Beyond Berkshire: a week in the Scottish mountains

In the middle of July, a group of nine of us (including members old and new and associates from the Berkshire Weekend Walkers and the Oxon 20s & 30s Walkers) took a trip well beyond our borders to Pitlochry in Perthshire, organised by Claire B. Most of us stayed as a group in the very nicely-located Hostelling Scotland hostel in the town with other options nearby for those preferring an alternative.

Wonderful views along the ridges.

We were extremely fortunate on both of the usual uncertainties on a Scottish trip: the weather and the midges. We only had two days out of six of poor visibility on the summits – one of which many of us spent on a very pleasant visit to the nearby Edradour Distillery, and the other of which we successfully climbed a munro in the mist anyway! On several of the other days we were on the tops in our t-shirts, and there was barely a midge to be found except on our first summit when there was hardly any wind…

At the summit of Shiehallion on day 2. [Photo: Claire]

Although mountains were a common element, the days were quite varied: a challenging walk over three of the Ben Lawers range on Sunday, our first full day, with some scrambling on the final ascent of An Stuc. We took the next day slightly easier, following the well-trodden path up Shiehallion. Tuesday was a more “interesting” ascent from a navigational point of view, and brought the warmer clothes and waterproofs out in force, as we were walking inside cloud from about 850m!

Still walking and smiling despite the rain on day 3!

On the remaining days, the group divided according to different preferences, with some choosing longer multiple-summit routes and others preferring something less demanding. On Friday, our last in the hills, we were all able to meet on the descent having taken two different routes which was a nice way to finish.

As has become traditional on these kind of trips, we cooked and ate as a group at the hostel, with one or two people volunteering a recipe and cooking each evening. As well as avoiding everyone trying to cook at once, this meant we got to enjoy a wonderful variety of meals after each day’s walking! Amongst the many dishes, beetroot, risotto and crumble seemed to be common themes…

Enjoying dinner together in the hostel after a day’s walking. [Photo: Steve]

All in all, another thoroughly enjoyable BW trip away, only a little over a year since my first! Thanks to Claire for all her work organising this, and to everyone else who volunteered to lead walks and help in a variety of other ways to make a fantastic week. I’m already looking forward to the next trip (a weekend in the Wye Valley in September)!

— Zak (Membership Secretary)