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5 Sisters of Kintail – Beautiful but demanding

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What a day!

Robin, Bill and I went to recce the 5 Sisters of Kintail walk before our Western Highland weekend at the end of July.

It was spectacular, it was awe-inspiring, it was terrifying. And we were very, very sweaty.

Here’s the walk in pictures…

We stayed at the Ratagan Youth Hostel for just £21 per night including bedding and towels. The staff are friendly and helpful and we had everything we needed for our stay. This is the view from the hostel. Best seats in the house right on the loch.

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The first hour or so of the walk is continuous climbing. And it’s steep – gaining over 550m in just under a kilometre. It’s a bit of a rude awakening. But once you reach the top, the view of the peaks is stunning.

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Looking back down, it’s a great feeling to see how far you’ve climbed in such a short period. We had almost perfect conditions bright and warm but not sunny and barely any wind beyond a light refreshing breeze.IMG_3217

And so onto the ridge, and the 5 Sisters in the distance.

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I don’t normally suffer from vertigo but there were places when I was terrified. For the most part, the ridge is wide enough for most to feel reasonably assured but there are some very narrow, rocky sections that would cause even the most Robin-esque to have a wobble.

Robin ahead and the ridge into the distance.

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The view behind

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Looking down into the Glen.

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Looking back at rocky section I’ve just descended with all the style and grace of a cat on water. It was steeper than it looks. Felt like an almost-vertical drop in places.

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Devil’s leap* below.  Make sure you take a good run up. I’d say it’s not really suitable for people with short legs.

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Bill making it look easy.

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Another difficult wee section. Almost horizontal, rocky. There were so many!

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Looking back up at the section we’d just descended. How did we do it? I have no idea!

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Looking at the ridge ahead

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Another view

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Robin on top of the 3rd sister. A very easy-going sister compared with the next one.

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View from the top of the 3rd sister. This photo really doesn’t do it justice

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Me ascending the very demanding and unreasonable 4th Sister. Steep, rocky and unrelenting. It looked like this…IMG_3257

And felt like this…

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Bill on the 4th Sister looking as though he’s having a good time.

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Looking down the from part-way up the 4th sister. Attempting to show steepness but failing I think.

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From the summit of Sister 4. The climb was so worth it. Again my iphone pictures really don’t capture the majesty of the setting or the sense of elation from reaching the top.

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Had to get the pose picture in

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And the scary self-portrait

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Coming down no 4 Sister my stomach was churning and I don’t normally suffer from vertigo. It’s so exposed. So steep. So much scree. So rocky. Really it was All Too Much.  No pictures as I was trying to stay upright and in one piece, though I failed on the upright a few times.

Back on the ridge and en route to no 5 Sister. Yeeha!
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After Sister 5 – Robin did try to threaten us with a 6th peak (centre in picture below). He didn’t get very far.

We descended into the path through the glen (you can see it on the right of the picture below).
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And hurrah, the end is in sight!

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My trusty companions.

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The sun shone.  And 3 happy walkers returned from the hills

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Isn’t it lovely?

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So that’s it. It took us 8 hours (930-1730).

We then went to set in the sunshine at Kintail Lodge Hotel before driving home.

If you want more information about the walk I highly recommend Walk Highlands. As well as technical details it also included reports from walkers.

During our Highlands weekend we will offer this walk with a professional guide.

You can find out more about the the Sunday Brunch Club Walking Group here.

*Devil’s Leap is a figment of my imagination and short legs are just as good as long ones when it comes to Sisters

Would you like to walk the 5 Sisters?
Have you walked 5 Sisters before,would you do it again?
We’d love to hear your views

Sunday Brunch Club Events – August 2011

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While our main website is down, we’re putting our events here so you can view and book via email.

Thursday 11 August
MID-WEEK WALK – CAERKETTON AND ALLERMUIR HILLS
*****CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER*****


Date: Friday 12 August
Time: 3pm
FOODIES FESTIVAL

Meeting point: Outside Queen’s Gallery, opposite the Scottish Parliament Map

To book: Visit the Foodies website or call 0871 230 5573   Quote foodies241
Members and friends
Approx £9 per ticket incl booking fee with 2for1 offer
for all 3 days

Join us in the beautiful grounds of Holyrood Park for a celebration of fine food and drink and culinary talent.

