Glen Nevis

Easter Meet

Saturday April 10th 1971

Members Present
Chas Murray, Jim Murray, Ian Cairns, Muir McKay, Jim Neill & four friends, Eric & Alasdair Scott

The writer did not arrive until midday, finding the club tents deserted in a luxurious campsite complete with hot water, showers, loos, shop, and all mod cons, including dolly birds in hot pants.
'Hot Pants' - photo provided for our younger members!
All this in the midst of a regular heatwave - a far cry from the days of arrival on boggy wasteland in darkness and sleet!

We explored the gorge up to Steall, investigated the monumental landslide en route, and lay in the sun soaking up the scenery all afternoon until the rest of the gang arrived. They had spent two days on the Mamores, the first from An Garbhanach to the Devil's Ridge and today from the Devil's Ridge to Stob Ban. Great tales were told of petrol tanks falling off cars in the Clyde Tunnel and precarious deeds in the gully splitting Stob Ban's N.E. face where the only things to roll down in the snow had fortunately been Easter eggs.

Sunday April 11th

A fair amount of cloud appeared to have ended the heat wave, but nonetheless most of the club were up at an astonishing hour in order to 'do' the big Ben. Jim N and his two friends had to be away early to Glasgow, while I argued that Alasdair at 8 years old would need a long time (actually it was me who needed a slow pace). Jim's party was away at 8 a.m. myself at 9 a.m. and even Chas was out of his pit by then. How could it fail to be a remarkable day?

Apart from a ringside seat for a battle between two gulls and a Raven, the plod up the tourist track was uneventful, and high on the infamous zig-zags the ascending parties joined forces more or less simultaneously with meeting Jim's party descending.
The Scotts, Murray Bros, & Ian Cairns
We were almost at the snow-line and cloud level and since Jim reported no view and a cold wind up top we promptly sat down for lunch there and then, and surveyed the motely hordes trogging past. There were the usual large numbers of accidents looking for somewhere to happen, clad in light clothes, shoes, plimsolls etc leavened by the very occasional bearer of an ice-axe. One young lady almost acquired an escort party, who were prepared to turn round and make for the summit a second time. Her bra-less condition may have encouraged such sacrifice, but Jim cruelly urged his mates in the opposite direction.

As it turned out the clouds cleared as they vanished downward, and they missed a day on the plateau that was about as perfect as one could wish for.
The top of Tower Ridge
The snow was soft for an inch or two on the surface, but hard below, and the whole summit lay under a heavenly blue sky all the time we were up, strolling about to admire the view that extended from Skye to Jura, the Cairngorms to the Pentland Hills: or just plain lying about in the sun frying. 
Ben Nevis Summit
People kept bobbing up out of gullies or off lower ridges to swell the mobs on top, and eventually we strolled off round the summit rim to Carn Dearg where we sat and contemplated that tremendous north face, draped in ice and snow and flashing in the sun against a blue sky. Only to the north was the view obscured by a layer of cloud below us. 
Eric & Alasdair on the summit
Chas sat in deep reverie with his feet dangling over No. 3 gully at a point where rocks broke the line of high sagging cornices and after half an hour broke the silence to pronounce it would 'go' tomorrow. 
Chas Murray & Tower Ridge
We looked at those tons of snow poised to fall and made skeptical noises, before dragging him away to excavate the refuge near the Carn Dearg summit.
Carn Dearg Refuge in 1971 - now removed
At about 5 p.m. thoughts of food and drink prompted a move glen-wards, and we enjoyed some good standing glissades down the Red Burn for a thousand feet or so. Young Alasdair enlivened the proceedings by trying a sitting glissade and converting it into a high speed stomach slide before being neatly fielded in the slips by Chas.
Ptarmigan flew off grackling disapproval at this careless behavior, and more soberly  we trotted down in the mellow evening sunshine to the already darkening glen.

