21st ANNUAL REUNION: Lochgoilhead, Argyll, Scotland. Tue. 2nd to Fri. 5th September, 2008
Participants: Rupert (West Face) Roschnik, Natan Cointet, Eric (Polevault) Scott, Valerie Scott, Peter (Up the Down) Tolhurst, Antonia Tolhurst, Michael Macklin, Bridie Macklin, David (Shooting Stick) Leishman, Daphne (DM3) Martin, Stuart (Lightning) Halliday, George (Munro) Wallace, Valerie Wallace, Verena (Muesli) Petzold, Mike (Mad) Petzold, Steve (Ballcrusher) Ward, Pauline Ward, Ian (Mad Axeman) Mason, Jack (Midnight) Bannister, Willie (Willy) McCorquindale, Brian Montgomerie, Gayle McCorquindale, Stuart (Socks) Leslie, Rhoda Leslie, Brian (Air Malawi's Last Hope) Sayers, Jane Sayers, Gordon (RSB) Craig, David (Harriruo) Harrison and Judy Harrison.
Tuesday 2nd September: Eleven members, hastily joined by Up The Down and Antonia, pitched up in time for an afternoon ascent of Ben Donich (2779 ft). Starting from the car park on the Rest and Be Thankful pass, the party climbed the north ridge and from the top enjoyed an unrestricted view of the numerous peaks of the Arrochar Alps. All returned the same way, except Lightning who descended directly to Lochgoilhead village where the others were arriving in dribs and drabs. Accommodation was shared between the Lochgoilhead Hotel, the Drymsynie House Hotel, the Shoreview Hotel and Glenside B&B. Those who had booked early with Mrs McLaughlan at Glenside got the best bargain at £21 pppn.
Wednesday 3rd September: At 10 am, 20 members assembled enthusiastically outside the Lochgoilhead Hotel for the drive to Arrochar and an ascent of the Cobbler (2899 ft). From Arrochar, the mountain does indeed resemble a cobbler at his last. Its three spectacular peaks appeared an appropriate target for a METHS assault. The party, owing to varying levels of fitness, soon spread out, METHS-like, along the upward track. Munro had omitted to point out the easy way round the back but very few found the final heave up to the summits too daunting. Among them was Willy who, sadly, had persuaded himself that his legs were shorter than the day before. On the top, the clouds cleared and there were fine views south to the Clyde estuary and beyond. For most of the trip Lighting could be seen retreating into the heather with what appeared to be a painful earache but he later confessed to be communicating urgent business with the distant Isle of Man. After 5 hours of walking and scrambling, all arrived at the foot of the mountain including Harriruo and Midnight who had found the easier longer way down. Also back at base were the Mad Axeman and Air Malawi’s Last Hope who had opted for a gentle hike along Glen Kinglas.
In the evening, a hastily convened AGM was held in the Drymsynie House Hotel. Conveniently, this allowed a vital committee member and upholder of the constitution, the same Mad Axeman, to depart next day for a funeral.
Thursday 4th September: The good weather again prevailed and all members were up and ready to go at the usual time. RSB, true to form, went for a solo ascent of his own three peaks, namely, Ben Ime and Ben Narnain as well as the Cobbler. Following what started out merely as a joke, Polevault, Socks and Company chose to tackle the extreme horizontality of the Crinan Canal and returned enthusing about the sybaritic delights to be found in the village of Lochgilphead. Meanwhile, a party of 17 set out for the distant, Ben Bheula (2556 ft). After one hours’ gentle hike through the forestry plantation of Lettermay we stopped at a delightful waterfall below the Curra Lochain, a small fishing loch. Before that, Verena, Val and Pauline had peeled off on a circular route back to the village. Above the loch the track petered out and the group, now well strung out, struggled up a boggy, grassy slope towards the summit. DEE EM CUBED, carrying a large black pack sherpa-like laboured pluckily on. Ballcrusher and Shooting Stick were not amused by Munro’s sheepdog-like attempts to keep the party together. With West Face and young Natan in the lead, one by one people arrived at the cairn and O.S. trig. point which afforded an impressive view of a substantial chunk of Scotland. A dogged Harriruo completed the summit party. Then it was every man/woman for him/herself in a helter-skelter charge back to the village. True to form, Midnight formed the rearguard and appeared last for the roll-call.
Being voted as having the best cuisine, that evening the whole party gathered in the Shorehouse Hotel. Those sober enough to notice, appreciated its huge picture window that framed the calm waters of the sea loch. A fitting end to a memorable meet.
Friday 5th September: Most members dispersed. However, on his way home to Inverness, RSB bagged another peak, Ben Vorlich. Keen as ever, West Face and Cointet stayed on to climb Ben Ime while Bridie and Mike hiked along Glen Kinglass.
© WDYFO, 2008