Mull and the Craignure Bunkhouse, located opposite the ferry terminal was a new venue for a Munro Society meet and proved to be an excellent choice. In what seems to be the norm for the majority of bunkhouses, the kitchen was too small for a big group; but the large and comfortable dining/sitting room made up for any shortcomings.
This year has also been rather unusual in Munro Society meet history in that the meets haven’t been a total washout! Could Mull continue the trend?
Those who travelled over to Mull early on Friday hit the jackpot. It was warm and sunny with amazing views back to the mainland, north to Skye, Rum and Knoydart and south to Jura. Unfortunately, those who were booked on afternoon ferry crossings encountered severe disruption following a ferry breakdown and rescheduling of the timetable, with the last people arriving at the bunkhouse almost 3 hours later than planned. Despite this, a considerable number of the party managed various concoctions of Mull Grahams as well as the Corbett, Dun da Ghaoithe.
Early risers on Saturday were greeted by a spectacular sunrise over the bay. Alan Rowan had invited the group to join him on Beinn Fhada to celebrate his Graham completion and we were all lulled into a false sense of security by the blue skies and warm sunshine. The wind at sea level at Loch na Keal was ferocious with car doors almost ripped off and white horses galloping across the loch. The lower slopes of the hill were particularly troublesome with the route directly into the low autumn sun rendering us virtually blind at times and gusts of wind knocking people off their feet once or twice. Thankfully once the ridge was reached the winds dropped significantly and the faster group caught up the slowcoaches who had opted for an earlier start and a more leisurely pace.
The summit came quickly after the final steep pull and Alan was cheered through the traditional trekking pole archway and a lunch of cake, malt whisky and champagne followed. As the summit celebrations came to an end the group split into two with Alan, John, Robin, Oliver, Bill, Derek and Maggie carrying on over A’ Chioch and up to Ben More to complete the circuit. The remaining group descended back to the car, trying and failing to find an easier route through the rocks, heather and tussocks on the steep lower slopes. Still on his Marilyn mission Phil climbed Ben Buie by a tough route from Loch Buie. Gill Stephens was brewing a lurgy so decided to test the therapeutic properties of cake during a well-earned rest day.
That evening the group went next door to the Craignure Inn for our customary communal meal.
The forecast for Sunday was for deteriorating weather and it seemed to be pot luck as to whether people got a view or came back dry. More variations of Grahams and Marilyns and Corbett were climbed, while others chose to have a more leisurely day, visiting Iona, Duart Castle and/or some coffee shops in Tobermory!
Monday was forecast to be fine in the morning with a damp afternoon but the bad weather moved in far quicker than planned. Most walks were abandoned at some point; but Anne and Ralph managed Sgurr Dearg in the pouring rain!
By Munro Society standards 3 decent days out of 4 must go down as some sort of record. Lets hope we haven’t peaked to soon and our luck continues for next year’s meets for our visits to Kintail, Corran and Inchnadamph.
Attendees: Anne Butler and Ralph, Alan Brook, Bill Taylor, Derek Sime, Charles Murray, Elsa Yates, Eleanore Hunter, Irene Leckie, John Green, Phil Massey, Gill Stephens, Oliver Bartrum, Alan Rowan, Gill Nunn and Marely, Maggie Kift, Mary Coventry, Iain Robertson, Fred Ward, Robin Corlett