Monday April 12th

Young Jim (and was it Tom?) were off at an ungodly hour to make the most of a pristine morning. Much later Alasdair and I lazed by the river, while Chas lay in bed muttering things about 'supposed to be a holiday' and 'b- noisy campsite'. Incredibly, only four hours later, Jim and Ian were back having knocked off the Devil's Ridge and glissaded the the summit coire of Sgurr a Mhaim (which was a perfect snow bowl)

Very sun-burnt bodies returned to Glasgow down the congested roads. Chas, Ian and Muir went off to 'have a look' at No. 3 gully but what became of them is not known at the time of writing.

There has, at least, been no word in the Express of 'avalanche on Ben Nevis'.

Eric Scott



Glen Cononish to Glen Lochy
Sunday 16th November 1980

A late (8.30am) start, a diversion due to a blocked road on Lomondside, and driving rain on arrival at Tyndrum all conspired to modify plans for an assault on Ben Oss. Complex logistics placed a car in Glen Lochy while most of us festered in the caff until the drivers returned.

With no further excuses left, we plunged into the elements to walk through the hill pass below Beinn Laoigh.
the rain lashed walk through the hills
I remember occasionally lifting my head; mostly bowed in the teeth of the gale and rain, once when we lunched behind a wall at Cononish; once to see the huge cascade crashing down Eas Anie;
Eas Anie above Cononish
Again to admire the water white-streaking all over Beinn Laoigh's northeren flanks; and again when Alasdair and Chris Storie pursed voles which were swarming in the dead grasses at the col.

Matters did improve a little thereabouts, and there was a glimpse of steely Loch Awe before we splashed down the Eas Daimh's banks. The burn was a continuous strip of white water all the way down to the culmination of a lovely fall, the Eas Morag. It was quite uncross-able, below the point well upstream, where Ronnie did a Walter Raleigh act, standing mid-stream to hand Martha across. 'I'm no wetter' he said, on re-surfacing.

We used the railway bridge to cross, and then tramped down the line in renewed rain to the bridge over the Lochy River (at G.Ref. 229270) not marked on the OS maps, yet absolutely necessary to cross the spate.
I wonder if anyone was aware of Section 23,
Regulation of the Railways act 1868 (!)
Ten soggy bodies squeezed into Ron's Cortina; three more remained to be collected half an hour later to join the steamy mob in the Tyndrum cafe as darkness fell.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was driving home on a black wet, November night with a fading battery and all electrics failing on us.

Eric Scott


23rd Annual Dinner

Lynwilg Hotel - Strathspey 
12-13 November 1988

The clans gathered from far afield; the Skinners from Cumbria, the Fishers from Lancashire, and furthest of all, Alan Melville from Surrey. Mags even made it from Glasgow and announced her engagement. 
So eager were the assorted gangrels that there were enough early arrivals for a preliminary party on the Friday night.
Dick, Roni & Kenny - party animals on Friday
Parties went off in several directions on the Saturday, some to the snowy plateau to Ben Macdhui, some along the rim of the northern Cairngorm corries, some to the Glen Feshie hills, some to explore Rothiemurchus forest and it is rumoured that some got as far as the Aviemore Centre.

By the appointed hour a record number of 52 plus one dog were assembled for the dinner.
waiting for dinner - Graham, Ian Jones, Elizabeth, Ron, Dee & Andrew
Now, in last years Journal I posed the question "So what was different in 1987?" and answered by musing on what might change in future. well, in 1988 there were some differences. 

We were at a brand new location, the Lynwilg Hotel near Aviemore. The bemused owners had only been in charge for three weeks and while they were not the first hoteliers to double-book us, they were the first to solve the problem by accommodating us on settees, the lounge floor, the corridors, and the wood shed. Some members wisely preferred frosty tents on the lawn. Older members were reminded of air-raid shelters in the blitz.
Another new experience was the advent of professional entertainment to replace games and feats of strength after dinner, in the attractive form of Isobel Hirst and her accordion to lead the ceilidh. 
Isobel Hirst - and the club dancers
Her "oppo" caused no little consternation by tuning up in the gents at 2.00am and emerging with bagpipes at full shriek. 

