So good was our Scotland trip this year that we wanted to tell everyone else! So here in the Scotland enclave of our web site a guide to our trip along with plenty of photos.
Leaving Birmingham early on Saturday 27th March we enjoyed an entire day in the minibus arriving late in the evening at the fantastic Youth Hostel on the shores of Loch Duich, in Ratagen.
For the first half of the week (Saturday 27th March to Thursday 1st April) we stayed at the SHA (Scottish Youth Hostel) on the shores of Loch Duich, in Ratagen. This is right in the centre of Glen Sheil surrounded by loads of Munros (little hills of over 3000 feet, 914 metres).
Unfortunately the first day was a bit of a washout with one group receiving more than their fair share of damp, stormy Scottish weather. However, the weather was to get better while we were there with loads of snow around on the summits and ridges. The main highlights of the week were the North and South ridges of Glen Shiel. The Five Sisters of Kintail on the North side were traversed several times during the week of various groups and a traverse (approx. 20 miles) of the South Shiel Ridge taking in 7 munros was also completed. and seemed to be In the days to come there was some exciting winter mountaineering to be had, including numerous traverses of the Five Sisters of Kintail, and the South Sheil Ridge.
The only mistake was visiting a castle on our day off for just £3.50 or so which turned out to be somewhat overpriced. Anyway anger was taken out (every evening in fact) via the game of Risk and several card games.
Glen Coe and Glen Nevis
It has to be said that April fools Day was not taken full advantage of, there being only one notable fool (and no, the minibus didnt actually crash on the way back from the previous evenings expedition to the local Inn). Instead our transfer day was used as a rest day by most, to take advantage of Fort Williams numerous shopping opportunities (not being sarcastic, there are plenty of Outdoor shops situated there). From there we moved on to what was to be our home for the next few days, (Thurs. 1st til Mon. 5th April): Onich on the shores of Loch Linnhe, just 8 miles SW of Fort William. This time we stayed in a pair of chalets, looking down the Loch towards the Irish Sea- other than the last night when one member spent a rather comfortable night in the minibus (no joke), and a further 4 spent a not so comfortable night in a Caravan (nuf said).
From here we had plentiful access to the again excellent mountains of Glen Coe and Glen Nevis. Among the many outings upwardbound, was Ben Nevis (4406f, 1343m) via the CMD arjte, a good Crampons route avoiding many tourists. Also on the hit list was the Ring of Steall, taking in many mountains round the head of Glen Nevis. One notable adventure was Stob Coire nan Lochan, of a mere 3658f, 1115 metres, with one group taking the quick route back down the 400m snow slope ascent - sliding - back into the picturesque Hidden Valley. The rest of the group took a slightly more sombre climb down the other side, descending Snow and Scree slopes, finally meeting, at the always excellent Clachaig Inn. On the same day the Buachaille Etive Mor crew, after enjoying their 3345f, 1020m ascent (luckily also descent) also spending the time to enjoy the snow, both for stepping, on the way up and for sliding back down again.