Meet Michelin-starred and top chefs in the Chefs Theatre

* Award-winning chefs prepare their favourite dishes live on stage, passing on hints and tips for you to try
* Taste, sample and buy
* Shop for ingredient from local producers selling fresh seasonal produce and buy speciality food and drink
*Try hands-on food and drink masterclasses led by industry experts, with plenty of tastings
* Enjoy seasonal cocktails
* Taste signature dishes from Scotland’s leading restaurants

If you can’t make this session. Foodies is also on on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August.
Find out more


Saturday 13 August
Time: 10am
OUTDOOR FITNESS AT INVERLEITH PARK

Meeting point: Inverleith Park, East Gate (opp the Botanics)

Booking: Just turn up – pay on the day.
Members and Non-Members
£5

Outdoor Fitness, come along for outdoor, fun and fitness whatever the weather!
All fitness levels welcome, options for people returning to exercise and for exercise junkies who want to be challenged.  Whether you want to get in shape for the beach or boost your fitness this is for you!
With Personal Trainer, Aileen Rankin


Date: Saturday 13 August
BIKE RIDE: CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER FORECAST

Members only
Free


Ride details to follow
Remember to bring:
– water
– snacks, if you think you’ll need something before lunch
– a waterproof jacket
– cycling shorts/trousers or water resistant trousers also a good idea – jeans can be heavy and uncomfortable when wet
– spare inner tube in case of puncture
Members only
Booking:  – email us or just turn up

pictures from other rides on flickr here


Date: Sunday 14 August
Time 1pm
SPARKLING BRUNCH AT CUCINA

Hotel Missoni, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD

*****THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED*****

Booking: Email us
Members and Non-Members
£22/£27 for 3 course lunch including a pre-lunch glass of prosecco

Cucina at Hotel Missoni is a delight. The hotel is known for its contemporary and colourful design and Cucina Restaurant is its vibrant hub. Authentic modern cooking inspired by classic Italian cuisine, it’s a real winner.
This is the Sunday Brunch Club’s first visit to Cucina and I know it will be popular so do book early. The perfect haven during a busy day of Fringe shows.


– Date: Thursday 18 August
Time: evening tbc
MID-WEEK WALK – DALMENY ESTATE, EDINBURGH
Meeting point: tbc

Booking: Email us or just turn up
Strictly members only
Free

Walk details to follow

Practicalities

You’ll need good walking boots, waterproof clothing and layers as weather can be changeable.
Pictures from walks on flickr here
Find out dates for all 2011 walks here


Date: Saturday 20 August
Time: 10am
OUTDOOR FITNESS AT INVERLEITH PARK

Meeting point: Inverleith Park, East Gate (opp the Botanics) Booking: Just turn up – pay on the day.
Members and Non-Members
£5

Outdoor Fitness, come along for outdoor, fun and fitness whatever the weather!
All fitness levels welcome, options for people returning to exercise and for exercise junkies who want to be challenged.  Whether you want to get in shape for the beach or boost your fitness this is for you!
With Personal Trainer, Aileen Rankin


Date: 21 August
Time: 9am
Meeting point: Outside The Dome, George Street, Edinburgh for car-share – journey time to walk start point approx 2hrs
HILLWALK – BEN LOMOND, LOCH LOMOND

Booking: Email us or just turn up
Strictly members only
Free

One of my first, and favourite munros. A good path up and fantastic views. This is a moderate climb suitable for everyone. There are a few steep parts but it’s mostly gradually ascent. The picture above is from the last time SBC climbed Ben Lomond in April 2009. It was a beautiful sunny day, lets hope we get the same again this time.

Practicalities
We’ll be walking over lunch time so bring a packed lunch and water with you. You’ll need good walking boots, waterproof clothing and layers as weather can be changeable. Remember your sun protection too, you never know!

Car share
We will be meeting outside The Dome (bar) in George Street on Sunday morning to arrange car sharing. If you have a car please bring it as you can always leave it at George Street if there are too many cars. Parking in town is free on a Sunday. Remember to give a contribution towards petrol to your driver. Insist if necessary! If you prefer, you can meet us in Loch Lomond car park at 11am.

