13th - 16th June 2019

The Scottish Meet is always rather special. The pure difficulty of getting there whets the appetite for adventure. The June Meet was based on the exceedingly comfortable and well positioned Rucksack Club Hut at Craigallan on the shore of Loch Linnhe with cracking views of the mountains to the west. Curiously the Hut is practically opposite the MacIntyre Hut (home for previous DPC Meets) on the opposite side of the Loch. This year we were blessed by the presence of Metrosexual Men who Enjoy Cooking (Rick, Jason, Martin and Chris). Rick spread a very sophisticated table with rare and exotic pates and wines to tease the taste buds. Martin, the following night eschewed his customary dead elk replacing it with tenderised goat with a delicious paprika covering. Chris produced a salad of so many ingredients and of such size it required serving in a washing up bowel. In short Master Chef need search no longer.

Saturday saw unexpectedly good weather as we all marched our way up to the top of Garbh Bheinn (2,904 ft) . Straightforward ascent, the way off was down a very lovely steep gully replete with little ash trees and a stream which broadened into beautiful wide valley with a river  (the Abhainn Coire an lubhair for those collecting Gaelic names) flowing over what looked like a marbled flat rocky bed with sunken basins full of rounded stones of different colours. Wasn't terribly long (just 8 miles) but with total ascents of 3,900 ft (none of this metric stuff) a suitably knackering pipe-opener for the older man.

Our return to the Hut found a small group of Rucksack Members who were the support team for one of their number who was setting off at 2 am on some challenge which involved running up 24 Munros (some 28,000 ft of ascents) in under 24 hours. I confess it rather subdued our moaning of how exhausted we were etc. I should add that Rob had a better reason than most to feel tired as he had just completed on the Friday a 46 mile mountain bike ride from some place with a Gaelic name to another. The following day the party split. Rick, Martin and Chris preferring to spend the day sitting down on their comfortable bike seats with the target of a round trip to Oban.

Jason who had unwisely been reading a Hamish MacInnes mountain guide book hankered a visit to White Corries Ski Centre and then a short trip up to see the top of Sron na Creise, then on to Stob a Ghlais Choire (3,268 ft) finishing off with Creise (3,609 ft) and then finally Meall a Bhuiridh. Parking very near Blackrock Cottage just below the ski centre at Glencoe we then stumbled through what could have been the Somme for a very very long time. It was then the truth dawned. I was required to climb (bits of rope, janglies, belays, harness, the works) enormous vertical cliffs of rock described by MacInnes as ‘grade 3 scrambling.’ I have a bone to pick with MacInnes as he then described the route from the top as a simple  ‘swing round’  back to the ski centre failing to mention that it involved two Munros and a very, very long descent down on loose rocks. Comforted/assured by Jason (our resident local honorary Scot) that there were no false summits on this trip we clawed our way up to the first of about four separate false summits.

By this time Syd could resist no longer the call of the wild, had gone feral and had loped off. We were to catch glimpses of him throughout the day on various distant peaks between ferocious bursts of rain and swirling mist as the weather deteriorated. Despite Rob repeatedly letting off wolf howls there was no answering call from lupine Syd.

We couldn't actually see the first peak as the weather was by now grim. However with typical Scottish fickleness the weather suddenly improved and glorious windows of bright sunshine lit up patches of mountainside and distant Rannoch Moor. When I finally got down I was told that someone had briefly glimpsed Syd but that instead of his repairing to the nearby bar at the ski centre he had loped off," for another walk." My gizmo records our having walked just under 7 miles with 4,500 ft of ascents. However our joy was somewhat tempered when we returned to find at the Hut the very diffident and modest young man who had just completed successfully the challenge. We thought we would just keep our exploits to ourselves on that occasion and I did not tell him I had just joined the Climbing Immortals of the DPC.

A cracking meet and special thanks to Jason who ferried Chris and myself from and to Glasgow Central Station without his driving glasses which he had left beside the Abhainn Coire an lubhair, whilst skinny dipping.