Numbers on Day Meets may be declining and Club buses are not how they once looked,
the hills however remain the same. Magical and challenging .... and just a bit tiring ! This is the story of the Glen Isla bus meet of 08/02/09 - a mini-adventure enjoyed by
five on a beautiful and cold snowless day. We didn't get to Glen Isla. Geallaig Hill we got. It's above Crathie - and was just about the right choice on a day where deep snow was our major challange.
Under a full moon at around 07.30am Ken Thomson , Alex Barbour , Derek Beverley , Malcolm Lamont (our coach driver) and Bracken the dog set off West for a day on the hills. Having factored in all the available weather, road and avalanche forecasts for the day Geallaig Hill came out the winner and became our target hill of the day. And so it came to pass that
five arrived at Crathie Church Car-Park and set off North with high hopes of a grand day and an air temperature of -6C.
The Coach and Party at Crathie Car Park
We reached Crathie, parked up and set off around 9.05am. The B976 North had a
sign stating road was "Blocked due to snow" - but it seemed not
bad (early on). It had been ploughed for a little over 2 miles -
till the edge of the forest in fact.
My camera was playing up today (the cold !) and I missed many of the pictures I was after. Here's one I did get however.
Name that Bothy ?
The walking on the ploughed stuff was quite pleasant.
But once clear of the forest and on the hill we had to work.
Ken broke trail early on (and for much of the day in fact) and deserves extra Brownie Points. Fact of the day is that none of us could catch him to take a turn !!!
Planing our route - Ben Avon behind
The remainder of the day continued to be hard work and it was not cold whilst ascending. The views all around were grand and white white white. Ben Avon looked like a massive iced bun - as did all it's neighbours. It really did feel good to be alive and eventually - at around 13.25 we made the shelter and trig point at the top of Geallaig Hill - a fine hill of 2442feet.
Geallaig with Morven behind
Views of Lochnagar, Morven and Glen Callater- all in Winter Dress- enthralled us as we ate our sandwiches in the clear crisp winter sunshine. Bracken did the rounds looking for tit-bits - and was quite successfull. After around 25 mins we set off for down gasping in the wonderment all around us.
Lochnagar from our hill
We passed a skier whilst descending who had come up (almost direct from Crathie). He told of VERY deep snow up through the juniper and silver birch - and this was our chosen route of descent (5 go mad !)
Looking towards the Dee Valley
The snow was deep on the descent but magically so. We regained the Car Park at 15.25 - so a 6 hour 20 min day. We didn't need our head torches after all and in Aboyne a coffee and cake stop was taken in a rather posh Coffee Shop. Malcolm soon had us all back home and that was our day. Mad at times... but quite quite superb.