Pictures from walks on flickr here
Find out dates for all 2011 walks here


Date: Wednesday 24 August
Time: 7pm
DINNER AT THE HONOURS: MARTIN WISHART’S NEW BRASSERIE
The Honours, 58a North Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3LU

Booking: Email us
Members and Non-Members
£22/27 for 3 courses

Martin Wishart’s Michelin-star winning restaurant in Leith is renowned for excellent food and service. This new city centre restaurant is a brasserie which opened on the 14 August. Our first visit was so popular that not everyone got a place so we’re doing it again!

Limited places – book early to guarantee a place


Thursday 25 August
Time: 7-9pm
THANK GOODNESS IT’S THURSDAY DRINKS AT SKYBAR

Venue: Skybar at The Point Hotel, 34 Bread Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AF

Booking: Just turn up
If it’s your first time look out for Stephanie or give her a call on 07881 900 251 when you arrive.
Members and Non-Members
Free with complimentary drink included

We absolutely LOVED SKYbar last month so we’re heading back again. We’re starting the weekend a day early and moving our Friday drinks to Thursday to go to the SkyBar. It opens on the last Thursday of each month and has fantastic castle views.

Great way to meet lots of new people and have a few laughs.

There’s a complimentary drink for everyone who arrives before 8pm (a cocktail, glass of wine, bottle of beer or soft drink). Jason’s legendary Singapore slings were a big hit last month.

Remember there’s a barbecue on too so you don’t need to dash home for dinner first.


Date: Saturday 27 August
Time: 10am
OUTDOOR FITNESS AT INVERLEITH PARK

Meeting point: Inverleith Park, East Gate (opp the Botanics)

Booking: Just turn up – pay on the day.
Members and Non-Members
£5

Outdoor Fitness, come along for outdoor, fun and fitness whatever the weather!
All fitness levels welcome, options for people returning to exercise and for exercise junkies who want to be challenged.  Whether you want to get in shape for the beach or boost your fitness this is for you!
With Personal Trainer, Aileen Rankin


Date: Saturday 27 August
Time 12-1.10pm
CIRCOLOMBIA: INTIMO URBAN

Assembly Hall (Main Hall) on The Mound Booking: Call Assembly on 0131 623 3030 or book online
Email us to meet up beforehand.
Members and Guests
£15

A friend in London told me about this show she saw there and can’t wait to see again in Edinburgh. It’s incredible in the true sense of the word.
“Urban, flamboyant circus of awe-inspiring acrobatics and dance. A tapestry of their personal stories where exuberant young Colombian artists charge the circus with their perfectly mastered yet volcanic energy. Co-production Roundhouse London.”
Watch the video here
Book early!


Date: Saturday 27 August
Time: 7.30pm
DINNER AT CRESCENT SECRET SUPPER CLUB

City centre – address will be confirmed to attendees

To book: email us
Members Only
When booking please advise any food allergies or restrictions
donation for a delicious 3 course dinner

The dinner at Crescent on 6 August sold out within hours so we’re offering it again.

After the super evenings we had at Charlie & Evelyn’s Table, Kitchen Porters and My Home Supper Club, we’re delighted to be dining with Crescent Secret Supper Club.

These fabulous secret dining clubs in the homes of enthusiastic foodies are always a thrill.

It looks lovely and has already received rave reviews. Get in quickly though as it seems that Crescent might only be around for August. Find out more on the website.

Please note cancellations within 24 hours must be paid for

The Big Ones – Ben Nevis & Buachaille Etive Mor

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Last week we spent an incredible weekend climbing Ben Nevis and Buachaille Etive Mor. The incredible part? Wall-to-wall Mediterranean sunshine (ie hot, hot, hot!) clear views and men climbing Ben Nevis in their pants!

One  woman who went said that climbing Buachaille Etive Mor was the best day of walking she’d ever had in Scotland. And I have to agree.

We stayed at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and Bunkhouse. I’d highly recommend both. The food at the restaurant is excellent and staff very helpful. Perfect place to stay and there is so much to do nearby.

Here for your delectation a few pictures of a glorious weekend.

Arriving at Ben Nevis

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On the way up. The path zig zags the mountain so for the most part it’s a gentle ascent.

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But there are some steeper sections.