They led the dancing in a marathon stint until 2.00am, introducing such things as "The Hooligans' Jig" (seems appropriate)
Frank preforming a Ukrainian dance
Frank & Bill in a double Cossack act
Jack & Roni 'take the floor'
They were not the only entertainment. The new Mull Men gave us a fresh version of their tuneful scurrilous character demolition of club members.
The 'New' Mull Men
John Mykura brought the house down with a rhyming toast to the lassies; and our principal guest Ian Jones from Outward Bound Loch Eil chose as his theme the leading of blind people up Mont Blanc (was he trying to tell us something?) 

George Stewart almost  managed to reduce Eric to inarticulacy by presenting him, on behalf of the club, with a certificate of Honorary Life Membership. 
He based his speech on Eric's name -
E for enthusiasm, R for reliability, I for interest in members, C for canoeing, 
S for sea-level, O for old, T for talkative and T even more talkative. 
Jack Maxwell , in best trade union style, came up with a back dated cheque in refund of fees. The only snag was it was on a board about 6 feet x 4 feet and Eric now has problems with his bank manger.
Eric and the giant cheque
Jack was on good form - your author will not easily forget the sight of his 5'6" frame firmly giving marching orders to a 7'6" gate-crasher from the Killin mountain rescue team in the wee small hours.

Even the elements laid on a spectacular. The Northern Lights flickered for a while over our celebrations, though some sceptics believed they were the Old Aberdeen variety.

And so, as the barman later said "We closed the bar about 4.00am because no-one was buying any more"

Astonishingly, about a couple of dozen bright eyed and bushy tailed celebrants appeared on a Sunday for a hearty breakfast, but only hardy veterans like George, Bruce, Stuart and Eric, propelled by Jenny, were seen to totter off up a Corbett to maintain the fiction of a hill walking meet.

Yes, Jack organised an epic in the best tradition of Club Dinners. 

What lies in store for 1989?  A question to tempt Fate.

author - Eric Scott
photographs - Eric Scott & Bill Gray


18th Annual Dinner

Bridge of Orchy Hotel
3rd Dec 1983

The month was December
A night to remember
In the Bridge of Orchy Hotel
When dinner was served
To the Moray Club herd
And the drinking went on past the bell.

The venison meal was excellent, service was prompt and a special thank you was given to the 'NEW' hotel staff.

 After the final course, our glasses and coffee cups were filled, and Elizabeth started the speeches with a resume of the club activities in the past year and a toast was made to the Queen (read on and find out who he is)
Our 'Top' table
Mr James Murray was next to take the stand introducing all guests to the club members and toasting the guests. I am not going to say James took a long time in doing this but he had an interval for us to get last orders at the bar.

The guest speaker Jack Crosbie, came next and delighted his captive audience with shocking tales of members, now respectable, in their younger days. They know who they are!

As you can imagine, Mr Crosbie was a difficult act to follow, but the resident club superstar 'Drew Lennon McCartney Carlin' was called to toast the ladies in song; modesty forbids me from saying how wonderful he was.

Drew 'Lennon McCartney' entertaining

There was now a lull in the proceedings due to the fact that none of the female members of the club were willing to volunteer for the task of toasting the laddies. On the programme for the evening a certain Wanda Boyce (want the boys...gettit...?) was mentioned, so as time went on an unexpected hush fell about the room. Ladies sat looking puzzled and men shifted in their seats to try and get a better view of the top table.

Suddenly! The kitchen door burst open and in rushed...Joan Collins? Sophia Loren? No...Ronnie Arnott looking stunning in a grey wig, two oranges, a beautifully cut fashion kilt and a pair of high heeled shoes.
Ron in drag
Luckily Ronnie's speech was the last on the agenda as he would have been very difficult to follow. 

