Helen Rose Hill Diary
It was Pheona’s special birthday so she arranged the Easter weekend for twenty one of us at a lodge at Carrbridge, north of Aviemore, to celebrate with style. I was delighted to be invited to the celebration. An enormous amount of organisation went into the event to provide dinners for everyone and entertainment for three nights. Easter was early this year so it was likely to be wintry weather. Being Scotland, we can never be sure of the weather from one minute to the next and often see four seasons in one day. The email before we left said snow was expected and to bring snow toys like snowboards and ice axes and crampons. Pheona did a painting of my celebration of completing the Munros commissioned by my hill walking pals. Her website is at www.pheonakerr.co.uk
A few of us travelled north on the Thursday and stayed over in Aviemore with the intention of climbing some Munros on Friday. We valiantly set out from Newtonmore but soon found ourselves in blizzards and made very little progress up the hills. We found a cosy mountain hut to have lunch in surrounded by snow drifts. In the afternoon we abandoned the hills and headed for the lodge which was lovely, warm and comfortable. We all had a meal together on Friday evening followed by a quiz in teams while having a few liquid refreshments.
On Saturday, the winds were too high for skiing but we travelled over to Loch Morlich for a walk in the snow to Ryvoan Bothy where we had lunch. The views were good onto the Cairngorm massif. Some attempted the Corbett circular walk, others did not complete it and some extended it onto other hills. Afterwards, we all met at Glenmore Lodge for coffee and then returned to the lodge for the birthday celebrations proper. After a delicious meal and fine wines we had a ceilidh. David donned his kilt and called out the steps for the dances. Despite Pheona and David demonstrating the dances, some people still managed to go horribly wrong in Strip the Willow and invaded other sets but it was all good fun.
On Sunday, we were all feeling rather delicate. It was snowing heavily so most people went a walk through the forest tracks to Carrbridge where we found a very nice teashop with home baking. The snow fell heavily all day but some managed cross country skiing from the lodge. The snow was enjoyable as we have not had any in Glasgow this winter and we managed to roll the small Easter eggs before devouring them. After dinner in the evening, we had a short, witty play written by Noreen and performed by her and Tom followed by a pub quiz in our teams. Needless to say, I was in the team that did not do well. The winning team had the right answer to the question on how many times Scotland had won the elephant polo competition so got bonus points. Now, how many people knew that answer? Surprisingly, there is such a competition and it was covered in the Herald recently.
On Monday we travelled home in snow stopping in Pitlochry for lunch. It was a very sociable weekend and everyone enjoyed it immensely with all the wining and dining, dancing and games with a few walks thrown in for good measure. Many thanks to Pheona and David for all the organising and to all the people who cooked the memorable dinners. Whose special birthday is next? Oops, I think it is mine so must start planning for it.
Coming attractions: Weekend at Ratagan. My bucket list progress and anything else I have to write about
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Thanks to Pheona Kerr and Frances Rickus for the photos