snow brought us out to the frozen waterfalls coming down into the river. There were already several groups of climbers scattered along the valley, but we found ourselves an ideal spot with an ‘easy beginners’ climb. Alex climbed up, secured a couple of ropes to the permanent anchors at the top, and off we went.
The conditions were good, so that the climbing was not made more difficult by poor ice. However, the it was still sparse in other areas, and so we ended up returning to Krokan throughout our stay. We progressed to more difficult climbs, and by the end some of us led a route on Alex’ pre-paced ice screws, and Martin even led the route by placing screws by himself.
Our four days’ climbing came to an end. A five-o’clock-in-the-morning start to get to the airport on time, through the Oslo morning rush hour, and back to Edinburgh. Tired, exhilarated, and time to reflect.
Again? Bring it on!!!
It was quite different from climbing at the ice wall at Braehead, though the practice sessions we put in there certainly helped, and quite exhilarating too. All quite a challenge: getting stuck in places that looked easy when viewed from the bottom, and breezing up difficult-looking parts; getting to know the feel of a good hold with the ice axe, and getting to understand and trust your crampons – to think that you can stand quite comfortably in your boots, on just a quarter-of-an-inch of your front points dug into the ice! Alex put up a third rope so that we could climb an icicle forming a vertical sheet of ice in front of a rock overhang – a bit more challenging. John came down and (very uncharacteristically) gave me a massive hug, elated that he managed to climb it!
Beinn Dearg today with Martin. Legs burning as we walked all 28km. Weather ok, apart from last 200m to summit. Fairly windy at top.
The Red Brigade took on a very windy Beinn Ghlas today. Don't be fooled by the blue sky, it was brutal at times. Not the only ones to turn back in very high winds. Good day out just the same.
Went out walking yesterday as was desperate to get out. Went down Glen Etive and did Stob Coir'an Albannaich, was going to also do Meall nan Eun but conditions were rather against me.
Interesting picture of the river Etive, and if you can work this one out then please let me know.