Monday, 3 November 2014

Ad Hoc Bonfire Meet Report, Saturday 8 November 2014

Four members turned out in potentially very soggy conditions and trudged up Dent fell for what was not quite a damp squib, more like a waft squib.   It seems that, in the strong wind, a flame could not be sustained to light any of the fireworks with.

Attendees retreated to the pub in dis-gust.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sunday Walk Report 2nd November 2014

The first Sunday walk of the new membership year received the magnifcent attendance of one member in addition to the leader.

The itinerary followed little used paths up onto the South Ennerdale ridge, taking in Haycock, Scoat Fell, Pillar and White Pike, descending by another little used path diagonally down through the forest to minimise the distance on the valley gravel road.  Conditions were very cold in the strong wind on the tops, a few spots of rain and hail just around the summit region of Pillar, otherwise very pleasant conditions. On return to the car park, a bold and cheeky robin decided to investigate the inside of the leader's car and was lucky to be spotted and encouraged to jump ship before being accidentally relocated to a new home in Egremont.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Dalwhinnie Meet Report, 13-14 September 2014

Only five members attended; Ross and John arrived, separately, after spending some days beforehand, peak bagging.  Jan, Sarah and Martin L, drove up late Friday.  Weather forecast was good, but not quite as good as the prior few days which were wall-to-wall sunshine, whereas the two weekend days started with a low mist which burned off to 50% cloud cover, about mid-day. On Saturday, John began in earnest his tackling of the relative hills of Britain, getting four in the bag, including one which was accessible from the hut door.  Sarah tackled the Monadliath Munros after some ribbing about wasting a good weather day on such hills lacking in interest. Martin L had a 26 mile mega-day, cycling in to Strathossian (a long hard ride, I've done it myself to access the remote Corbett Leum Uilliem - so he might have to cycle it again if he goes on to do the Corbetts) to access the four Munros and Tops north of Ben Alder (the access to these Munros is more difficult following the closure of the Culra bothy); he was glad for the meal made for him of leftovers from the rest of the group.

Sunday brought similar weather and the dispersal of the group; John headed SW to begin the completion of his round of Munros in non-winter conditions (suceeded 15 September, on Bidean nam Bian, in, of course, classic pea soup conditions, with the cloudbase socked in at 950 metres). Ross and Jan headed West for a foray into the beautiful Knoydart area.  Sarah headed back home via an attempt on the Munros north of Blair Atholl, where the normally boggy moorland return path would be nice and dry after the long dry spell.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Barbeque Report, Friday 11 July 2014

Eight members enjoyed a sunny evening, being smoked like kippers, in the garden at El Presidente's abode and subsidised your club's assets to the tune of £40 surplus over the cost of the event.  Conversation was varied but most memorable was that of an airborne lamb trying out its flying skills for the first and only time in finding the fastest way down a crag, somewhat unsuccessfully; another lamb, in the process of being lowered down the crag just wanted to stop and nonchalantly graze on the way down.  Cam the dog entertained with his attempts at telekenesis; willing gravity, through intense and patient staring, to spontaneously assist his faded rubber chicken to descend towards his teeth.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sunday Walk Report, 6 July 2014

The venue was Brother's Water. Only the meet organiser turned out; he went
up Brock Crags, The Nab, Rest Dodd, The Knott, Rampsgill Head, Kidsty Pike, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag & Gray Crag. Weather was 90% sunshine and very little wind.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Winter meet March 2015

I have various proposals for March 2015 and would welcome your view.

1. We could stay at Slochd Bunkhouse  just off the A9 after Aviemore - Very comfortable, luxurious even and is £20 per night. This opens up Cairngorms and further North. They also have Nordic Skis for hire should there be adequate snow.

2. Culdees Bunkhouse , Aberfeldy.  £18 a night and is a little closer - Loch Tay.

3.  SMC hut below Buchaille Etive Mor   £10 per night

All have pros and cons -  Let me know your preferred option and also dates in March. It will be subject to hut availability!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Meet Report 1st June 2014

The Grasmere based Sunday walk was attended by the usual threesome - they went up Steel Fell, Tarn Crags & Blea Rigg and experienced sunny weather for a change.

Spring Bank Holiday Meet, 23-27 May 2014 at Forest Way bunkhouse, Inverlael.

Seven members made their way North on Friday, overnighting at the independent hostel at Slochd; Dianne and Martin climbed a Corbett to the East of Dromochter summit, en route.

