Reports of members activities - 2023

Reports of members activities. If you would like to send in a report please mail it to the Hon. Editor.
The reports will be published in the Journal.

Hogmanay Reflections
Report by Julie Jones

As tradition dictates, for some 30 years at least, the family headed to the Cairngorms for Hogmanay and outdoor excursions which can range from a benign stroll to An Lochan Uaine, the Green Loch, from Glenmore Lodge, to ferocious winds higher up, on Cairngorm, on Ben MacDui, and beyond.


Weather patterns in the Highlands can be erratic, the close of 2022 particularly so. Temperatures were warm, dropping to minus 2 max overnight. New Year’s Eve was positively balmy, out on the streets watching fireworks in light fleeces until, at about 2am, it snowed 3 or 4 inches in 2 hours, what the Inuit call little flakes, big snow. By morning it had stopped but, instead of the usual freeze of lying powder into hardened crust, it disappeared as quickly as it had come, every patch gone in a matter of hours.

These changing systems can wrong foot those who go to the hills at this time of year in anticipation of freezing temperatures, perhaps a flurry of snow, and end up soaked to the skin. Outdoor garments don’t always meet both requirements. Same with footwear. You start the day on sheet ice and return at nightfall through a peat bog.

Could this be nature regaining control of the human footprint it has long endured in the mountains, now increasingly over-populated by enthusiasts who seek their thrills in the great (and ‘free’) outdoors, without regard to the damage which can be caused, nor the safety of rescuers who go to help if things go wrong.

And, what of skiing? Will this exhilarating sport and pastime be remembered as a short-lived, turn-of-the-century recreational pursuit? Fast lifts have offered easy access to high peaks, enabling long downhill runs, sometimes at frightening speed. Were we that privileged generation?

The University of Grenoble says that unless global action is taken to curb carbon emissions, France’s two greatest glaciers are doomed: Argentiere will be gone by 2080 and Mer de Glace by the end of the century. ‘Almost nothing’ can be done locally to stop their decline.

Higher night time temperatures have warmed the faces, making many dangerous to climb, even in darkness. Warming is leading to more rockfall and thawing permafrost, causing havoc with infrastructure. There is no normal any more. Well-intentioned but futile attempts to change human behaviour make a mockery of ‘Save The Planet’. The planet will survive, whatever we do. It is we who will perish.

On 1 January, 2023, Scotland recorded the mildest New Year's Day on record thanks to a flow of warm subtropical air from the Azores. The Met. Office confirmed temperatures reached 15.9c at Achnagart in Glenshiel.

Alfred Wainwright memorably remarked ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’. Perhaps we should take a hard look in the cupboard and restock some essentials for this changing world. Weather and wardrobe are inextricably linked. Something to ponder for those who frequent high places.

Weisshorn Hotel Reflections
Report by Mike Goodyer


Back in the summer of 2018 Andy and I walked from Zermatt to Zinal (account in 2019 Journal) and after crossing the Meidpass stayed at the famous Weisshorn Hotel for 2 nights.

The Hotel is above St Luc in Val d’Annivers at a height of 2337m.

See a review of our stay at the Hotel. Perhaps during your visit to the area on the 2024 Alpine Meet to Grimentz you may be tempted to visit.