Thursday 31 December 2009

Winter walking weekend, Glencoe, 11th - 13th December 2009

Things have been relatively quiet for Kendal Mountaineering Services recently. It's that time of year when not much is going on in the outdoors and it gives us time to plan for the following year and Iain has been doing just that.

However, a break is always good and Iain & Kirstin were invited by Elaina Smith & Steve Morley to help them celebrate Steve's recent birthday and join them for a weekend in Glen Coe

The picture here shows Kirstin & Elaina on the track to Loch Eilde Mor from Kinlochleven on the Saturday morning with Loch Leven in the background, on the first day of what was to be a fantastic weekend.

It had been decided that day that we would attempt Na Gruagaichean - a 1055M peak towards the eastern end of The Mamores. Iain has attempted this top 3 times before only to be repulsed by bad weather - but not on this occasion as can be seen in this picture which shows our group ascending the east ridge.

Here the snow was hard neve and it was truly winter. The views were fantastic and in the distance you can see the munros at the head of Glen Etive Buachaille Etive Mor amongst them.

In the picture right, Kirstin relaxes on the Summit of Na Gruagaichean, the ridge beyond is the subsidiary north west top looking on to the An Gearanach/An Garbhanach portion of the Ring of Steal with Ben Nevis beyond. Right of the Ben is the Carn Mor Dearg Arete with the broad hump of Aonach Bheag next to that

This picture was taken as we decended via the same ridge and is looking down to Loch Leven as the sun sets in the west - one of those special moments!
This was one of those perfect days in the mountains and you could see for miles. We could make out the Cuillins on Skye out to the west and Schiehallion to the east overlooking Loch Rannoch. We even saw a Brocken Spectre in the mist (it was Iain!).
We returned to the Glen Coe hotel to enjoy a good meal and relax in the bar. Recently refurbished and offering unbeatable deals at the present time this is an ideal place to base yourself. View their website here -

After a night of clear skies, Sunday dawned very cold & still and with thoughts of the eventual long drive south, it was decided to climb something on the way back and so Stob Coire Raineach was selected on Buachaille Etive Bheag in Glen Coe.
This picture shows Steve, Elaina & Kirstin as we neared the summit with the ridge leading to Stob Dubh 958M behind them to the right.
The valley behind is the Lairig Gartain separating Buachaille Etive Mor to the east from Buachaille Etive Bheag and is a route from the upper reaches of Glencoe to lower Glen Etive. Ben Starav can be seen in the background and Loch Etive can be glipsed to the left of Stob Dubh. To the north we could see The Ben, Creag Meaghaidh and across Rannoch Moor - Ben Alder. Way to the south we could see some tops we though were the Goat Fell massive on Arran but later we realised the were the Paps of Jura.
We had a truly memorable weekend with Steve & Elaina - both clients of Kendal Mountaineering Services. Elaina has been on a winter skills course with us as well as coming on one of the annual Cuillin Ridge traverses and has attended a scrambling course as well, whilst Steve has attended a winter skills course with us. They have both become friends and like us - share a love of the mountains. It is great that we stay in touch with so many of our clients and we do encourage everyone to keep in touch and to call in and see us.
And of course on the journey home, a stop had to be made at The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum - - fabulous bacon butties, excellent fish & chips and monsterous mugs of coffee & hot chocolate - definitely the icing on the cake of this great weekend away!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great report Iain! Was a fabulous weekend wasn't it! See you again soon.