The Dirty Bugger of the Year Award was presented to Cameron Baird for his services to John Watson's shirt.

So ended the 18th Annual Dinner of the Moray Club - roll on the next.

Twas four in the morning,
The sun was just dawning
And none of the heads were too clear
Although we said then
Cor! Never Again!
We'll be back some time, next year.

Drew Carlin


Loudoun Hill

19th September 1982

The day started out for John, Jim and myself at George Square, where Jim was his mandatory 30 minutes late. Wearing our seatbelts with the No Smoking sign lit we took off for Loudoun Hill.

We were soon cruising at the speed of many tappets past the Trongate, when the No Smoking sign was extinguished. The duty free trolley appeared and wended it's way to the flight deck where all three cabin crew, Jim (pilot), Alan (co-pilot) and John (navigator) sampled from the trolley.

On passing through East Kilbride air space our navigator pointed out his house roof and in so doing we had to gain emergency landing permission in a foreign housing estate. Our navigator sorted out his satellite navigation equipment and we were soon out of alien air space.

Loudoun Hill soon appeared on the horizon and we landed safely to await the rest of the party.
Isobel appeared 10 minutes later having driven from Strathaven. The four of us set off for the foot of the climbing bit and were soon joined by Eric and Bran. 

Jim soon disappeared into the under growth to preform his ablutions. One wonders why he took his chalk bag with him?
One route was tackled before Drew and Stuart arrived about lunchtime.
Jim Murray in 'Pulpit Crack'
More duty free was issued and consumed in the heat of the day.

More climbing ensued with John making a 'severe' look 'extremely severe'.  Eric appreciated this expense of effort by John by taking at least one picture.
Jim Murray demonstrating a 'Head Jam'
Jim was soon busy soloing climbs to organise belays for us beginners. 
Jim Murray above 'The Flake'
From the top of the climb there was a commanding view of the local hostelry. This we retreated to, after a fair day's climbing. 

On the return journey our navigator jumped ship which enable us to return home safely looking forward to the next club trip.

Alan Waugh (co-pilot)

(Despite the levity of the account, some quite good climbs were done around and on Pulpit and the Flake areas. Some very good climbs were also attempted and remain unfinished! - Ed.)

Those present: Alan Waugh, Jim Murray, John Watson, Isobel McCaw, Drew Carlin, Stuart Duncan, Eric Scott & all Bran.


Beinn An Lochain

Sunday 14th March 1971

A day's hill walk in sunshine and on a little snow, remarkable perhaps in being Bracken the beagle's last club trip. 

Alasdair and Bracken - the summit view

From now on Eric only had one rope to disentangle!


Carn Aosda

Sunday November 4th 1984

The party was hardly over as Mitch, John Watson and I breakfasted.

Sudden sun and biting cold air and snow peaks peeping above the golden Glen Shee woods were too good to miss.

It was amazing how much snow had fallen during the wild, wild, night (weather-wise I mean)

The snow line was at 1500’ – the ploughs had been out, and as Mitch surveyed the hills from the Cairnwell car park he positively beamed with delight.
‘Now they are beginning to look like they are supposed to’

The wind was still strong, out of the North, chasing big blue patches of sky.

Carn Aosda was blinding white in the sun and every crest around us flew a banner of spindrift. Up we went, direct from the café; a helluva plod of course in deep new powder, but only a thousand feet to the top.

The slope was alive with mountain hares, terribly conspicuous because the snow had caught them still in their brown coats.

We didn’t spend long at the cairn – it was Arctic.

First glissade of the season swooshed us down, and we were back for lunch after ‘cornice practice’ in a gully. i.e. overgrown kids playing in the snow.

Eric Scott

Knoydart - Sgurr Mor to Sgurr Na Ciche

8th August 1987

Never before had I seen this rugged and uninhabited part of the Scottish Highlands; Knoydart fulfils the desire to find a place where man has made little impression.

