Ancrum Mountaineering Club Xmas meet

Last weekend was the annual Ancrum Mountaineering Club christmas meet, a now traditional fixture in the club’s calendar. This year the venue was Mile House in Glen Feshie next to the Cairngorms. Previous venues have included Mill  Cottage just along the road. Mile House is a well appointed club hut owned by the Ladies Scottish Mountaineering Club (LSCC) and available for other clubs to hire.

An Ancrum Christmas meet tends to be a mix of hill, food and drink with a visit from Santa thrown in for good measure.

The hill part of the meet took place on the Saturday with all members heading for the Cairngorm Plateau. The more adventurous had an icy scramble up the Fiacaill Ridge while the rest of us used more straightforward routes. One person was spotted using the funicular railway to come back down the hill! Although there had been a recent rise in temperature and subsequent thaw there was still a good deal of icy snow at higher levels. I headed for a new munro top that I hadn’t previously done, Cnap Coire na Spreidhe. After which is was straight for the summit of Cairngorm for some shelter beside the weather station for lunch. Lunch was completed with a visit to the Ptarmigan Restaurant for a cup of coffee. We headed for the “walker’s entrance” ie the back door, signed in the book and were allowed a free run of the restaurant/shop complex. Actually it doesn’t have a front door as everyone else arrives by funicular train. Back out into the cold for the walk down and  Liz and I stopped off at a snow patch to do a bit of ice axe self arrest practise. As Liz put it, we were “reconnecting our pathways”. By the time we arrived back at the car park it was 4pm and almost dark. All in all, a very satisfactory day out.

And the food and the drink? Well Lindsay made a DIY steak pie. By this I mean he made a very nice stew and then did some pastry separately and we put the two bits together to make our own steak pie. There were lots of roast vegetables and potatoes to accompany the pie. Two types of soup and two different desserts also formed part of the meal which was served with mulled wine and a glass of prosecco.

Two members of the LSCC had arrived at the hut and joined us for Santa’s visit and the very expensive present giving (all bought in the pound shop I believe – I got a striped hat). One of them had an interesting story to tell about how they had on a previous visit used the funicular to get up to the Ptarmigan Restaurant not realising that walkers and climbers are not allowed out! (they were from south of the Border). Being resourceful people though, they soon worked out that all they had to do was to go out on to the viewing terrace, wait until no-one was looking and hop over the wall!!!

And Sunday, well it was rather a nice day so Liz and I headed across to Aviemore and explored the Craigellachie Nature Reserve which was new for me. A lovely spot, very much to be recommended for a Sunday morning walk before heading back to the hut for a lunch of the previous night’s leftovers!

Spot the glow in the southern sky on two of the photographs. Almost looks like a volcano. Presumably caused by low winter sun and clear skies to the south.

Only downer of the weekend was I snapped a tent pole when taking down my tent!! Am now on the hunt for a replacement section. 8.4mm DAC or something like that if anyone has one.

Finally, here is a photograph of Liz looking very wintery.


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