Sat 3rd Feb - Sun 4th Feb, 2007
Alex MacIntyre Hut Meet
Act I - Friday.
Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of Onich.
Richard and I travel North on glorious Friday ... reaching Glasgow to witness the setting sun silhouette the towers of the sky; the heat shimmers over traffic as we pass by. The majesty of it brings a tear to thy eye... but is this not winter? Is this an ice axe, which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?
Were we not heading to the frozen land?, an ice cream van cuts our path, damn Mr. Whippy? Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war.
This does not bode well at all, as we sped across Rannoch Moor, and staring into the poring darkness ... look high ... a patch of snow hangs on a promise that will surely fade by morrow. Lord, what fools these mortals be!
The Clachaig tempts us with its merry song, but we journey on 'n on ...better three hours too soon than a minute to late.
We arrive at Castle Alex to find King Duncan, Lady Vicky, Noble Ian, and Lady Liz in residence.
Noble Ian and Lady Liz had journeyed the day before to ascend the Cobbler and some more..."'twas so hot!" fair Lady Liz declared... well "'tis the dawn of the second month after all" the Joker sighed.
A short time did pass, then Lady Ann of Saughall and Cath of Lymm do arrive, on their trusty steed. They sort witness of their resolution to slay the ring of Steall. Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.
Lord Lygate and Baron Bish were delivered to Castle Alex on the chimes of midnight, and the meet leader was duty bound to serve them hot and rebellious liquids; though I fear a Pineapple Daiquiri would have best quenched their thirst.
And so to bed to sleep, perchance to dream-ay.
Act II - Saturday
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
Richard and Roger (Jester).
Arise at dawn, for today we meet the Ben; at the forest we tether the beast of burden and dress for battle; stride forth... but halt... alas...
Richard "I've left my crampons at the hut". "A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse".
We hasten back to Castle Alex, now with daggered feet in hand...we gallop forth to Torlundy.
The weather improves throughout the morn... little snow to impede and hence we made good speed. A jewelled cornice on No.5, 'twas a siren to draw our spirits high... the ascent to ourselves we soloed up the shallow angle to cliffs above; we dance a merry step to the left and setup belay on high; but two pitches sees' us exit to the sky.
On descent we converse with King Duncan and Lady Vicky, who'd ascended North Gully, and the Ben. Richard gifts a dram of Ardbeg, anaesthetising our weary bodies to the Zig-Zags ahead, and down to William's Fort we did tread.
Lord Lygate & Baron Bish
That they are mad, 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true. The pair choose to climb North Gully and down through the rocks at the side of No.4 to avoid the climbers. Their hunger not yet satisfied they ascend No.2, they spy a bird of prey hovering about the cornice, and a cloud inversion to the south. On to the summit of the brooding Ben, down the Cairn Mor Dearg Arête as the sun sinks. Reaching the final summit of the ridge before the dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth; and then descend by light of lantern.
Noble Ian & Lady Liz
On this fabled day they paid homage to those infamous twins perched on Aonach Moor; Left Twin (does please), then Right Twin (does not), exiting through sugared cornice and out of the jaws of death; such would send a shiver down less noble spines.
Lady Ann & Cath of Lymm
The quest be satisfied... the ring of Steall has fallen to Ladies of Cheshire... though not without cost, for Cath of Lymm has bruised her ankle, but sweet victory was theirs to savor.
As night draws in, the Players return to the Castle Alex to cook a hearty meal.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
*A veggie option was also available.
Then a celebration for Lady Vicky's tender years on this earth... champagne and chocolate cake, a dish fit for the gods; the banquet being graced by King and Queen Warden. A fine selection of malts and meads bring to close the perfect day.
Act III - Sunday
A change in the weather Blow, blow, thou winter wind!
Lord Lygate & Baron Bish
O, what men dare do! To Aonach Moor they go, dropping in via Easy Gully and climbing Tunnel Vision, an excellent grade III. Lesser mortals did impede; but as good luck would have it they make haste and catch the final Sky Basket to the valley below.