On the Friday night our tents were eventually pitched beside an old deserted tin house near Strathan Farm, at the head of Loch Arkaig.
The 'tin house' near Strathan
Myself, Paul, John and Stephen and new member Colin, slept soundly after a tiring drive from Glasgow. Originally we had made the mistake of driving as far as upper Glendessary until an angry farmer and the great Scottish midges chased us back to Strathan. The midges also slept soundly and were hovering about in the early morning sunshine, waiting for their breakfast to emerge form the tents. Colin being the first morsel.

We met the others, who had camped down the road a little from us, after breakfast, and we decided to do the Sgurr Mor - Sgurr na Ciche ridge. It would be a long day; an estimate of 7 o’clock on the top of Sgurr na Ciche with a three hour walk back to the tents puts the outing into perspective.

The weather was perfect, the walk through to Glen Kingie warming us up for the slog up to the col and onto Sgurr Mor. Then it all lay below us, a friendly gesture of greeting.
The ridge at last!
With a warm sun and cotton wool clouds giving a peaceful and relaxing feeling that only a day in the hills seems to bring, the day ahead touched the horizon as we dropped down to Sgurr Beag.
Sgurr na Ciche - our destination
We continued along the ridge until we reached Sgurr nan Coireachan where the party split up, the ones who had had enough headed back for a long walk to the tents.
The 'rough bounds' of Knoydart
Some clouds floated around us, golden from the rays of the warm afternoon sun. We took a bite to eat and started off toward Garbh Chioch Mhor. It took ages to walk this part of the ridge, or maybe it was just because I was feeling tired and couldn’t concentrate on time.

We rested our weary and hungry bodies near the summit; I lay back against a huge piece of flat rock and closed my eyes. Taking deep breaths, I listened to the slow wind and the others chatting away while sorting out the food rations. As usual Paul had no emergency grub and had to be subsidised!

From the summit of Garbh Cioch Mhor we could look out to splendid views past Loch Nevis and could clearly make out the Island of Eigg, floating on a hazy shimmering sea.
Garbh Cioch Mhor with Island of Eigg in the distance
Following a small stone wall, we headed for Sgurr na Ciche; the sun baked down on us and as I had run out of water, I could hardly wait to reach the stream running from Sgurr na Ciche to the col. We eventually reached the col, deposited our rucksacks and after a drink and a bar of chocolate, scurried up to the summit of Sgurr na Ciche.
Sgurr na Ciche summit - 7pm

Loch Hourn peeped out through scattered white clouds below us. It was a great feeling of achievement just standing there looking at where we had come from (which reminded us how far we had to walk back).
View back along the ridge to Sgurr Mor
We sat at the col and sorted something to eat. I still had loads of food left to sustain me back to the tents. Paul was the only one who had not a thing left. (Roni gave him a salad roll which he gobbled before heading down).

It was a long walk now in darkness back to the tents. For a while we walked in silence before starting a sing-song to keep our minds off the miles. We arrived back at the tents after eleven o’clock in the evening and cooked our well-earned dinner and drifted off to sleep……..

David Lockhart.


The Vair Pair

Beinn  A' Bheithir
Sunday 3 May 1987

Jack and I arrived at Luss car park around 8.30am to find Margaret Joyce, Graham Duff, Evelyn Reid, Graham Pearson, David Lockhart and friend Paul all ready and eager to go. After Margaret had decided whose front seat she was going to travel in we set off for Ballachulish.

Bill Gray had arranged to uplift Kenneth, Ronnie and Gail and would meet up with us at West Laroch which we reached around 10.00 am. We parked the three cars by the bridge over the river Laroch at the foot of the road which leads up to the school, the playground of which is accessible and provides more suitable parking space for walking in this area! Bill Gray and party arrived around 10.30 am and the group of twelve set off up the road which is the start of a "right of way" track to Glen Creran.

