14th April 2012 - Steall Hut, Glen Nevis
The winding path to Steall
should not be taken lightly or rather darkly so 'head torched up' we met in the
car park around 11pm. The we are Danny, Colin, me (Terry), Ken, Dave and our
glorious Meet Secretary, the incomparable Lucy Murdoch.
Pitching up in full dark at the
famous wire bridge, I for one was glad it wasn't raining. Dave (in the way only
Dave can) decided chucking boulders in the water as you cross was just the thing
to bring a laugh to the situation. I didn't laugh as the bag swinging in front
of me obscured my view of the foot wires, but the splashes let me know what lay
below I suppose.
Some joker had thought it a
wheeze to smash his way in to the hut and leave the, not too clean to begin
with, place in a right old mess. Then he wrote a cheeky note blaming the Tourist
Information at Fort William, for telling him it was 'open' and to ‘send the
bill to them’. I think we all (Lucy included) thought of 'knackers in clamps'
scenarios, but somewhere in this world there is a smug git with little
conscience. What can you say?
Mouse droppings covered just
about every surface and most of the crockery and cutlery. So Colin
(aka.....Durty Mcgreegor) advised us all on a quick and effortless sterilising
method, ‘boil water and chuck them all in’. We all helped tidy up a bit - by
the light of head torches - as no mantles meant no gas lighting. Using the
somewhat dilapidated gas cookers we got some water boiled, sorted out some
washing up liquid and clothes and managed to get the place looking a wee bit
We woke to a mixed looking day,
weather wise, and whilst Murdoch and Co boasted about the huge day they had in
store: up over all four tops of the Grey Corries and back along Glen Nevis. Ken
was the good friend who accompanied me on a new approach, for him, to Aonach Mor
and Aonach Beag (his third time I believe). This was indeed designed to be
another two ticks in my Munro bag and whilst Murdoch wittered on with his
‘tick, tick, tick,tick, ticking’ chant, I set off happy in the knowledge
that I would soon be within hairs' breath of two hundred. C'monyabeauty!
Being the fount of much
mountain knowledge, Colin gave Ken and me some valuable directions (he has his
uses) and on snow covered hills we had a spectacular day. The weather was
changeable; being both dull and snowy then clear and brilliant. The col which
tops the Ailt Coire Giubhsachan lead us up to a steep ridge, which rises to the
plateau of Aonach Mor and some serious ice axe work was needed getting up there,
this over a mixture of ice and powdery snow. But the bursts of sunshine and
cracking views made it all pretty exhilarating. I hadn't seen The Ben from this
angle before and it looked powerful and majestic to say the least. Then in
cracking conditions the slog between 'Mor and Beag' in deep crispy snow was
taxing but splendid.
Colin, Danny, Dave and Lucy
ascended up to Sgurr Connich Beag and along the tops of the Grey Corries,
including Stob Ban, doing it all in impressive time. Danny wasn't happy with
this easy day out and so decided running through the burn rather than over the
wire bridge would wet his feet up nicely for the day ahead. They all set about
it like people possessed or rather like those running a marathon in the Alps
shortly (who may also be possessed!?). Their day was of course similar to ours,
the weather helped highlight what we all know in our bones; we live in the
finest land on the planet and oor hills are the best.
Lucy reckoned the 'long boggy
walk out' was as hard as doing the hills and as she sloped of to a relatively
early bed, she was followed by Ken and Danny. It was left to me to bear sober
witness to the late night drunken blabberings of Murdoch and Mcgreegor. Which
means of course, it was a fine end to a very enjoyable day in just the manner
which we all know and love so well.
Dave and Lucy undertook to
write letters to the hut custodian, mentioning the problems, I can think of no
more tactful or considerate persons for the job (well Lucy anyway...). Hut
problems aside the weather made for a great time and only homeward bound traffic
problems at Crianlarich scraped a little of the shine off of a good meet.
Click here for some pictures.