Milehouse Hut, Kincraig – 17th/18th December 2021

‘Twas the weekend before Xmas and all was quiet…well, except for at Milehouse!

That said, it was a little quieter than usual, with a new strain of Covid on the loose and a re-tightening of measures, we were a few shy of filling the hut, which was a real shame as it’s among the best of them. Long overdue for a meet too, was a decent forecast and, not to rub it in, the weather was excellent. Settled, cold, hard frost overnight and unusually warm, blue-sky days. All that was missing was the snow!

Members Attending: Gerry Weir; Louise McCulloch; George Henderson; Susan Henderson; Adrian Mowat; Ania Borg; Jim Aire & Lorn Smith.

Guest(s):  Malcolm Russell.

Apologies: John Calder; Raymond Evenden; Norrie Shand; James Duncan Fraser; Alyn McNaughton; Bill Dallas.

Most of those in attendance were busy on route to the meet on Friday, making the most of the conditions. George & Susan went into the Monadhliath for Geal Charn on their way North, while Louise wasn’t too far from them, on the Drumochter 2 (Carn na Caim & A ‘Bhuidheanach Beag).

Lorn was further West, taking on Gulvain, where inversion conditions were in, but probably needed to be 100 feet higher to fully appreciate it. Only the highest peaks in Arkaig, Knoydart and beyond were visible above the cloud. Meanwhile, Gerry and his guest Malcolm cracked on up the road to get the fire on and, by the time Jim A arrived, the hut was well warmed and food, snacks and refreshments already in full flow, though not a particularly late night (even Gerry kept his musical powder dry) as everyone planned to take advantage of the good forecast.
We awoke to a hard frost on Saturday and, after the usual breakfast melee, didn’t quite scatter to the four winds, but all roads led to the Cairngorms. George, through some skilled coercion the previous evening, had managed to persuade Gerry to join in his plan (a very good plan, to be fair) that would allow George, Susan and Louise to scale Sgor Gaoith from near Balachroick.
The plan was then to meet up with Gerry on Mullach Clach a Blair, having left his car at Achlean.
Malcolm took the opportunity for a wander up Glen Feshie from Achlean to sample the delights of the relatively recently upgraded Ruigh Aitcheachain bothy and had time to enjoy it, making an acquaintance whilst there. They all reconvened at Achlean later, having achieved their respective targets in the finest of conditions.

The forecast was panning out as hoped (and as forecast, for once!) and Adrian & Ania, having opted for Ben MacDui, were also rewarded with crystal clear views in all directions. They and Jim & Lorn, over on Bynack More, enjoyed uninterrupted views of each other’s hill of choice, along with all the other Eastern Cairngorms.
Despite the frosty start, the temperatures on the summits were, bizarrely, in the mid to high teens and it felt strange to be walking in t-shirts in December.  There was still plenty of snow on the ground, but little enough of it that it could usually be evaded if need be and avoiding the need to don crampons.

Jim and Lorn meanwhile, had good views across to Ben MacDui from their target of Bynack More, which they’d cycled in to from Glenmore Lodge and, from high on the track, could see that inversion conditions had again set in, far out to the West.

The Barns of Bynack (where Jim couldn’t resist a wee scramble) and the Munro Top of A’Choinneach gave an extension of the day, before returning over Bynack Beag (also a Munro Top) and into Strath Nethy, towards the bikes.

Returning to the hut, after a quick stop in Aviemore, Lorn still had to go out to maintain a December run challenge and Jim decided to tag along in the icy cold darkness.  Running down by Loch Insh and on to the Glen Feshie right of way, they were met and, soon after, chased by some mad cows!  That sure quickened the pace and the heart rate so they were back at the hut sooner than they might otherwise have been.

A fine evening was enjoyed by all at the hut with appetites sated, literally and metaphorically.  Gerry, well-rested from the previous evening, kept the tunes going and everyone entertained for several hours, in a marathon solo shift before, one by one they all trooped off to their bunks.

Sunday’s clear-up was soon upon us (the pressure was on to ensure Fraz’s high standards were maintained, in his absence!) and it was another fine day outside.

Jim and Lorn had a run up to Alvie Tower and the Duke of Gordon Memorial/Waterloo Monument before heading back down the A9 where, the road emerged from the cloud in an inversion just at the Pass of Drumochter.  Louise was heading for Cairngorm and Ben MacDui (which, I think, took her tally of Munros for the year to over 100!), enjoying similar conditions to those experienced the day before. 

George and Susan meanwhile, stopped off at the Uath Lochans, before heading on closer to home and another leg stretch towards Ben Vrackie from Killiecrankie (O).

Happy New Year* and see you all for the Burns Supper at Glen Clova in January 2022!
(*Somewhat belated as this is being issued months later!)

One thought on “Milehouse Hut, Kincraig – 17th/18th December 2021

  1. Some belting photos there – particularly like the last two. I love the Cairngorms at any time of year but particularly like them in winter…

    Cows will definitely run along after you if you’re running – I run across their fields for fun just to get them to have a mad chase – you have to know when to turn and face them to stop them though or they’ll cannon into you!


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