16 club members eventually made it to Tomich, just over 600 miles ooop north and over the border. We were all installed by Saturday night to some prime accommodation on the Guisachan estate (home of the golden retriever), in 5 cottages arranged around a farm courtyard, spacious, nicely appointed, dry and warm.
Click here for the trip photo gallery.
The local attractions, in height order, were the Munros (and I quote) “Toll Creagach is a featureless pudding of a summit but Tom a’ Choinich is a more shapely peak with fine views”, Carn nan Gobhar “It is a fairly rounded peak”, some Corbetts, and then regular hills such as “Meall Fuar-mhonaidh may not be well known by name, but it is the most prominent summit around Loch Ness and provides a straightforward hillwalk with good views”. For the flatter days, you could walk from the door to Plodda Falls, Dog Falls, a fair few monuments, the ruins of Guisachan House and even a wind farm. There were those that took in more, and others less, but good times were had by all. Glen Affric and Glen Cannich were very pretty in winter, with lochs, woodland, deer, sheep and views at each turn.
The weather treated us kindly, with the temperature beating even the south coast at times, albeit not on the summits. We all had to slog at times through low lying snow disguising bog and streams, and wear crampons on the tops as a precaution, but good going on the whole.
The highlights also included
- the discovery of the only open catering establishment in the entire area at the end of a walk, the pottery-café in Drumnadrochit; sorry to those that missed it! Various gents spotted purchasing last minute Valentine’s gifts here.
- Monty’s apple crumble
- the hotel at the end of our drive opening in time for a farewell drink
- lying in bed at 0600 listening to John S and Simon M depart for a hearty outing (10 Munros bagged) then turning over to sleep for another hour or so, and waiting to see if Monty was going to bring up a morning cup of coffee to the bedside
whilst the lowlight appeared to be a general lack of health amongst the party (the sound of hacking coughs accompanied us up mountains).
The HRFC sub-parties were also out in force, this time the Mountain Bike section (Steve) made a 30km circuit of the area over fallen trees and snow lined trails; whilst the Marathon section (Nick, Jill, Steve and Jenny) kept up their training with 5km parkruns in Penrith and Inverness and 22km up the valley. The Tourist section took in Castle Urquhart and Fort George in Inverness.
A fine introduction to the delights of Scotland in Winter.
Just a few words about the recent visit to the Highlands.
As always, I think everyone who came on the trip had a good time. The weather, which at this time of year can be a bit variable to say the least, stayed dry all through the week, however there was lots of snow on the mountains. This did sometimes, however, prove a bit variable in quality, with many a boot going through the surface crust and legs disappearing into bottomless voids.
A good number of Munroes and Corbetts were bagged, together with several lower level walks. The Plodda Falls, a couple or so miles up the glen, received a number of visits. Local attractions were also visited, including Urquart Castle on Loch Ness, and Fort George, an enormous emplacement overlooking the Moray Firth, both of which have interesting histories.
The accommodation it must be said was probably the best we have ever used, and the fact that the electricity and heating were all inclusive meant that there were no hidden costs.
A pleasant meal in the Slaters Arms in Cannich, with the whole group, and a drink in the Tomich Hotel, which only opened on Friday night, rounded off the week.
I think that the trip was a success can be judged from the fact that at least one of the members, who had not been on a Club Scotland Winter Trip before was heard to enquire, “ Where are we planning to go next year?”.