Trip report courtesy of Elliot Marshall
A few days of back-to-basics living and skiing in the heart of Glen Affric beckoned for the ‘Weekday warriors’ of IBSC (or as it was put to us on arrival ‘the pensioner group’ – I prefer the ‘superannuation six’). Strawberry Cottage, framed by moonlit Munros and the cloudless night sky, would be the welcome base camp for the following days adventures. Snow was forecast and the weather cold, spirits could not have been higher!
The clear sky and bracing temperatures would bring great conditions for skiing, but had presented a more immediate task for the first arrivals at the Cottage. Wielding a big stick, Andy Ince, Al Todd, Dave Mitchell and Alan Sloane successfully set about disarming the frozen effluent pipe that had forced the first cohort of IBSC into retreat (or retention) over the weekend. A ‘job’ well done… Hours of potty talk ensued.
Basking in the warm glow of the fire with some tremendous food, wine and company (thanks Dave for the Venison and Al for the Bolognese!), it wasn’t until the wee hours of Tuesday Morning that the group disbanded for some shut-eye.
A leisurely-paced breakfast saw several plans emerge from the group as atmospheric squalls of snow passed over the higher tops of the glen. Some high-quality faffing was to be enjoyed by all, and an unofficial competition of sorts emerged between vying IBSC members.
Al Todd, Fiona Tomlinson and Elliot Marshall eventually embarked on an exploratory venture into Coire Coulavie on Mam Sodhail and some great skiing was to be found off the western slopes of Creag Coire nan Each. After a ‘civilised’ brunch to follow up the leisurely breakfast, Dave opted to Mountain bike to Loch Affric whilst Andy hiked along the glen to the old youth hostel. Alan Sloane ventured solo up to the higher reaches of Mam Sodhail to camp on the ridge overnight.
5 pairs of tired legs and several tweaky knees reunited on Tuesday evening for a second round of fire, food and fortunately, no talk of sewerage! The group ate their weight in sausage stew, mash potatoes and then ginger cake whilst putting the world to rights for the second night in a row.
Wednesday was one of those Scottish winter days that can only be recalled with a sense of wonderment and disbelief that you were fortunate enough to have witnessed it. Bluebird, crisp and with fresh snow on the hills; Fiona, Andy and ‘Faffmeister’ Elliot ventured into Coire Leachavie to be greeted by a glorious bowl of the soft white stuff. The skiing was effervescent! It was smiles all around for the trio who made some excellent turns and benefitted from some epic photos by Andy.
Reconvening at the Cottage, the group prepared to make their exit from the Glen in over ladened 4x4s after a suffering a further bout of ‘the faffs’. Some skilled manoeuvring was required from Dave Mitchell to jump start Alan’s dead battery and get the group back on the road to civilisation!
Glen Affric truly lived up to its IBSC namesake! Thanks to everyone who has helped to organise the club and it’s trips this year. It has truly been Affrickin’ Magic few days!