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Scotland 2013

Permanent Linkby rockaroller on Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:49 am

Gareth Brown
John Geary
Alistair McCoy
Mark Breen
James Hella
Mark Homes
Vincent Walsh
Clare Bradley
Clodagh Laffey
Kathrine McCartan
Partick Poland
Ryan Campbell
Grant Aicken

Andy Porter
Jonny Parr

15-19th March 2013 (Fri-Tue, St Paddy weekend)

Our Scottish adventures always fall on St Paddy’s weekend, which are a few weeks after Varsities. As usual, we where all up early to meet Mark (our designated driver for the trip) at the two Rendez-Vous points at 05:30 and 06:00. This kicked the early weekend off to a good start with most people still looking half asleep as we pulled into stenaline. Once onboard and a bit of food inside us, we all livened up a bit and the excitement was really starting to build due to the reports of good ice in the cairngorms.

Once off the ferry we had the short drive over to ASDA to fill up on some sugary sweets for the remaining 6h drive to Aviemore. When we got on the road again Ryan assumed role as DJ and kept us all entertained for the rest of the drive across, showing the best and worst that our ipods had to offer. Time quickly passed, and we where in McDonalds, our half way marker before we knew it. Once in Aviemore those who needed boots got kitted up and the food for the weekend ahead was acquired.
After check-in at Slochd Mhor Lodge it wasn’t long before the stew was simmering and we sat down to some scalding stew.
This was quickly followed by, the fitting of crampons in the lounge area, which the owner wasn’t very happy with at all.

The next morning the alarms went off at 07:00 and a scheduled plan for leaving at 08:00 seamed realistic as everyone was getting up and heading down to breakfast. Once the guides arrived and we where split up into beginners and intermediate we then had to unpack our rucksacks to find out what gear we where bringing with us etc. The time then slipped past and it wasn’t till 09:15 when we left the lodge.
Once out on the hills, the weather was sunny with a few scattered snow showers. This was ideal and things quickly picked up and we where all having loads of fun and learning about the safe travel in winter conditions.

After a day in the Coiries, we descended and packed into the minivan heading back to the lodge for dinner (Stew). As we where driving back it had started to snow and with the forecast saying it would continue snowing for most of the night.
After dinner we headed back to the lounge area for a few drinks. It was a good chance to catch up on what the other groups did that day and talk about what our options where going to be for the following.

Tomorrow came and after breakfast, the avalanche forecast was as predicted to be high. For the intermediate group this severely limited our options on where to go but the 2 groups stuck together and headed over to T-Sneachda again to give Fiacaill Ridge ago (Grade II). After a slow start we began the approach to the ridge and some members from every group where feeling the toll of walking about the day before.
Throughout the day there where scattered snow showers again just adding to the already weak area of snow, we observed the day before from our haste pits.
After completing the ridge, Andy Porters’ group descended a bit and did the last pitch of The Seam (IV, 5), which was definitely worth the effort.

Again we where off the mountains in good time, walking in daylight, but we knew the bad weather was right behind us. The snow fell heavily that night eliminating possibility of heading up in the Coiries the following day.
After pasta bolognese we settled into the festivities of ST Paddy’s weekend that night with Clodagh never backing out of a drinking game and supporting the Irish.

The following day came and after a bit of discussion we did rope-work and navigation classes indoors. We then got to put these into practice, with the second half of the day by walking about in the hills outside the lodge, which was fun.

Leaving time was fast approaching and it was the last night before we left in the morn where card games came to light. Spit was the game of choice and a few variation of the game emerged.

In the morn we where a bit slower getting up as we knew it was home time. After packing everything up and trying to count all the club gear, then remembering what number of each we had actually brought with us we departed for the ferry shortly after 10am. While on the road, we decided to head to a climbing wall in Glasgow, as we where making good time back with our boat not leaving until 19:30. This was a brilliant idea and seams to be a future must do on the annual Scotland trip.

Well done everyone and Thanks for a great trip.

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