Report on Kinlochleven Weekend
8 February 2008
Phil and I travelled up with Gail and it was a lovely drive, the sun was shining and the views were brilliant. We arrived at the hostel first and had a quick look around before heading straight to pub. No-one there either, we were beginning to think that we had picked wrong weekend or wrong venue when Malcolm arrived followed by Steve and Elaina. Had another wee drink then went to hostel to sort out beds etc. That must have taken about 30 minutes then back to pub, by this time we were joined by most of the others. On the way to pub Craig took a flying leap off the pavement, a quick mid air spin followed by double axle as he landed flat on his back. This was all before he had even had one drink. Think what fun he would be when he?s had a few. I am still laughing when I think about it. We had a great wee night in the pub and we were joined by Ginge and Chris from Cornwall, what a great couple of guys they were. They had met up with club members a few years ago and have kept in touch with Irene.
On Saturday morning we set off to attempt Sgurr Eilde Mor, the weather wasn?t as bright as it had been but it was quite mild. There was Irene, Gail, Alison, Maureen, me, Phil, Craig, Mark, Gavin, Malcolm, Robin, Ginge and Chris. We managed to get about halfway when we were confronted by a very deep, quite wide, fast flowing river. The guys all managed to get across and quickly got their cameras out to capture the view if one of us wee short legged girls fell in. Maureen got across without falling in but the rest of us decided we didn?t want to risk getting soaked so, joined by Phil we decided to head back. We stopped for lunch in a wee sheltered spot then decided that we would follow a track that would lead us to the loch. There was a wee path leading off this, which led us up the hillside and along the conduit. The views were great and the weather got better. Eventually it led us down the very steep hillside and back to the pub. The whole walk took us about eight hours and was very enjoyable. The others who had not been able to get to the summit either due to very strong winds met us in the pub.
We had a great meal on Saturday night in MacDonald hotel, followed by some alcoholic beverages. I was a bit of a washout and had an early night. Apparently after trying to finish off Craig?s box of wine, Gail was the star of the show!
Sunday morning was another fine dry day. Irene, Mark, Robin, Gail, Phil and I set off to walk to Blackwater Reservoir. We followed the path that led us up and onto the aquaduct. The views were great and it was really warm, we walked in short sleeves most of the way. I managed to pick up a wee geocache up beside the cemetery. It was a lovely wee place, it was very moving reading the gravestones and it made me wonder what life must have been like for those men living up there and building that massive dam without the use of the engineering equipment they have these days. I also wondered what role had been played by the only woman buried there, Mrs Reilly. The mind boggles. I had never been up to the reservoir before and was really impressed. It is one kilometre wide and thirteen kilometres long, that?s a lot of water. In the exposed area up at the dam it was quite windy so we took shelter behind the derelict house for our lunch. We then followed our steps back the way we had come and enjoyed views again as it got brighter and warmer. We were all really tired when we got back to the car park were glad to get the boots off.
It was a great weekend and everyone seemed to have a really good time. We finished it off by stopping at the Real Food Caf? in Tyndrum, I had a chip roll, soaked in vinegar and it seemed like the best Sunday dinner I have ever had. Well earned too. Can?t wait for the next weekend trip.
After much despondency after the thaw from the previous weekend's snow Saturday morning turned out to be cloudy but dry. We arrived as promised at the car park at 9.15 but there was no sign of our fellow Craggy friends! A quick phone call to Irene and it became clear that it would be at least half an hour before they would be ready so Elaina and I decided to go on towards the eastern Mamores.
A good steady plod through the woods saw us hit the landrover track within an hour. We headed east towards Loch Eilde Mor and along it's northern shore passing a boathouse and several streams in full spate. We did see a path heading up the hill but didn't fancy the look of the waterfalls it seemed to be heading for so carried on until we were due south of Sgurr Eilde Mor. And so we hit the open hill, easy going grass at first but then it steepened until at one point we were on a 75 degree slope which unfortunately coincided with the wind getting up a bit! However we managed to grab enough clumps of heather to get ourselves up onto the rockier ground above.
Surprisingly we then started to meet other people, a couple coming down and others who had traversed round from the western slopes. At one point we found some rocks to shelter behind and decided, sensibly as it turned out, to have a spot of lunch. Eventually we hit the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor but didn't hang around as the wind was just about blowing us over!
The original plan had been to do do Binnein Beag as well but time was running out so we headed down the southwest scree towards Coire an Lochain. Some interesting snow filled gullies and earth moving moments saw us eventually level out at the lochan. Then the fun really began as we realised that the outflow stream wasn't the easiest to cross. Fortunately a couple of other walkers joined us at that point and between us we all managed to get across, albeit having to recover an ice axe from the water!
And so we went on to the penultimate obstacle of the day, the Allt Coire nan Laogh, which we took one look at and then decided to follow the feint path down it's eastern bank. Slippy though it was it was preferable to the risk of a dunking! And so we hit the landrover track just as the rain started. We then donned headtorches to negotiate the final obstacle, the woods that led back to the village.
An excellent night in the MacDonald Hotel followed with good food, drink and company as usual!
Dorothy McGhee and Steve Morley