On Saturday, Jake and Chris climbed the Corbett “Breabag”; Sarah climbed Ben Dearg and two of the adjacent Munros; Ross climbed two Grahams in Strath Connon; some members finished the day at various tea shops.  John re-joined the group again having traversed the Ben Mor Coigach group in a mixture of low cloud and sunshine and having mopped up all of the remote Northern Grahams over the intervening fortnight since the Glen Etive meet.  One of the ridges provided about 2 km of scrambling opportunity along a narrow airy ridge.
Sgurr an Fhidhleir Buttress (left), from Ben Mor Coigach
Sunday was beset by low cloud.  Dianne, Jan and “Cam” the dog navigated around three of the Fannich Munros in very low visibility.  John climbed the Graham Ben an Eoin in similar conditions (on a “size for irk” ratio, one of the most irksome Grahams, being beset by extremely arduous terrain underfoot).  
Sign at start of access to Ben an Eoin!
Jake and Chris had a long day climbing the challenging Beinn Dearg Corbetts in the Fisherfield Forest.  Martin and Sarah climbed on the Ardmair buttresses but were restricted on route choice by the weepage down many of the routes.
Monday, Jake and Chris set off back home with a view to climbing a Corbett off the side of Drumochter Pass. John climbed another Graham, Meall Dubh (“black hill”, an appropriate name for the peat and the socked-in cloud!). Ross part-cycled his way to two Grahams beside Ben Wyvis – a long day with an arduous peaty moorland crossing to the second one and back.  Martin and Sarah climbed a challenging ridge (also managed by “Cam” the dog (84 equivalent years old now, poor old fella)), up on to Cona Mheall and round onto Am Faochagach, involving a tricky river crossing at the end and suffering torrential downpours in the latter stages.  Having had a demanding day on Sunday, Dianne and Jan visited the Inverewe gardens, near the coast, experiencing glorious sunshine!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Climbing meet report, Wednesday, 14 May 2014.

Eeeeh, some dry weather, at last. Three people attended at Shepherds Crag, Borrowdale; “Adam” and “Delight Maker” were climbed in fine weather.

Glen Etive Meet Report, 9-11th May 2014

Eight members attended. After an inauspicious start of rain pattering on the hut roof on Saturday morning and hence a relatively late rise, members got out in various groups to do various objectives, amongst occasional light showers, which had the bonus of providing some very vivid rainbows when the sun shone through chinks in the cloud.  Jake and Chris tackled a compact group (rare) of three Corbetts near Loch Ailort, with a lot more descent and re-ascent between peaks than perhaps they had anticipated.  Ross and Jan took on a pair of Grahams near Inchree and, following the guide book, took their choice of “any of the streams through the forest”; unfortunately they chose one of the several streams other than the only one which leads without purgatorial effort up on to the desired ridge.  Sarah, Martin and Johnny went for Ben Starav and its tops but, instead of climbing back up from the distantly outlying top at 918 metres, they opted to descend the West ridge and then had a long hard tramp around the “interminable” loch shore. John bagged a brace of Grahams at the foot of Glencoe, without incident; these gave magnificent views up the Glencoe valley, through the arch of one of the most complete and vivid rainbows he has ever seen.

Sunday; Johnny went directly home with a gammy knee.  Ross, Jan and Sarah climbed the two Grahams which John had climbed the day before. Jake and Chris climbed a Corbett near to Ben Heasgarnich. John went much further North to Struy and got permission to take a car up Glen Strathfarrar to climb a Graham in the pouring rain before heading further Northwards to start climbing the remote, outlying Grahams of the far North, over the next couple of weeks.

Climbing meet report, Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Another meet beset by rain, which prevented play on the crag from even starting.  Members went to Penrith climbing wall instead.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Meet Report, Sunday Walk, 4 May 2012

Speaking too soon and just deserts.

Well, announcing a reminder of the Sunday with prospects of good weather was bound to be risky and so it turned out to be – yet another Sunday walk beset by poor weather. Four stoic members and a guest (including that old guy again) set out from Ennerdale in sizeable precipitation.  The originally planned itinerary was slightly modified to assist your newsletter editor in collecting in some of the controls of the Easter mystery trip, which is now closed.  The route took us up, around the flanks of Crag Fell on what was possibly the old daily access route to work for the miners at the old mine workings around this area.  Then out to the remains of a crashed aeroplane in 50m visibility fog, driving rain and wind which numbed un-gloved hands. Upon working round to the reward cache it was found, disappointingly for all of the effort put in by the course organiser, that not a single reward had been claimed, so the editor generously allowed the entire cache of 35 rewards to be shared between just the five of us – yum, yum, amply providing compensation for the poor weather.  We were happy to leave just a load of raspberries for everyone else.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Crianlarich Meet Success

Martin & Sarah climbed a Corbett on the drive up to the meet, on Thursday.

