My records say that I last stayed in Gerry’s Hostel 11 years ago and clearly my memory of how bad it was had very much faded. In fact nothing much has changed, apart from the proprietor who is now the infamous Gerry’s son (Simon) and is carrying on the business, if this hostel could possibly be classed in that category. To be fair, Simon was very pleasant, helpful and accommodating as he didn’t charge us for the empty beds due to some late cancellations. There is still the old-fashioned, dilapidated and cramped kitchen, the shower curtains you wouldn’t want to touch with a barge pole for fear of catching MRSA and the attractive seashell wall decorations cemented in the wall of the loo. But the upstairs “family” room which I shared with Alan, Gillie, Graham and Robert was not at all that bad, despite being allocated the “cave” to sleep in because I was late arriving on Friday night.
During Friday Graham had knocked off the 2 corbetts Sgurr a’ Mhuilinn and Meallan nan Uan on the way over, and Gillie and Alan climbed Ben Wyvis going down the difficult way. Saturday’s forecast was not looking good - someone commented typical DHC weather, rainy and cloudy – but all 5 of us, myself, Alan, Gillie, Robert and Graham set off to climb the Corbett An Ruadh-stac and the munro Maol Chean-dearg. The rain really was torrential showing no sign of letting up, so it was hard to blame Gillie and Alan for bailing out after reaching the Coire Fionnaraich bothy, especially after getting damp the day before. After reaching the bealach a Choire Ghairbh, Graham and I parted company with Robert who was going to climb Maol Chean-dearg and he headed onwards and upwards into the mist. It had been decided fairly early on that to attempt both hills in these conditions would have been madness – a good decision.
An Ruadh-stac turned out to be a very challenging Corbett, especially in the wet and cloudy conditions, as route finding and scrambling through the crags, boulders and scree was not straightforward (having just seen a picture of the hill on Walkhighlands in blue sky conditions, I can now understand why we found it hard).
Graham and I finally made to the summit for the customary selfie.
On Saturday evening Graham had to return to Aberdeen, but the remaining 4 of us had a very enjoyable evening meal (there were even candles!).
As Sunday dawned the skies were clearer but the MWIS forecast winds of 30-40 mph put us all off making any walking attempts that day. So instead all returned early to Aberdeen with myself, Alan and Gillie stopping off at the Inverness Tiso’s to stock up on those outdoor essentials.
Perhaps in another 11 years the memory of Gerry’s may have faded again…..but somehow I doubt that I shall return !
Late news: I ended up leaving my rucksack behind in the drying room, only realising on arrival back home. Simon has kindly agreed to put to one side in an outhouse, so I guess I will be returning to Gerry’s much sooner than planned, but not to stay.