On the weekend of 12th/13th August, the club made a first return to the magnificent Rothiemurchus Lodge, perched high in the foothills of the Western Cairngorms. We had last visited back in September, 2018.
The resident warden, Genial George (aye – there’s more than one!) remained in post and ensured we were re-familiarised with the lower floor of the Union Jack Lodge. The heavy-duty cooking rings posed no problem but there was much communal head scratching before the ovens were finally operational.
Unfortunately, with the holiday season in full swing and other commitments, only a small number of members were able to attend the meet – despite the weather being as perfect as it possibly could be.
John Calder, George Henderson, Susan Henderson, Alyn McNaughton, Louise McCulloch, Norrie Shand, Jim Aire (Friday) and Gerry Weir (Friday)
First to arrive on Friday was Louise, but she was a Miss on a mission with some mighty big fish to fry. Shortly after parking her car, she headed up to the Lairig Ghru with her tent and overnight gear in her pack intent on a high camp. First though she was to traverse the high Cairngorm summits of Braeriach, Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul and finally the Devil’s Point where the tent was pitched close to the summit. These four Munros took her to within a couple of the halfway point in her round.
Food, refreshment, and a glorious sunset rounded off a great day. A morning descent to the Lairig Ghru and the long slog north to the lodge on Saturday followed, with the reward of some peace and tranquillity at the Pools of Dee , and the greater reward of the comfy chairs back at base.
Jim and Gerry had risen early on Friday morning and en route to the hut they stopped off to climb the Munros of Càrn Liath and Stob Poite Coire Àrdair – part of the Creag Meagaidh group. The heat was hot and cooling off was a necessity.
The others arrived at the Lodge on Friday afternoon and enjoyed the usual convivial evening. There was even time to nip outside for a few tasty sunset shots – before heading back inside for a few more tasty sunset shots of a different variety.
As Saturday dawned in majestic sunshine, Norrie had his eyes on the trek to Braeriach. This was to be his first attempt at a Munro since Skyefall in March when he injured his ankle and wrist. He ambled up the Lairig Ghru before ascending the well-worn track which leads up onto the Braeriach plateau. No land speed records were in danger, but he progressed eventually to the summit where a mini-snooze was enjoyed before George and Susan joined him on the summit, having approached from a slightly different direction.
They had taken the high road very shortly after leaving the Lodge and climbed the steep slopes of the subsidiary summit of Carn Eilrig ( Hill of the Obsessed ??) before traversing south to the seldom visited Loch Coire an Lochain nestling as the name suggests in a magnificent corrie. As the mountain hares and ptarmigan dived for cover, George took the opportunity for a “chunky dip” in the cool waters.
From there the summit was only a short distance away (but a decent climb) where they met up with their snoozing sidekick.
They strolled back together for a couple of kilometres before the dynamic duo broke off to take in the wee summit of Castle Hill that overlooks the Lodge.
On their way down they bumped into John and Alyn who were heading up to the Braeriach summit to complete their day.
They had brought some climbing gear with them and their main target for the day was the 200m excellent pinnacled arete – Lairig Ridge, officially rated a “Difficult” rock climb on the west side of the Lairig Ghru. It was an entertaining climb but posed no problems to men of their experience and the continuation to the Munro summit was a satisfying extension to the climbing route.
Unfortunately, due to Jim’s work commitments he and Gerry had to return home on Saturday. There was time though for them to head into Glen Feshie and ascend the shapely Munro of Sgòr Gaoith with great views over Loch Eanaich to Braeriach.
As Norrie dragged himself back homewards, a couple of “ladies” passed him – neither of whom could be described as a spring-chicken. As he stopped for a drink one said, “You are doing very well!” If the comment was meant to be motivational, it had exactly the opposite effect.
Finally, he arrived back at the Lodge, utterly parched and desperate for a drink of the cold beers he had put in the fridge. Except they weren’t there!! A tantrum of EltonJohnian proportions followed as a short list of potential culprits was drawn up. The others though, were putting bets on the beers actually being in his own fridge at home.
Calmness eventually descended and another enjoyable evening with a short musical interlude followed. There was even time for another late evening trip outdoors to battle the midge and get a few more photos in the dying sun.
Those attending had a marvellous weekend and hopefully a return to the Lodge sometime in the future will see greater numbers attending.