Sometimes in the hills, the weather turns out to be just right.
This month the club were visiting Ronnan Cottage, probably the most luxurious hut in Scotland. The property, located in the far north-west, is owned by the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club and has proper beds, proper sofas, a warm shower, and a very well-equipped kitchen. On Friday the folks arrived after their 5-hour drive from Glasgow, apart from Helen who cheated by having the forethought of moving to Speyside.
Saturday morning was an early start, everyone was up and about ready to leave the hut at 07.30 to drive over for our aim for the day: Beinn Eighe. Getting into the cars in the dark and drizzle there were some doubts about the day ahead. Arriving at the foot of the hill the weather was still overcast but dry and things were looking up. Lorna, Diane, Maddie and Alie were dropped off to make a head start on the climb while Jack and Steven dropped off the cars. As usual, the car park was occupied by the resident stag called Callum. In the process of catching up the others Steven was trying to match pace with Jack, this meant Steven had the realisation that he was not quite as fit as his walking companion. When Steven eventually reached Jack and the rest of the group, he was red in the face and sweating buckets.
Trudging up the steep scree in the mist was less than enjoyable, but we could see the promise of sun with an increasing glow through the cloud. Just approaching the summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach the sky above turned to blue, and we were greeted with an incredible cloud inversion. We took a while to stare in wonder and then scramble over to the true summit to stare further at the magnificent view surrounding us.
After taking many photos we descended into the cloud, heading for the second peak of the day. It was amazing how cold it became being out of the sunshine and back in the damp cloud. A brief stop for lunch then and we reached the peak of Coinneach Mhor. Again, rising out of the cloud and this time witnessing a very clear Brocken Spectre, a shadow of ourselves surrounded by halo of coloured light (known as a glory). There was even a fogbow, a white rainbow seen from the light reflecting off very thin cloud. After even more photos we reach our final Munro summit of Ruadh-Stac Mòr. We descended around the side of Triple Buttress and took the long walk back to the cars.
The evening was mostly dedicated to enjoying an enormous meal together. The delight for the evening was onion bhajis and peanut-butter chicken curry with all the accoutrements (made by Lorna) and a very decadent Mississippi mud pie for desert (made by Alie). The Sunday was a little more subdued with most folk heading home. Steven headed to Slioch to add another hill to the tick-list, the weather was not as kind as Saturday as this time waterproofs were certainly a requirement. The others probably made the more sensible decision to go straight home.