'The new overnighter'
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
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