Sat 17th Feb - Sat 24th Feb, 2024

Stag Lodge Strathcarron

Stuart H



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Stag Lodge

1st Day – Saturday

We all arrived to a fairly wet and windy Scotland. Some members of the team opting to grab a route in Glensheil on the way after a Friday stay at waters cottage. – The Forcan Ridge was planned, but alas the day seemed too poor to go for it; so Mark, Harry, Andy, Jess all headed on up onto a ridge north of the sheil (over A’Chraileag and up to Mullach Fraoch-Choire). As it turns out, ridge had some decent scrambling but the snow, confined to specific aspects only, much the state of prolonged thaw. After the long drive, Stuart immediately set the fire alarm off upon entering. We all arrived to the lodge almost in unison, finding an extremely warm building, with unusual comfort for a climbing trip – including….a three-legged leopard.  

2nd Day – Sunday

The day appeared to consist of rain. Mich and Stu decided on the Horns of Allgin as a suitable objective, while everyone else decided on some Munros, with varied successes. A big walk up and around Beinn Liath Mhor for Andy, Steve and Catherine but the full objectives (Sgorr Ruadh) could not be met due to an unfordable river Lair. Mark & Harry went onto a local Monroe just north of the ‘Carron. Jess chilled in the lodge. There was talk of bothies.

3rd Day – Monday

Based on another day of fairly terrible rain, Mich, Andy and Stu decided on a climb of A’Chioch. This however, proved to be a bog walk followed by disparate climbing over arbitrary rock, seeking out small climb-ettes in the heather and grass, between even more wet walking and horizontal sleet showers, so retreat was made. We got back to the base of the route and met far more intense rain. More Monroe bagging for the other team members; Jess and Steve a ‘Carron local one. Catherine and Mark off to the Horns on Alligin (which they found excellent). Generally terrible weather reported by all. Bothy visits were further discussed, but alas long walks in the rain while being soaked didn’t enthuse.

4th Day – Tuesday

We awoke, some to talk of the bowl; and while eating breakfast, found that a man with a van had pulled up outside the door and was loading maybe a dozen dead deer carcasses, strung up by hooks, from the (we now realised), game store next door! The days planning (as usual!), had taken full precedence last night and - based on a mixed forecast, generally looking non-desirable, some team members decided to head North to the delights of Stac Polliah for a faint promise of a 2hr gap in the rain. Jess and Steve to the Fannichs for Monroes, and Catherine and Andy went to ascend Slioch. Upon arriving at their respective destinations, every member found they had blue skies! Stac P. looked magnificent, shrouded in slight mist it yielded a brilliant traverse, albeit windy and one initial short sharp shower. Harry, Mark, Mich and Stu moved together with occasional protection used across the wet rock. The delights ended with an abseil from the true summit, which was met with the sudden onset of incessant rain and squally winds. With expert timing, Mark and Harry found their abseil had resulted in a stuck rope at the top of the slippery gully. Mark ascended using

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a prussik, however leaving his bag behind which had his belay device attached to it. The situation was successfully resolved and all returned to the vehicle soaked to the bone. Note there are some nearly waist deep bog holes in the path down! Team Fannich had a successful day, albeit a similar story with the weather breaking fairly soon after the initial promise – and getting back to the Van just has the intense wetness hit, resulting in Steve driving to Ullapool for a Haggis supper with his waterproof trousers half off due to the sudden onslaught! Team Slioch managed to get a good distance up the mountain but understandably thought better of it given the conditions.


5th Day – Wednesday

Again, the evening prior, the weather, in all possible permutations and locations was discussed at length. As a Team we had had quite enough of soakings and hillwalking was given a day off and Climbing was mooted on some delightful Torridonian Sandstone. Andy decided to chill, understandably not believing that a day without terrible rain was possible nor that climbing might be feasible, but also having some work to get on with. The rest of the team headed over the magnificent Belach Na Ba road (at nearly 700m), to Applecross as the forecast did give some promise of rain breaking from the west. From just about the west end of Glen Carron, a giant ball of fire was spotted; to some this would have been doom, but others remembered – it was the sun. We attended the coast and scrambled around the very slippery shore, to find the most lovely looking red sandstone features in the Stanage esque cliffs…unfortunately despite the sun, the rock was absolutely plastered in lichen, sticking out in miniature tree like forms from the rock and some areas were also dripping like waterfalls! However, some time later a brilliant golden orange sunset, coming from under the clouds, during a hail storm - was witnessed from the Applecross pub, the sun setting over the spiky

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Cullin, and on the way back – a touch of snow had settled on the Belach Na Ba.  


