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Last updated: 15/10/10


'The new overnighter'
June 2007

On Saturday 30 June, a stout band of 11 left Aberdeen and its environs at the very civilised hour of 10.00 am, en route to the fastnesses of the South Cluanie Ridge. An equally civilised stop was made for coffee etc. at Baxters of Fochabers, and then a rather more unseemly scramble took place at the Inverness Tesco as the awful prospect of no proper evening meal loomed ahead. Eventually, with yet another stop for soup, haggis, etc. at Cluanie Inn, we made it to the hills, naturally just as the forecast rain started to patter down. Undaunted, the bulk of the contingent de-minibussed at Allt Mhalagain (Fiona deciding to stay nearer the morning rendezvous point at Cluanie Inn), and struck up the hill. Two parties went up into Glen Toteil, where they promptly got lost en route up to the Bealach Duibh Leac, and two other parties ascended the Forcan Ridge, from where all nine Munros to the east were to be attempted.

The morning brought various stories, some good, some bad. Ken and Lydia had done both tops of their Corbett, Sgurr a’Bhac Chaolais, with a near-summit campsite and then a splendid bumpy ridge south to Buidhe Beinn, and back. Willie had had to bail out halfway up to the Bealach due to an upset stomach, and had been collected by Alec later in the evening. Fiona had ascended the two easterly Munros, and then slept out amongst orchids (and some midges) above Cluanie Inn. After a Munro or three, Derek had decided that to do all the rest yet again was not essential, and so he had descended – with some difficulty – a corrie to the roadside near the battle site. All the others (Colin and Eilidh; and Dave, Alison and Kes) had battled on east from the Saddle, with a high-level bivouac, Colin and Eilidh reaching Cluanie Inn at about 12.30 pm and the other three nearer 2.30 pm. However, the pain of waiting for those below was greatly alleviated by Macmillan’ Mobile Caff, serving piping hot tea and freshly brewed coffee in the fitful sunshine – and when lunchtime came round, the Inn happened to be just across the road.

After the evening showers, the weather had improved overnight, with the main ridge clearing from time to time and place to place, and all had enjoyed the day (and/or night). Various wildlife had been sighted (and/or heard), including deer, goats, ptarmigan (some with chicks), a fox, a variety of orchids, umpteen frogs, and a Brocken Spectre – and not too many midges! But the main prize was the traverse - by sight if not on foot - of The Saddle, Sgurr na Sgine, Craig nan Damh, Sgurr an Lochain, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Maol Chinn-Dearg, Aonach air Chrith, Druim Shionnach and Creag a’Mhaim. The Club’s reinstatement of the Overnighter was voted a success by all, and various alternatives for next year have already been discussed. Grateful thanks to Alec Macmillan, for organising everything from minibus to teaspoons, and doing nearly all the driving.

Author: Ken Thomson