Leaving this road at the school we were soon gaining height rapidly up the side of the N.N.E. Ridge of Beinn Bhan. However, around this point the group was reduced to ten as Ronnie decided to descend with Gail who was feeling unwell, and settled for a low level walk. The main ridge and snow level was reached and though it was a dry day, the chill wind soon had most of us (except Kenneth) reaching for waterproofs to retain the body heat generated on the ascent.

The cairn on Sgorr Bhan (3104 ft) was reached around 1.15 pm and after a brief stop for eats, drinks and pictures, we set off down the S.W. ridge to the col at 3248 ft, then up the beautifully corniced curving East Ridge to our highest top of the day, Sgorr Dhearg (3361 ft).
The views from its white trig-pillared top were superb, the hills to the south, Glencoe to the east, and across Loch Leven to the Mamores and Ben Nevis, all showing up well.
On leaving this top our route took us down the W.S.W. ridge to the Bealach at 2450 ft.
While Jack and I lingered there a while, charging our batteries, the rest of the party pushed on up the climb to our final top of the day, Sgorr Dhonuill (3284 ft).
By the time Jack and I were on the final scramble to the Cairn, Bill and the rest of the "fell runners" passed us on their way down (perhaps they had a table booked at the Drover's Inn at Inverarnan?).
From the cairn the views again were impressive, across the Firth of Lorne & Loch Linnhe to Mull, Morven and Ardgour.
Having spent over half an hour taking in the surrounding scenery we retraced our steps to the bealach and descended south to the Glenduror Forest where we spent a frustrating time making our way across a raft of felled trees (complete with branches) to gain access to the forest track. This we followed east for half a mile to reach a forest fence with a stile, thereafter a reasonable path led us 3 miles back to our car.

The "Beinn A' Bheithir Horseshoe" surely brought "Good Luck" to this outing. The good weather, pleasant company and magnificent scenery made the eight mile circuit all very much worthwhile.

John Hastie


24th Annual Dinner Meet

4th November 1989

This year the committee in its wisdom took us back to our roots, the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe. It was a much changed place from the early days when it squeezed in 10 diners at 10/6 per head, but the hills were the same and the goings-on for 40 odd members would have been recognised by the founding fathers.

Of those worthies, Alan Melville, George Stewart, and Eric Scott were still with us rabbiting on about the epics of benightment on the Aonach Eagach. The attractions of Glencoe also pulled in out of town members like Dave & Liz Skinner and Helen Scott from England. The march of technology was evidenced by George waving a video camera around, an innovation regarded with much scepticism as the evening wore on.

Our distinguished guest was Sandy Cousins, complete with kilt and dog, all three weel-kent to generations of gangrels. He gave us a most appropriate speech relating hills to clubs to friendships, followed by an, at times, hilarious slide-show - while the disco was set up for the ‘dancing’.
Eric won the DBOY award for a quite disgraceful page 3 in the Journal.

Yes, it was business as usual. Some members even preserved the fiction of a hill walking meet by reaching the tops of Beinn a’ Bheitheir; others wandered in the Lost Valley; in Glen Etive; and over the Devil’s Staircase. Those with the most enterprise got on to the first snows of the season.

Eric Scott

Eric wearing the 'DBOY'


Once Upon a time

O.B Loch Eil Winter Skills Weekend
4-6th March 1988

It was 7.30 on a Saturday morning in O.B Loch Eil Campsite; my hands embraced a cup of hot, steaming tea. Lifting it to my lips, I anticipated the hot liquid running down the back of my throat, warming my inner core and re-charging the soul.

A bitter-sweet combination of a warming breakfast, an icy cold fresh morning and excitement of a glorious day’s climbing ahead on the Ben sends a shiver down the back, a tingle in the extremities and a tickle in the tum.

