Saturday, 11 February 2012

ADRC Merrick climb from Bruces Stone. February 2012

Walkers gathering at Bruces Stone car park.

Looks quite tranquil

Turned to this as we climbed.

Advance group at the summit of Benyellery

Unusual ice patterns on the dyke.

More of the same

At the summit of the Merrick.
Today Saturday 18 walkers travelled from Ayr to the car park commonly known as Bruces Stone near to the village of Glentrool in the Galloway Forest.It was a cold dry cloudy morning and our leader explained that  due to the conditions we were likely to experience on the summits we would decide our route once we had assesssed  the situation at the top.. Leaving the car park we made our way up to Culsharg bothy where we had our coffee break. At this point the leader pointed out that today we had walkers  in the group that walked at varying speeds. So the usual fast culprits carried on until we reached the summit of Benlellary(719M) which was covered in mist and snow. We waited on some of the others to catch us up when the leader suggested that we split into two groups with the faster walkers going on ahead over the Neive of the Spit and make our way to the summit of the Merrick (843M) which is the highest peak in South West Scotland.This we did but the going was tough with deep snow and ice making it quite difficult to navigate. Coupled with the mist and bitter wind we decided when we reached the summit to immediately return by the same route to inform the other group that it was quite dangerous with ice ,snow and mist making it nearly impossible to continue. This is when the problems began as we made our way back to Benyellary we did not meet up with any of the other group so we made the decision that they had given up and returned back down to safer slopes.The group I was with then made our way down expecting to catch the slower group up but once we reached the cars there was no sign of them so  decided they had gone on a walk on some of the lower slopes perhaps around Glen Trool. After waiting nearly two hours we were getting quite worried about them when one of them appeared and it transpired that due to the  thick mist we had missed them on the Neive area and unknown to us they had passed us on their way up the Merrick. Quite frightening that this could actually happen hence the reason we had such a long wait at the start waiting on their return. Unfortunately mobile phones did not work in this remote area perhaps two way walkie talkies would have helped, You are always wiser after the event but it demonstrated to everybody the dangers of taking a large group onto high hills when you have such a variation in the level of fitness of the walkers, there was a two hour gap at the end between the groups demonstrating the different levels of todays group. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the iced dyke Gordon.
    Such are the problems when groups split up.
    Remember the close thing with our crowd in the lakes and there was only five or six of them.