On Friday, the group woke to new snowfall down to about 200m. Martin & Sarah climbed the Munro Meall Ghaordhie whilst John, having now suspended his winter Munro bagging for another year until next winter, climbed a Graham.

On Saturday, members woke to fresh snow on the cars in the hut car park.  Martin and Sarah drove as far as possible up the minor road to where the Ben Lawers visitor centre used to be and then took advantage of another party’s trail through the deep snow to reach the summit of the Munro Meall nan Tarmachan.  Due to the low visibility they decided not to attempt to follow the convoluted ridge westwards and returned.  John attempted a Graham via an intermediary, sub-Graham hill, but met trackless deep heather which resulted in an “endless” sequence of post-holing through knee to waist deep snow drifts and with no-one else to share the hard work of breaking trail retreated after the intermediary hill.

On Sunday, there were azure skies and Sarah and Martin climbed the Corbett Beinn Chuirn, near Beinn Laoigh (Ben Lui). With no-one to share the trail breaking on any Grahams, John returned home early.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Culra Bothy Closure

The MBA have just announced closure of the wooden hut bothy at Culra, allegedly due to an asbestos hazard.  More information can be found at  This bothy provided a good base for the remote Munros around Ben Alder. (Editor's note:- I am fairly certain that there is also a stone/rendered adjacent building which I have used in the past). Ben Alder Cottage is perhaps the nearest alternative (free) base, otherwise it's Loch Ossian SYHA (very basic, no showers, no fridge, just like a bothy, really.......except bothies don't need a fridge, they often are one).

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Away Meets

Crianlarich is coming up soon. Still a couple of places available, let me know if you are interested.
The weather is improving! - Winter climbing and Winter munro bagging to be had.

After Crianlarich is the meet in Glen Etive  at  the hut Inbhirfaolin -  basic hut but lovely setting -  Book now.

Early notice for  the second bank holiday  in May 2015 I have booked 8 places at Mar Lodge  bunkhouse for 4 nights . It is a bit more expensive but a special place. £18 per night .

Climbing Wall
A big thank you to the team who have been re-routing the wall.  I hear good reports and will be down soon to try them out.

Sarah Kekus

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Check the new page on our website with news of recent exploits and adventures. Read about Glenn's amazing trip to Antartica.
Come and join us in Crianlarich on 21st March for our Scottish Winter meet.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Club Member Personal Activity, Greenland

John Starbuck was in Greenland in Spring 2013. A 3 hour flight in a small twin engined Otter from Iceland and across the partly frozen North Atlantic took him and fellow expeditioners to the East coast of Greenland. A 12 hour snowmobile journey was made from the coast to the foot of the Oxford glacier.. The valley and glacier were ascended on skis, towing pulks, to establish a base camp.  Conditions were extremely cold and waist deep powder snow made the going very arduous. Very high avalanche risk conditions prevailed above the base camp, seriously curtailing climbing opportunities. A couple of technically easy first ascents were made, mainly on skis and then the last few hundred feet floundering up waist deep powder snow.

More details and video of the expedition is on the Member's Exploits page.

Club Member Personal Activity, Antarctica

Glenn Wilks was in Antarctica during December 2013.  Glenn sailed into Antarctica as a part of a ski mountaineering trip during which four first ascents were achieved.

Meet Report for Sunday 2 February 2014

Three stalwart members of West Cumbria Mountaineering Club (one aged 76) had a great day out on the Grassmoor fells on Sunday, in spite of the very strong and blustery winds.  Southwards, moist air from the Southwest enveloped the Ennerdale fells from Red Pike to High Crag in dark, ominous cloud but, being in the weather shadow, the Grassmoor fells were clear of cloud and members made the best of a day without rain for the first time in a week or more.  Fresh snow highlighted all the detailed intricacies of the crags and gullies which seam the North side of the Ennerdale fells. Parts of the path up the lower section of Gasgale Gill have been washed away and there was some minor entertainment in tackling a couple of smooth, slippery wet rock steps on the new path, with not a small drop to the blue and white churning water in the gill, in high spate, below.