Tuesday 5 June 2012

Annual Dinner Weekend 2012 - Part One

Saturday 26th May - Glen Clova 

DURC's Annual Dinner Weekend is an important fixture on the calendar: not only is it the last official club meet before the summer break, it also marks the occasion when the outgoing committee hands over to the new members. 

Last year the Annual Dinner Weekend saw the club take a camping trip to Arran, and this year it was decided to stay closer to home so that more people could attend the various events.

To that end the committee organised a day trip on the Saturday to Glen Clova, a meal in the evening in Dundee, then a beach day on Sunday at West Sands, St. Andrews.

Beautiful weather in Glen Clova

Walking: Tom Buidhe and Tolmount

Everyone was digging out the suncream from their rucksacks before we left the car park for the day's trek. The weather report on the way up to Glen Clova said the temperature would be 19 degrees. Even in the relatively shaded car park at 9:30pm in the morning, it was at least this temperature already.

The two Munros in the plan for the day were Tom Buidhe and Tolmount, two relatively simple hills often done together. We set off from the car park and made our way through Glen Doll forest. We soon came out of the shaded forest and made the gentle walk up to the Tom Buidhe.

What should have been an easy-going walk up Tom Buidhe was made slightly more physically taxing due to the high temperatures. We could see isolated snow patches in the distance - and we altered our route slightly to make sure we had to pass through them on the way to the summit.

Snow patches on Tom Buidhe
Snow patches on Tom Buidhe
Summit of Tom Buidhe
Summit of Tom Buidhe

From the summit of Tom Buidhe, Tolmount was only a little more than 1km away. We saw a good variety of wildlife on the way, including a particularly photogenic frog. The sight of hares dashing across the side of the hills in their new brown coats reminded us that we were still in the spring.

Summit of Tolmount
Summit of Tolmount

The descent from Tolmount began to close the circle of the route we took, taking us through the more scenic route of the forest.

Descending below Loch Esk
Descending below Loch Esk

As is typical of a walk in the Cairngorms, I always manage to find a bog; a particularly big bog as well. I landed one leg straight into it, covering my leg in the usual gunk right up to my knee. It's always a concern of mine that when pulling out the said limb, it will come out without the boot attached. And because of my luck, I just know it's gonna happen one day. My embarrassment of having one single muddy leg was slightly relieved when I saw later that Alexandre had also fallen into the same trap as me...

The two Munros of the day were certainly not the most memorable. Both had very gentle ascents, with similar rocky, flat summits. It was difficult to believe that they were actually Munros - particularly Tom Buidhe. But nevertheless, it was a good day in the hills with a good group of people. And we got to take away with us two more Munros in the bag. But also some sunburn, slight dehydration and a singular muddy leg for two of us...

Written by:Brett Gregory
Photos:James Simpkins

Climbing: Red Craigs

While some brave DURC members smeared on multiple layers of suncream and set off to slog up a couple of Munros in the blistering heat, the rest of us made a beeline for the cool shade cast by Red Craigs.

Euan took the lead for the first climb, a wee warm up 20 Minute Route (Mod). As usual, however, he got bored after about 10 feet and did a direct variation instead. Not in the book so guess we could claim a first ascent of 10 Minute Route (V Diff). Solid climbing for the first part, take the leftmost of the two corners to a ledge and follow a line straight up over the bulge to rejoin the main route at the slab.

Second climb was Three J's Chimney and Ruaridh set himself the personal challenge of placing as much gear as possible on the 12m V Diff. On twin ropes and with a full rack of nuts, hexes and cams he managed 15 runners before the belay!

To finish the day we linked Parapet Route Direct Start with Flake Route into a great two pitch lead (VS 4c). A slightly shaky start from Roo on the leftmost line led nicely to the ledge. Euan then finished up Flake Route, remembering rather too late just how run out the top gets...

All in all, a great start to the summer climbing season. Here's hoping the weather improves again and we can all get plenty more ticks. Rachelle will definitely need to lead next time!

Red Craigs
Climbing at Red Craigs
Written by:Euan Macdonald
Photo:Calum McBain

Dinner at The Tasting Rooms, Dundee

After racing back from Clova we had a 20 minute turnaround to get scrubbed up and sprint down to The Tasting Rooms for dinner. After a day of slow-roasting in the sun, a few of us had some pretty impressive sunburn... Brett in particular was sporting an 'extra crispy' look!

While food always tastes great when you've been out on the hills all day, I think everyone agreed that dinner was exceptionally good – both in quality and quantity! After dinner, Roo (a.k.a. "Mr Rucksack") gave a short and sweet handover speech to sum up how successful the year has been and to welcome Brett as the new club president. To his horror, Brett was also bullied into giving a speech! Much toasting, applauding and cheering followed the speeches, and with everyone feeling full and merry we headed to Clarks for post-dinner drinks... after which it all gets a bit hazy!

Written by:Rachelle Binny

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