The club has stayed at Ratagan Youth Hostel many times – the setting is idyllic with many opportunities for sunrise & sunset photos over the mountains to the east. On the Saturday the two main groups split to walk over the brothers of Kintail while the others did the five sisters. These hill are well-known for being a strenuous and long day. A few others were happy to attempt the lesser Corbetts & Grahams in the area. The forecast was generally very good for the whole of the country, although the north west was, as is often the case, in low cloud. The day started with a promise of good views, but this was hit and miss depending on which hill was chosen. On the Sunday the weather improved considerably. While hills awaited keen baggers, others went to try out part of the well established Lochalsh trail, which was easy to follow via Suardalan Bothy. A special mention goes to Stuart who combined the two remote grahams An Cruachan and Carn na Breabaig these were summit-ed with the aid of a bike. By Monday the day temperature was very high for this time of year and a few stayed on to increase their mountain tally. Most club members went out on the Saturday night for a meal in the Kintail Lodge. A good night was enjoyed with no complaints about the standard of food & beers.
The first weekend of March saw eight Club members travelling to the excellent Corran Bunkhouse on the West Coast
for the first weekend trip of 2019. As per s*d’s law, after two weeks of very unseasonal glorious weather, the
Atlantic low pressure systems came back in with a vengeance at Saturday lunchtime.
Prior to that, three members had climbed the Graham Beinn Donachain en route to Corran on the Friday. They
reported a hard walk with much trackless going and climbing over locked gates and deer fences. Sounds pretty
much like a typical Graham then.
Saturday dawned and we knew that the weather was going to break about lunchtime so an early start was called for.
Two parties were formed and boarded the Corran Ferry.
The first (sensible) party had a good walk on the Graham of Beinn na Cille. They reported an enjoyable walk with
clear views and some good sightings of eagles and feral goats. Most importantly they were back down before the
rain started and were therefore nice and dry.
The second (not so sensible) party ascended the Graham of Sgurr nan Cnamh from the hydro track on the A861. The
ascent was very enjoyable in good weather – a clear and very snow free Ben Nevis was seen from the top. Five
minutes later the conditions had changed completely with a strong gusty wind and driving torrential rain
necessitating a need to get down off the hill asap. The descent was a battle against very poor conditions with the
rain and wind persisting even at lower levels and everyone getting drenched. The drying room at Corran was then
given a stern test.
A trip into Fort William was made on the Saturday afternoon for a coffee and a peruse round a very good bookshop.
Most opted for a tasty meal on the Saturday night at Inchree Restaurant.
When we woke on Sunday the rain and wind were still going strong. Most opted to return to the East Coast (where
typically it was a bright day) but a couple of hardy members were seen heading in the direction of Dalwhinnie in
search of better weather and a walk.
In spite of the weather, it was an enjoyable weekend with fine company and was good to get some walking done.
Now, I wonder if my boots have dried out yet?
There was a group of 10 on this walk. The conditions were ideal, by the time we reached Fochabers the snow had disappeared. The walk itself was relatively easy and there were excellent views out to sea and the mountains to the north and west. Everybody present enjoyed the walk and I intend including another section of the Moray Way in next years calendar.