Glencoe, 17th-22nd March 2019

On this trip, the avalanche forecast, thaw and horizontal rain on most days meant that the Munro summits were only for the masochistic baggers.

The first day gave reasonable snow for Iain's winter skills course: his group managed to find solid snow, and benefited from unmatchable wisdom from '20 odd years ago'. A group of four went up the Bidean range which had many interesting challenges including avalanche debris, whiteout, and a proper mini-avalanche. It was on this walk that Paul and Danny started their 'creative quarrel' which arose from an innocent discussion about crampon compatibility.

On the 2nd day, temperatures soared and rain set in. The winter skills group were not looking forward to getting wet and digging snow holes, but they had a good time and ended up learning pure mountaincraft from Iain (Cameron and Sarah Mi in particular). The main threat on the day was Peter being in inconvenient locations relative to Rob... At the other end of the valley, Chris, Paul, Mary and Bronwen tried Munro bagging, had a very windy lunch in a storm shelter, and went straight to the comfort of the Kingshouse. They then unsuccessfully tried to hitch-hike back to the hut…

On the 3rd day, the wind picked up and it started raining horizontally. Most people walked to Kinlochleven via the West Highlands Way. Some went to Fort William’s Wetherspoons, where Chris somehow managed to get a ‘life-threatening’ wound to his hand, which Dr P J Fox medicated with skill.

Danny caught up with his friend Mike in the hut. Though Danny was hoping Mike would have left earlier so that he could go on a walk, it was good of Mike to stay, as the toaster caught fire. It also meant Danny could table boulder for hours and was ready for the competition in the hostel that night, for which he had memorized all moves, sideways and lengthwise. Tom also managed to complete the sideways challenge - impressively, without using the legs! In the interim, Toby tested his inner 'Jimmy Chin' by taking lots of photos. The rest of the night nearly put off two new-comers from returning. Toby found the singing sour, and Heather got a very despicable entity to identify in the 'What am I' game! That evening also had interesting theological discussions regarding a book called 'The Shack'...

The last day saw the climax of the creative quarrel. During the soggy walk round Loch Etive, Rob and Sarah Ma were entertained with Paul's invitations to caving and scientific observations on people's swimming suitability. The dinner saw Chris eating a raw onion (with the peel!) in response to Paul challenging Danny to eat a raw garlic clove.

Leaving without much winter to play with was heart-breaking. Hoping for better weather, Mary, Bronwen, Chris, Cameron and their keg continued their adventure towards Glen Shiel, and Toby towards Fort William and eventually Skye. The rest returned to the flat Fens, nonetheless with happy memories of hills and mafia card games...

Trip List: Sarah Ma, Danny V, Bronwen F, Paul F, Chris H, Mary M, Heather C, Sarah Mi, Toby R, Rebecka N, Peter M, Cameron R, Tom S, Robert T

Danny V