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Lakes Weekend Report: 20th – 22nd January 2012

12 places were booked at the Bowderstone Cottage, but with some last minute additions 15 members actually attended. No other parties were in the hut, so we soon made ourselves at home helped by alcohol and a warm fire!

Violent winds rocked the hut all Friday night and Saturday dawned with continuing high winds and squally showers. The group split into various parties who then sallied forth to do battle with the elements. Pete T, Nigel W & Allan C set out on mountain bikes to do “The Borrowdale Bash”. Bill & Ellen also went cycling, but were hampered by their canine friend more than the conditions! Caroline, Gordon, Ali & Charles opted for a walk up the Langstraffe valley, while Andrew & Mary took on the challenge of Cam Cragg Ridge, a grade 1/2 scramble.

Gary, Leon, Josie & Mike set out for Cat Bells and the ridge to High Spy where the buffeting from the wind proved too much. After a sensible exit down towards Grange, the Alladale Ramble led us back to the cars with a short diversion to the top of Castle crag. Another diversion to Keswick on the way back to the hut meant a welcome pint to round off the day.

The evening was split roughly 1/3 to 2/3 between veggies and communal curry eaters. The booze flowed and the conversation stretched well into the night. At the stroke of midnight Leon became a year older and the occasion was marked by a round (or more for some) of whisky!

Sunday was another day of strong winds, but reasonably bright and dry. The walking and cycling theme continued with most parties opting for a short day before the return drive home. The mountain bikers found excellent sport at the Winlatter Trail Centre. Mary, Gary & Mike set out from Grasmere to do a mixed route of Gill scrambling and top bagging – although to avoid the exorbitant car parking charges the day was extended by several miles. Sour Milk Gill was eventually reached, but the raging mass of boiling white water was not inviting! Instead we walked up to Easdale Tarn where the second Gill scramble was successfully ascended with a pleasant finish up Belles Knott. All that remained was to continue over to the tops of Sergeant Man and High Raise before a long and tiring walk out below Grasmere Common.

All in all a very enjoyable week-end in a great part of the Lakes.

Mike D

P.S. On leaving the hut a cagoule and pair of over trousers were found in the dormitory. If it belongs to a club member could he/she contact me by email.

Assynt / Sutherland Meet Report 3rd – 11th September

It may have rained a little (okay – maybe more than a little) but that was not enough to deter us ‘hardy’ mountaineers from having a good time and climbing a few hills! We even spotted the occasional bit of blue sky as several of us (Hugh, Gary, Ellie, Pete, Mike, Nigel and myself) headed out on the first day on a scrambling/walking adventure up Conival and Ben More Assynt. The route was expertly navigated in a collaborative fashion! On our way down we were rewarded for our great outdoors stamina (i.e. being out there for over 10 hours) by a beautiful sunset! We were joined back at the hut by Dave and Linda.

The ascent of Conival and Ben More Assynt

The next day, weather permitted a multi pitch climb on Stac Pollaidh by Pete, Ellie, Gary and myself. Back at the hut, we were all joined by John and Gordon. Night set in and that was it for the great weather! The next day was damp! After much debate, a party of us (Hugh, John, Gordon, Mike, Gary and myself) braved an ascent of Cul Beag, with the others opting for a low level day, including a trip to Sandwood Bay and Reef rocks. All went well, apart from in the Sandwood Bay party (Pete and Ellie) who found upon returning to Pete’s van that it would not start! They eventually turned up at the hut at 2am that night, after struggling to get through to the breakdown recovery man the exact whereabouts of the caving hut we were staying in (somehow the words ‘caving hut’ had been translated to ‘cave in hut’ – don’t know about you but I have not encountered many caves in the huts I have stayed in!).

A rather wet ascent of Cul Beag!

The weather got no better over the next few days – which for some reason inspired coastal and geological walks. However, it did allow a recky of the Old Man of Stoer for those endeavouring to conquer it on a better weather day. A party of us also got up Suilven (whose pronunciation was much debated) while others of us bailed out of a pending wet epic on Foinaven and Arkle (the definition of epic also being much debated)!

Thanks to Hugh, we were ‘rescued’ from the joys of wet weather camping by his wonderful hut suggestion. Lots of laughter and the ‘occasional’ wine and whiskey drinking went on. Hugh was on top form with his ‘Hughisms’ and extraordinary ability to ‘name that film soundtrack’! It was great also to see Sue who joined us for a couple of days.

Most of the party set off back home on sat. The weather being ‘a little’ better that day prompted John, Gary and I to climb Ben Deag and 2 other neighbouring tops. A glorious day, rewarded with fantastic views of Sutherland and An Teallach.

Overall, a great holiday! Thanks to all those who came along.