It’s November again, so time once more for Loch Ossian (No.19 in a continuing soap opera of life, love and trauma in a small-to-medium sized running club based in the west end of Glasgow). Food and drink consumed at the last chance saloon, Bridge of Orchy. Train delayed but hey, who was bothering. Brenda and Manny were awaiting us at the hostel with a fantastic spread of home made soup, sausage rolls, cream cakes and cask strength Speyside malt especially distilled in the garden shed (OK, so I made the last bit up, but take it as a request for next year). The rest of the evening followed a familiar pattern…Tea, Do’s and (mainly) Don’ts from Nick the Warden, more whisky and ritual humiliation for those going to bed early (i.e. before 1am). We all straggled to bed in anticipation of squalid weather in the morning.

Surprise, surprise, the weather had cleared on Saturday morning, although the tops were still clagged in. Everyone achieved their goal. Some went down to Blackwater and laboured in the peat hags, others cantered over to Loch Treig for the views or to bag some munros, Charlie headed up Ben na Lapp looking for a Swiss Army Knife he lost back in 1994. Steffen celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by joining Ellie, JD2, Jacques and myself up Ben Alder. It was well below freezing with hard-packed snow and no view, so no change there.

As usual, the food on the Saturday evening was excellent, with only a moderate excess, apart from Jacques’ spaghetti, the remains of which we managed to weave into a continuous carbohydrate chain sufficient to completely circle the loch in under an hour.

The theme this year was ‘Alice in Westerlands’, and the costumes were of a particularly high standard, with Alice, Mad Hatters, Queens and Knaves of Hearts, white rabbits, an Ace of Clubs (which is, of course, Westies) and other characters all represented. As usual, the young ‘uns couldn’t keep up the pace and fled to bed after an extraordinary rendition of the Music Man. This left the Simple Minds of Christine, Helen, Charlie and I to sing and dance to I Promised you a Miracle, Glittering Prizes and Alive & Kicking.

Next morning we were up bright and early (well, all except Charlie) and after a fry-up, we all headed out on a beautiful, clear day to soak up the scenery. Snow-capped peaks could be seen from Ben Nevis across to the Cairngorms. It was an unbeatable day out, only spoiled by the mandatory afternoon game of Sardines which we were forced to play back in the common room.

Still, if nothing else, it allowed us to have a good whinge at the end of yet another brilliant weekend.

Thanks to Steffen in his penultimate act as social convenor for organising another splendid outing.

Now for next year, Fiona, please can we have an Ann Summers theme for dressing up?

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