Muirshearlich, Scotland

SM and TG on Carn Mor Dearg before tackling the arrete onto Ben Nevis

February 23 – March 2                                          Muirshearlich, Scotland

Present: John Anderson, Andrew Dyson, Jenny Greenwood, Tom Greenwood, John Gresty, Ian Hargreaves, Bill Hunter (G), Helen Kerr (G), Brian Melia, Susan Melia, Dave Owen, Carol Pettifar, Dave Pettifar, Malcolm Sizer, Steve Skelton.

We were blessed with perfect winter conditions – hard-packed snow on the tops, and for the most part bright sun blazing out of a blue sky, with not much wind. The temperature stayed low, so the snow stayed firm. The party was accommodated in two comfortable cottages at Seangan Croft in Muirshearlich on the Caledonian Canal north of Fort William.

The first day saw most of the group climb Gulvain – a long walk in and steep climb leading to a pleasant sunny ridge. This obviously put a few off, as the day after it was a smaller party that tackled Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm from Glenfinnan, making full use of the available daylight. On the third day, one party made the long but worthwhile journey to Mull to climb Ben More by the scrambling route over A’Chioch, whilst another tackled Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg arête. After three long days, a “rest” day (walks not as long or as high as previously) was brought to an enjoyable close with a communal meal in the larger of the cottages in honour of Andrew’s birthday, prepared superbly by Helen.

A climb up Beinn Bhan, a Corbett above Glen Loy close to the cottages, gave a relatively short and relaxing day before the last day’s successful round of the Ring of Steall from Glen Nevis by Bill, Helen and Susan, which required a torch-lit descent from Sgurr a’Mhaim at the end of an 11 hour plus day. Andrew and Ian retired after An Gearanach, objective attained, preferring the pub to another very long day on the tops.

Hill walking was only one of the pursuits. Brian, in training for ultra-marathons first in Japan and then round Mont Blanc, went running every day and went up and down Ben Nevis at least three times during the week. John G sampled the downhill skiing on Aonach Mor. John A, Dave O and Steve cycled on roads, forest tracks and the graded trails of the Nevis Range. Tom resisted the temptation to go up Tower Ridge again.

An extremely successful meet – it can happen in Scotland in winter!

Ian Hargreaves           23 Munros to go

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