6th Day – Thursday

Plans afoot for the forecast turned to winter! Mark, Stu and Mich headed off up to the Bald Red Head, so named because of a topping of Torridonian sandstone. Not too big a day and passing a bothy en-route. Team Fannichs added everyone else to their ranks and proceeded to head off to collect some remaining Munros. En-route to the bothy we encountered initially some rain and then upon entering the bothy, some suspicious looking Norwegian whiskey, that definitely smelt/tasted of some kind of distillation, was consumed, while the precipitation turned extremely heavy and white. The bothy, alongside the Blonde River, while generously covered in mouse droppings, was otherwise wood clad and spacious, with a good fire/stove and five rooms well kept, explicitly for the local lodge during hunting season. We exited into a magical changed landscape. Post a short scramble and rocky traverse, we progressed to the unconformity, were we met a 100m topping of medium round boulders to ascend in fresh snow. After some deliberation, Mich picked a route, and we summited. The way down was awkward to say the least and Mark and Stu both succumbed to a slip. But there were great views of An Ruadh-stac! Team Fannichs had a great day with fresh snow and a longish walk in, relatively pleasant non-rain, although the wind was still fairly savage and an optional 3rd Munro was left by the wayside. Back to the hut and the decision made after some deliberation, for a team ascent of the Black Carls on Beinn Eighe the following day.  


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7th Day – Friday


Morning rose, and we dropped half of the team in the rain, while car faffing for a return trip, briefly meeting the SAIS forecaster in the car park. On return to soggy companions, we headed on up through the magical woods of the nature reserve and then once again that rare fireball appeared and we could see ahead of us a lovely snow arête! Ascending the arête, we arrived on the ridge and geared - choosing the windiest spot we could find to do so! The Black Carls proved entertaining, with lovely square quartzite to clamber over, enjoyable pinnacles draped in KMC members! Jess soloed on ahead initially and then Steve led the way to the final tower - which at one point at least 50% of its height was KMC. The route seemed quite full on for I/II; with plenty of steep scrambling in unhelpful snow. Carrying on to the summit, the weather deteriorated and some skin eroding took place. Occasional views were glimpsed and some debate on what was actually the true summit followed by some bum sliding down into the corrie (and over a 2m icefall, apparently deliberately!). The pub welcomed us and we welcomed it. Although slightly bizarrely as it turns out, the landlord had been watching us through a telescope and was able to tell us who had climbed in what order! Stevie lowered his waterproofs to aid drying, and then immediately knocked a beer onto


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Upon lodge return we ate, drank and some giggling ensued regarding a risqué book of kilted yoga. After such exertion, the warming of an apple pie nearly proved beyond us. After three attempts to cook it we finally managed to turn on the correct oven, even after adding mini eggs to gently warm in the last few minutes of the timer – no one noticed the pie was stone cold when adding them!!  

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The Ballard of the Three Legged Leopard

The flat leopard so beautiful,  

Eyes so clear, you would think dutiful,

But legs so frail, err thy suitable,

Not to be moved, fear they fail thee,

No man, nay men can prevail,

For the fourth leg, not usable


Some terrible weather, but overall we made the most of it and despite repeated soakings, we got some decent value from a gorgeous landscape with a lot to offer.


Stuart Hurworth

Meet Promo:

Stag Lodge Sat 17th Feb - Sat 24th Feb, 2024

A lovely luxury gaming lodge high up in the Strathcarron valley - not your average climbing hut!

There are some (conditions permitting) excellent Ice climbing venues nearby. But in the event the conditions are less that ideal for the ice then we would be within a good distance of the lovely torridonian ridges which can give some amazing winter mountaineering. If it is as is occasionally the case these days, lovely spring weather then there is plenty of summer scrambling or even rock climbing that could be done.

For the hill walkers there is plenty of that too, with monroes on both sides of the valley.

£115 for 7 nights. Deadline for payment is December 10th.

If you plan to stay for less than the full 7 nights then there will be a £10 reduction per night not taken.

All of the above is payable in advance and refunds will generally only given in the event of replacing your space. 

Full members only in the first instance. Will open it up to other members if spaces are not filled closer to the time. Please email for any enquiries or to express interest.

When signing up to the meet, you may like to indicate what your aspirations are for the weekend. Conditions permitting, there will likely be several members aiming to climb winter routes at a higher level of commitment – this does require relevant prior experience and can come with an increased risk of associated objective dangers and corresponding need to assess, plan accordingly and re-assess continually throughout the day. Please do bear in mind, particularly if you're new to the club or to the winter environment, that an assumption of you joining in at this level might lead to disappointment. Instead, why not first have a friendly chat with the meet leader to discuss your aspirations and what you can hope to get out of the meet. As ever, you should remember the participation statement applies ( and acknowledge that you are ultimately responsible for your own actions and involvement.

Stuart Hurworth

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