From the entrance of my tent, my eye is drawn to a single water droplet falling from a nearby bush, like the tears from mother nature’s eyes as the early morning sunshine turns frost to water. From sleep to waking up – it’s great to be alive!!

Anyway, no time to waste - Bill and I packed our day-sacks with ice-climbing gear, some spare clothes and enough delicious goodies to keep us going on a winter’s day.
Echoes of Geoffrey Winthrop Young and the poetry of the Scottish Highlands draws us like magnets to Scotland’s highest peak – Ben Nevis. The smell of Scotland’s amber nectar fills our beings as we step out of the car at the distillery car park and the beginning of the long but scenic walk up the Allt a’ Mhuilinn.
Once far enough up the track, we are confronted with the cliffs of the Ben – Great Bastions of impregnability. The summit hut is the battlement from where the Ben’s “claws” can pierce out like a bayonet and hold a man helpless in the teeth of a great storm. But today, this mighty lion within the Ben purred and rolled over, inviting all Scottish climbers to “rope up” and rub her tummy.
After a long haul, our boots crunched to a halt on the icy slopes of the Castle Coire.
Two tired men took the weight from their weary legs and rummaged in their rucksacks for some hot coffee and other culinary delights. I was about to lift a delicious red plum to lips when Bill said, “No, Try a dram of this wi’ me”
I couldn’t believe my luck as Bill produced a silver hip flask containing 30-year-old Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky!! I took a sip and swallowed it - slowly; it burned down my gullet and floated like dry ice, finally dispersing in my stomach. This celestial beverage cannot be equalled and is second to none, other than the kiss and cuddle of a braw Scottish lassie!!

The hip flask then found its way to the safety of Bill’s zipped inside pocket as we wandered up the lower slopes of the North Castle Gully. Conditions were perfect, I led the first pitch in absolute silence, apart from the sure thud as my ice axe was driven home and my crampon points sunk into the ice. My boots were slack and I could feel my heel rubbing with every step. The leather bit in like an ill-fitting pair of false teeth.
I then belayed and Bill was soon sitting by my side. We sat for a while, picking out climbers on huge ice routes. The haunting of “climb when ready” and “climbing” placed me back to the days of the pioneers who first put up these classic routes on the Ben. There is a wonderful sense of isolation in winter mountaineering and although there were many climbers on the Ben that day, I can still feel that I’m alone and that the mountain belongs to me.

A hop, skip and a jump saw us peering over the summit plateau. We sorted out gear and coiled our ropes in brilliant winter sunshine. A white glistening panorama danced around in front of us as we stood in composure, buffered by the greatness of a magnificent winters day.
We meandered along the summit plateau, meeting all sorts of people on the way to the Coire Na Ciste. A stop at the CIC hut for the last of our coffee and a look at the guidebook was in order before we tackled another route. I munched away on a chocolate bar and looked at Bill’s eyes, they seemed to bulge out and sway about, rather like a pair of silicone breast implants. I could see then he was being hypnotised by two climbers on the curtain. Then he said, “Fancy a go at the curtain?” I was apprehensive, Bill said, “I’ll lead” and I agreed.

This was it, a great climb or the “final frontier”. Bill led off up the easier first pitch to a small cave-type recess.
The second and third pitch would almost be as hard as trying to get Paul Carruthers to do a write up for a journal!
Bill swung out of the cave and tiptoed up an overhang. Bill Gray, the bearded ballerina, clung on to the ice like a fly, his legs and arms pulsating and shaking with fear as he placed an ice screw for protection.
Onwards and upwards he went to the next belay.

On my way up the overhang, the heads from both my Clog Vulture ice axes became detached from the stems and I fell backwards. Tumbling down at great speed to the Coire Na Ciste.

When I stopped, I felt someone shaking me. It was Bill. He said “We better get a move on”

I was still in my sleeping bag. I opened the tent and it was pouring outside, which means this whole story must have been a dream…………..