Noble Ian & Lady Liz
They arose for a short walk up Ben Venue (in the Trossachs); which was sufficient for Lady Liz's "evil feet"! These things of darkness.
King Duncan, Lady Vicky, Lady Ann & Cath of Lymm
The merry party rounded the Inchree Waterfalls; where there was time aplenty to take pleasure in watching a group of lunatics, on an 'adventure' weekend scrambling down the falls and hurling themselves into the freezing waters below; 'twas ever so.
Richard & Roger (Jester)
So wise so young, they say do never live long. Richard had abseiled little and 'twas felt that down-climbing Easy Gully on Aonach Moor was folly indeed; so hence we contoured around Aonach an Nid into the corrie.
The Jester begins Forgotten Twin, but 'twas in poor condition... and so traversed onto Siamese Buttress; committed to leading all pitches and with time against us, we took our leave; contenting ourselves with an ascent of Easy Gully, and circle of the plateau.
Returning to the Castle to beat the tapestries with thy Hoover, Out, damned spot! out, I say!"; and then the long journey home.
Let all the Players take a bow for making it a memorable weekend.
Duncan Lee, (King of Scotland-Macbeth), Vicky Alderton, Ann Sanderson, Cath Sanders, Dave Lygate, Dave Bish, Roger Daley (The Jester) "Off with his head!".
Ian and Liz Lawton, Richard Yorke,
"Now is the winter of our discontent."-- King Richard III (I, i, 1).
"Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war"--Julius Caesar - (Act III, Scene I).
"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" -- A Midsummer Night's Dream (III, ii, 115)
"I will about it; better three hours too soon than a minute too late. -- The Merry Wives of Windsor.
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't." -- Hamlet- (Act II, Scene II).
"We have heard the chimes at midnight". -- King Henry IV, (Act III, Scene II)
"In my youth I never did apply Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood". -- As You Like It,
"To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there's the rub." -- Hamlet (III, i, 65-68).
"But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." -- Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2).
"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!"-- King Richard III (V, iv, 7).
"That he's mad, 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity, And pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Hamlet (II, ii, 97-98).
"The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth" -- Achilles, in Troilus and Cressida.
"Out of the jaws of death" --Taming of the Shrew -- (Act III, Scene IV).
"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble..." - Macbeth (Act IV, Scene I).
"A dish fit for the gods"-- Julius Caesar " - (Act II, Scene I). Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude"-- As you like it ". (Act II, Scene VII).
"As good luck would have it".- The Merry Wives of Windsor - (Act III, Scene V).
"[T]his thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine."- The Tempest (V, i, 275-276).
"So wise so young, they say do never live long." - King Richard III (III, i, 79).
"Out, damned spot! out, I say!" -- Macbeth (V, i, 38).
"Off with his head!" -- King Richard III (III, iv, 76).
(The Golden Biro rules will have to be carefully examined... Ed.)
The Alex Macintyre Hut provides access to some of the finest winter climbing and walking in Scotland...
The classic ridge of the Aonach Eagach, or possibly a route on the Buchaille... followed by a pint and some music in the Clachaig's bar... truly excellent day.
Alternatively how about 2/3 routes on Aonach Mor, perfectly feasible utilising the cable car.
Up for a big day then Tower Ridge on the Ben.
Walks too numerous to mention... go high... or stay low something to suit everyone.
A special offer of a complementary whisky awaits anyone taking a swim in Loch Leven... You know it makes sense!
Just imagine yourself settling down in front of the huts roaring fire enjoying a wee dram after a day on the hill... superb.
Mattresses, drying room, hot water, showers, electric cooking, fridge, cutlery, crockery, coal provided all the year round, electric heating in dormitories - £1 meter. Microwave in kitchen.
North Ballachulish on A82, one mile north of the Ballachulish Bridge, on the right, 50 mts from the entrance to Creag Mhor Hotel.
OS Map: 41 Ben Nevis
Grid Reference: 044612
The KMC have booked 12 places at £5.50 per night.
If you are interested plus have appropriate experience and equipment, then e.mail, phone, or see me in the pub on a Thursday night, (places are on a first come first served basis.)