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Incredible views on the way up.P1060082

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Snow near the summit

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A few of us on the summit of Ben Nevis. It took us 3 hours to reach the summit at a relaxed pace. Great feeling!

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The summit looks busier than Fort William on a beautiful day like this.

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The boys in pants doing their thang!

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Beautiful views as we begin our descent

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Arriving at Buachaille Etive Mor

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Victoria and Robin flying as they approach the summit

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Feeling ecstatic on the summit! The Buachaille is a steep munro. More interesting and challenging than Ben Nevis. I loved it.

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Amazing views…

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The descent was the difficult part, Buachaille’s steep and rocky. Here on hands, and bums we negotiate a particularly tricky section. You can just make us out in the middle of the photo below.

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Our next weekend is in Speyside in September. This time it’s a mix of hillwalking, cycling and sightseeing. You choose how much or how little you do. Last year’s trip to Glen Clova in September was lovely, with brilliant weather.

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To find out more about Speyside in September visit our Speyside weekend webpage.

You can find out more about the the Sunday Brunch Club Walking Group here.

What are your favourite walks in Scotland?

Snow, Sunshine, Skiing and Spa-ing on SBC SKI 11

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We’ve just come back from a fantastic ski holiday in Myrhofen, Austria. After many years ski holidays in France, we absolutely loved Austria.

We were lucky to have two days of snow before we left and glorious sunshine while we were away.

Our hotel Sporthotel Strauss was fantastic, the rooms were big with balconys, we were served 5 course dinners every night by the wonderful Marcio, we were right next to the Penken lift, in the heart of apres and of course there was the naked spa. What can I say? I’m a convert!

Next year we’re looking at Austria again, or perhaps Switzerland or Italy.

This year’s trip sold out in just two weeks. If you want early alerts for next year’s ski trip email info@sundaybrunchclub.co.uk

Love Walking

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I’m writing about what is a love for many people including me: walking.

Walking has become hugely popular in the Sunday Brunch Club. January’s walk was a beautiful coastal walk in East Tyninghame. A bumper turnout with over 30 people walking with us that day. The Club’s walks are very sociable with an emphasis on fun and enjoying the beauty of the Scottish countryside.

Tyninghame walk - 16 January 2011
Beautiful coastal walk in Tyninghame, East Lothian

Huge thanks to Robin who led the walk.

Robin our Walk Leader
Wonderful Walk Leader, Robin

February’s walk is a walk in The Pentlands led by Ian.

Hillwalking pictures
See pictures of past walks on our flickr page

Want to walk with us?
Visit our hillwalking page for joining details and dates for all our hillwalks this year.

What are your favourite walks?

Christmas Dinner at Whighams

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On Monday the Sunday Brunch Club Badminton Club went to Whighams for Christmas Dinner. We wanted somewhere relaxed and informal so Whighams seemed the perfect choice.

I so enjoy Whighams for drinks and it is walking distance from home, so over the years it’s become something of a regular haunt and meeting place.

The menu offered so much promise. Scallops, a favourite of mine, featured as a starter. The main courses offered were turkey with all the trimmings, pumpkin and champagne risotto, balsamic lamb casserole and panfried seabass fillet. So many delicious choices! By the time I read the sweets which included a chestnut cheesecake and a passionfruit Crème brûlée my mouth was watering. The menu was £25 for 3 courses or £30 including a glass of prosecco.

We started off over a few glasses of bubbly perusing the menu. For me there was only one starter: warm scallops served with frizzled chillies and spring onion. When the plates arrived my enthusiasm evaporated. To say I was disappointed is to rather understate the case. This is what we were presented with.

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St Abbs Head Secret Walk

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Pepe at St Abbs Secret Walk
Pepe enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery during the St Abbs Secret Walk

 On Sunday the Sunday Brunch Club Walking Group went on a beautiful coastal walk at St Abbs Head. Thanks so much to Ian M who led the walk.

This walk was described thus “You probably won’t have been this way before as this walk is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets, but it offers truly stunning coast and landscape: high cliffs, smuggler’s coves, flocks of sea birds and magnificent views of the North Sea come included on this moderate four to five hour walk”.

It lived up to expectation and was well worth the 9am start it required. Here are the pictures of Pepe le Chien and the rest of us enjoying the fantastic views… 

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