Hill: Creag Rainich
Date: Sunday 16th December 2012
Company: Myself, Ray, Fiona, Bill and Malcolm
Distance: 20km, Ascent: 800m
Time: 5Hrs 35Mins

Thirty-three Club members set out yesterday morning on the MMC Christmas Bus Meet, destination, ‘the Fannichs’.

Members were dropped-off at various points en-route to the Loch a’Bhraoin parking area, where the bus parked-up for the day. Fifteen members disembarked at the start of the Loch a’Bhraoin track all making for Lochivroan bothy, some with the intention of continuing on to summit Creag Rainich.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Club members at start of track leading to Loch a’Bhraoin:

The group of fifteen pretty-much walked together as far as the East-end of Loch a’Bhraoin. On reaching Loch a’Bhraoin, I stopped to take a few photos of the loch looking towards Groban and Beinn Bheag in the distance.

Loch a’Bhraoin:

Loch a’Bhraoin:

On reaching the track next to Loch a’Bhraoin, Ray and Bill set the pace of the day, a pace somewhere between that of a mountain hare and a snow leopard. I just about managed to keep up .

Ray and Bill setting a good pace:

As we progressed along the loch-side, I could feel hot spots developing on my heels and the start of a blister.

Looking back along Loch a’Bhraoin:


On my previous ascent of Creag Rainich, I took to the hillside before reaching Lochivraon bothy, so this was my first visit to this nice bothy.

Lochivraon bothy:

Myself, Ray and Bill reached Lochivraon bothy five to ten minutes before the remainder of the group. This provided sufficient time for me to put on some Compeed and have a hot drink and bite to eat. The group soon got the fire going and Corinne passed round mince pies and caramel shortbread. Superb!

Inside Lochivraon bothy:

Inside Lochivraon bothy:

As nice as it was in the bothy, time was really not on our side if we wanted to reach the summit of Creag Rainich. We only had a total of 5Hrs 45Mins walking time before our coach would be departing to take us for our Christmas meal.

I set off from the bothy followed by Fiona, Ray, Bill and Malcolm.

Looking back towards Lochivraon bothy from Creag Rainich:

Looking down to the Abhainn Loch a’Bhraoin:

Bill and Loch a’Bhraoin:

The first few hundred metres of ascent were straight-forward as there was no snow. During the next couple of hundred metres, I tried to weave a path up the hill avoiding all the snow patches.

Looking across to A’Chailleach:

The snow was unavoidable in the final couple of hundred metres ascent as we made our way towards Meall Dubh and beyond to Creag Rainich.

Into the mist:

On reaching the summit of Meall Dubh, which was in cloud, I had a quick look at Viewranger on my phone to confirm both our position and the direction to the summit. From Meall Dubh, we made our way down to the col before ascending the final snow-covered section to the summit of Creag Rainich.

I found breaking trail up this final section a bit tiring. The snow was a mix of soft and hard with the odd drift to sink into.

Frozen pool between Meall Dubh and Creag Rainich:

Final ascent towards the summit of Creag Rainich:

Myself and Fiona reached the trig point and then continued on to the actual summit a short distance beyond.

Creag Rainich trig point:

I have included a photo from my previous ascent of this hill from July 2007.

Beinn at the trig point of Creag Rainich (previous ascent):

On returning to the trig point, we waited a minute or so for Bill, Ray and Malcolm to also reach the true summit.

Looking back to the trig point from the summit of Creag Rainich:

We all knew that we had no time to spare, so there was no food or drink stop at the summit, it was simply a case of head back the way we had came.

During the descent, we got some nice views across to the Beinn Dearg range.

Beinn Dearg hills and Meall Dubh from Creag Rainich:

Beinn Dearg hills (zoom):

Once back at the top of Meall Dubh, the cloud also lifted sufficiently to get a view back to Creag Rainich.

Looking back to Creag Rainich from Meall Dubh:

During the descent, I upped my pace in order to have a few minutes time back in the bothy to eat my sandwiches and have a drink.

Descending back to Lochivraon:

Descending back to Lochivraon:

The walk out alongside Loch a’Bhraoin was again fast. Bill shot off ahead like a rocket.

I only stopped once for photos during the walk back along the loch. The reflections on the loch were too good to miss.

Loch a’Bhraoin reflections:

We all made it back to the bus with around ten minutes to spare – great timing .

The bus then departed, picking up other members who’s walks finished at the Aultguish Inn and the Inchbae Lodge, which to their disappointment were closed. Great Highland Hospitality – Aultguish Inn – “Gone Skiing” apparently.

Finally, we stopped at the Priory Hotel in Beauly for our Christmas Meal. A superb meal that I could not fault in anyway – delicious!

Christmas meal at the Priory Hotel, Beauly:

Christmas meal at the Priory Hotel, Beauly:

Christmas meal at the Priory Hotel, Beauly:

Christmas meal at the Priory Hotel, Beauly:

We had circa 3.5hrs at the Priory Hotel during which time plenty drinks were consumed, tales were told and Drummond was awarded, “the boot”. Something to do with Drummond being a “time lord”, or “master of time”, I think.

Other nominations included:
- Myself and John's partners (for putting up with myself and John both HuMPing someone called "Marilyn")
- Dave (for services to music - wheeling Fiona out of the Glenbrittle hut while still playing her fiddle)
- Alan (for driving to pick up Jake, Fiona and Drummond from Fort William after they missed the bus and had no money)
- Bill (for falling asleep outside his tent on Jura)
- 'One-night' Dave (for turning up to meets, having a few drinkies and having to go home)
- Bob (for his trusty Go-Pro filming deep underground)

However, I think Jake himself was missing from the nominations for his, "Full moon over the In Pin" .

Drummond in receipt of “the boot” award:

A really great day out. Thanks to Dave for organising the Bus and Fiona for organising the superb meal .