The end of year Adventure Out/GOC Scotland meet is now something of a tradition and is treated as more of a social event rather than as an occasion to bag some hills, mainly as the weather at this time of year is so unreliable.
We did however have a loose plan to climb Ben Macdui on the Saturday; this is the second highest mountain in Gt Britain but is a fairly straightforward walk from the Coire Cas ski centre carpark, with a starting elevation in excess of 2000 ft. The weather initially seemed fairly settled on leaving the hostel in Aviemore, however it soon became apparent that we weren’t going to get much of a view from the top as a strong easterly wind was blowing a steady stream of cloud over the summit.
We were joined for the day by Tim Hall, who resides in Aviemore. On reaching the summit of Ben Macdui Tim produced a bottle of champagne, declaring this was his 50th time up Ben Macdui (for your information, this is not a trait of some obsessive compulsive disorder that Tim may have but Tim operates a mountain guiding business out of Aviemore and Ben Macdui is a destination favoured by his clients, so he has naturally climbed it quite a few times). So slightly anesthetised by the alcohol, we descended back to the carpark.
An excellent evening meal in The Winking Owl worked out okay in the end after a slight mishap in the booking (I blame the alcohol), and Sunday dawned with the promise of a better day weather wise. We chose to traverse the nearby Corbett of Meall a’Buachaille as this allowed some of the party to get a quick getaway back home. This time we were treated to some great views of Strathspey and the surrounding Cairngorm mountains.