Monday, 27 June 2016

40th Anniversary B-B-Q

Corrie, Arran: 24th - 26th June

The celebration BBQ was based at Corrie & Sannox Village Hall on the Island of Arran.  

The Kyle Club is an Ayrshire based mountaineering club so Arran was the obvious choice for this event.  The Club has a long history and attachment to this fantastic Island well known as "Scotland in miniature". There certainly is something there for everyone.   

The Village hall also has been used by the club on many occasions over the years so again a reason to return.

Early morning breakfast in the sun
Everyone had a great time and activities ranged from climbing the many peaks on the Island, coastal walks, circumnavigating the Island on bike and even one member decided to cycle to Campbeltown and back utilising the Lochranza to Claonaig Ferry.  

We were blessed with fantastic weather over the weekend and the midges even decided to stay away on the Saturday evening for the BBQ.

Everyone returned home with a suntan and fond memories of a great weekend.  

 It was a time to reflect and celebrate 40 glorious years of the club.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Being Bhreac: May 2016. Carole George

Beinn Bhreac is a distant Corbett hidden away in the remote Perthshire countryside to the north of Blair Atholl. I’ve set myself a goal of doing all the Corbetts, so it had to be done! Three friends are in the same position so we decided to go en masse. We did think about a fast, lightweight ascent using mountain bikes, but when I read ‘rough, steep track, it does tend to put me off. A combined age of 251 also mitigated against a fast trip!

We decided to do this hill over two days in May - one afternoon to walk in and the second day to do the hill and then walk back out. All the logistics were based on two parties – Claire (Young) and I, plus Pete and Eileen (non-members but long-term friends of mine). It’s been a long time since I did any back-packing and I so enjoyed hunting the gear out, weighing it and deciding who was going to carry what. Pete, Eileen and I were starting our walk-in during the afternoon, but work commitments meant that Claire wouldn’t arrive in Blair until 4.00pm at the earliest. So it was decided that I would carry our tent in and pitch it, and that Claire would carry all the food, the stove and the fuel. Most of you will spot the inherent flaw in this plan!

We decided to walk in from Calvine, rather than Bruar, as it is a much more direct route and no need for a river crossing at Cuilltemhuc. There’s good parking opposite the derelict garage and a Rights of Way signpost for the Minigaig Pass pointed us in the right direction. You can avoid playing chicken on the crossing of the A9 by using the wee pipe tunnel instead.

We set off just before 2.00pm and started walking along an estate road. It is a pretty steep start, so the three of us were glad that we were walking and not using bikes. We’d been walking for about five minutes when we had our first nature sighting of the day – a slow worm. First time in ages that I’ve seen one of these. It was sunny when we started but, true to forecast, the rain started within an hour of us leaving the car, and we walked in full waterproofs for the rest of the day.

Truth be told, it was a relatively dull walk - estate road, rain, mist, trees, no bird song and no views to speak of. So we plodded along for about 8km, having our first break at Cuilltemhuc - the whole of the glen opens up at this point and it is incredibly impressive. We’d walked about another 2km when we heard a Land Rover coming up the track. Never one to miss a trick, I thumbed a lift and the driver stopped – great joy! He was the head stalker and, when we told him of our plans, he took us beyond Bruar Lodge to the second hydro-scheme and offered us the use of his hut for the night – even greater joy!! It was raining heavily at this point so not having to pitch tents was a huge bonus. It rained all night, so we were very lucky indeed.

Too wet to go for a wander, so we tidied the hut up, found a pack of cards and spent the next hour or so playing ‘Happy Families’ and I-Spy. Started feeling peckish about 7.30pm and that’s when I noticed the flaw mentioned above!! Fortunately, Pete and Eileen had a spare freeze-dried meal – their lunch for the next day. Claire broke the land speed record by walking-in in 3hrs 15 mins – she was beginning to wonder why she couldn’t see any tents!

We set off at 8.00am the next morning, in rain and mist. Travelled with light sacs as the stalker was happy for us to leave our gear in the hut while we walked. There’s an excellent stalker’s path by the Allt Beinn Losgairnich so we gained height very quickly. The burn has curved an impressive gorge, with a couple of lovely waterfalls on the way up. Once we got to head of the gorge, the bleakness of the area really hit home – peat hags, bogs, dull mono-coloured ground and still no sight of our hill. For the next couple of hours we plodded along, walking on stretches of path, avoiding the worst of the bogs. We were walking after a week of dry weather, so how soggy this terrain would be after a spell of wet weather I can only imagine – maybe you come in by canoe!

We stayed on the NW side at the first watershed, found the faint path around the deepest peat hags and then the heathery slopes of our hill came into sight – and it still looked miles away!! We finally reached the second watershed, over the River Tarf, about 11.00 and decided to leave all the rucsacs there in order that we could enjoy the last part of the ascent. Very pleasant walking, but rain and mist put paid to any views on the way up. We reached the summit at 11.45 and felt rather pleased to be there. The mist did lift for a few minutes and we got views down both Glens Taft and Feshie – fabulous remote and we did get a sense of utter wildness and isolation.

We didn’t linger long on the summit, but had a lovely lunch when we got back to the Tarf and our sacs. And yes, the walk out was exactly the same as the walk-in! We collected our gear from the hut, then started the long walkout at 3.15pm. We had hoped for a lift out from the guys working at the hydro scheme, but all they managed was a sarcastic wave – no comment! We did meet our generous host on the way out, so good to be able to tell him how much we appreciated the hut and how we’d enjoyed the walk.

The walkout did seem interminable (I did think longingly of my bike!), but at 7.30pm we reached Calvine and the car. A great couple of days – a remote Corbett done with good friends and lots of laughs.

Distance – 41.25km
Ascent – 1,054m
Book Time – 10 to 12 hours
Our Time – 14 hours 15 minutes (split over two days)

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Isle of Tiree: 27th - 30th May

For the annual Island trip, members of the Kyle Mountain Club exchanged boots for bicycles and travelled to Tiree.
The Tiree team with Millhouse bunkhouse and the water-mill

We stayed at Millhouse on Tiree for this trip. 

A well equipped bunkhouse that even put on a wee bit of entertainment for us by running the mill-wheel he is in the process of restoring.

Four glorious days of sunshine and little wind made sure that the group of thirteen covered most of the island

Park the bikes up

                     have a wee BBQ

We enjoyed beautiful beaches: 

archaeological ruins,

Skerryvore lighthouse museum and relics of the RAF’s wartime posting to the island. We even scaled the highest point to see the radar station on Carnan Mor – a bit of a push up but an amazing cycle back down!

Tiree is also well known for its bird population, the pictures below show the rare Corncrake.

Some of the group joined in at the local ceilidh which celebrated the end of Homecoming week on Tiree.