Braemar Lodge Bunkhouse – 5th/6th June 2015

The Club’s main June meet is fixed for Coruisk on 26th and 27th June, but to avoid an eight week gap between outings we arranged a supplementary meet on 5th and 6th June at the Braemar Lodge Bunk House.  As it happened, most members were unavailable and also the unseasonal weather put a few people off. Nevertheless six members attended and in addition a friend of the club, Jason Bostock from Lancashire was up in Scotland on a Munro bagging expedition accompanied by his Dad and they both joined us for the two nights.

Members attending:

Blair Fraser, James Fraser, Logan Fraser, George Henderson, Susan Henderson, Norrie Shand

Plus Guests:

Andy Bostock, Jason Bostock

On Friday, James and his two sons, Logan and Blair headed north from Tillicoultry and stopped off at the Cairnwell on the way up. Conditions were rather windy and James could not persuade the boys to move on to Carn Aosda, particularly as their hunger pangs were rapidly developing.

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Meanwhile, Jason had spent the majority of the day on an ascent of Carn Bhac above Glen Ey.  Again, conditions were very wet and windy but another Munro was safely ticked off before making his way down to meet the others at the Bunkhouse.

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Also on Friday, Norrie met George and Susan at the Bunkhouse in the early afternoon and, in the light of the conditions they decided to stretch their legs on a nearby Corbett, Carn na Drochaide, North west of Braemar. This Corbett is fairly unremarkable but it does offer some excellent extensive views over to the Eastern Cairngorms and down over Braemar to Lochnagar. Fortunately the conditions remained good enough to appreciate the views, but looking over to Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird there was no envy of anyone battling the elements on those summits.

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A pleasant evening was spent in the Bunkhouse over supper and a few drinks as Jason brought the rest of the members up to date with his exploits during the preceding week. Norrie had generously brought up one his bottles of homemade wine for a communal tasting. With elegant notes of turpentine and stagnant bog, the brave and bold of the Club ensured the bottle was finished and could hardly hide their glee when informed there were still 15 more bottles waiting to be taken on future trips.

James’ initial plan was to try for Ben Avon on the Saturday with the boys but conditions dictated that it wasn’t a good idea and they elected instead to accompany Jason on a bike run and climb up Mount Keen. They chose the route through the Forest of Glen Tanar and were able to ride (and later, push) their bikes very close to the summit in preparation for a hair-raising (though not in Jason’s case) white-knuckle ride back to the cars.

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There was some severe buffeting on top due to the exceptionally high winds and not too much time was spent on top before heading for the bikes. The bike run down was exhilarating and before long they were all back at the cars – all except Logan, that is, who took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the river, a long way from where the cars were parked. His carrying on of the Fraser tradition was rewarded later with a formal presentation of the wooden compass.

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In the meantime, heeding the forecast, George, Susan and Norrie had headed for the Corbett of Morven, north of Ballater.  The hill was approached from the East by the ruins of Balhennie Farm. A track was followed all the way to the top. It was very blustery and a welcome shelter cairn allowed lunch to be eaten in relative comfort. Though certainly not as dramatic as the high Munros of the Cairngorms and West Highlands the views across the rolling Aberdeenshire countryside are very pleasing on the eye.

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Later, back in the Bunkhouse it seemed that Jason had prepared supper for everyone – but it transpired that the mountain of food he had cooked was to replace only his own spent calories.

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After supper several of the group headed down to the Invercauld Arms Hotel to watch the European Champions League Final and enjoy a beer or two.

After the game, another drink or two was had back in the Bunkhouse and a few songs were rattled off. Andy regaled the group with “The Leaving of Liverpool” and some other shanties whilst a few other old favourites were also belted out.

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As the clock struck midnight, a collective sigh of relief echoed around the dining area as the McGrandles Cup was officially held over until the next meeting.

The next morning, Norrie headed off for home. James, Blair and Logan stopped off at Carn Aosda on the way down Glenshee – James would hear of no excuse this time. Their weekend was rounded off by a trek up to the summit.

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George and Susan decided they should progress their second round of Corbetts before heading home by climbing Conachcraig above Glen Muick.

Andy had declared that he wanted to climb Lochnagar before heading back down to Lancashire so he and Jason duly drove round to the Spittal of Glen Muick to tackle this, the most prominent mountain the region. Cloud was hanging over the summit when they started but it soon cleared and they successfully gained the highest summit of Cac Carn Beag to round off a great week for them albeit not in the most favourable conditions.

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