The climbing conditions had been good for a number of weeks and lots of great routes and outings were being made. My friends were down in Fife for the weekend so we decided on an outing in the Angus Glens. Last year we had our solitary Winter mountaineering outing in Winter Corrie so we decidied to head to Corrie Fee to see what was in.
These are relatively local hills for me but I am ashamed to say I have only been in Corrie Fee once before. My first outing up Driesh and Mayar saw myself and my Dad "descend the north slopes of Mayar and down by the Fee Burn and waterfall which was very steep" (according to my diary entry from August 2000). The weather had not been too great on that Munro bagging day and may explain why I had little recollection of the magnicicance of Corrie Fee as we entered it from the Forrest......
As seems to be the case the forecast wasn't great! All the pictures of blue skies and inversions from blogs had wetted our appetite for getting something done, but the reality was that the tops were to be mild and the winds were to pick up through the day. However things started promising, very promising, the car thermometer on the drive along Glen Clova was showing -5 and the skies were crystal blue. These conditions remained through the forrest walk and to the base of the south wall, felt Alpine (how this was to change!!).
We decided to have a look at Look C Gully which looked complete from below, however it was soon realised by the end of pitch one that the rapidly rising temperature was going to be an issue.
A quick ab down and round to B Gully. It was now warmly up quickly and the wind had gone from nearly still to virtually pushing us up the hill! There was a team in B gully chimney and we soloed up to the top pitch in B Gully. It looked fine but in reality the steeper ice on the left was in great nick which was in contrast to the sugary no consolidated snow to the right! Which way did I go!!! made for a few interesting moves and I had total respect for George leading this one :) Up past George at the belay and I led out with the rope tightening as I got to the top. Got a good belay at the left (mainly to stop me being blown away!!).
We quickly found the descent route back into Corrie Fee hoping to escape the wind, however this didn't happen, think I was blown over half a dozen times!!! The trees did provide shelter though and soon we were back at the car reflecting on the changing conditions and the fun that was had. It was now +5 degree at the car......
I'll definitely be back to Corrie Fee, and I can guarantee it'll not be a 15 yea wait this time. Although not with my old man , I'd love to take him back, though I think it'll be with climbing gear or a tent on my back. Have a feeling the Corrie would make a wonderful wild camp site in the snow :)
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...