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Snowy Days in Glencoe

Snowy Days in Glencoe

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Dec 28, 2021 8:55 pm

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a' Bhùiridh, Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)

Date walked: 28/12/2021

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 2210m

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With all of the festive malarky we arranged to go away on Monday / Tuesday instead of our usual weekend slot. I'm sitting here writing this on Tuesday night, trying hard to remind myself that it isn't Sunday :lol: Anyway, the weather was kinder than I expected and we had a good two days up snowy hills in Glencoe. Hence the title.

For various reasons, I hadn't had time to get anything organised as to where we were going and what hills we'd be doing til after 9pm on Sunday night. When you plan to leave at 7.30 on Monday morning, that's not much time. The forecast was for clag, no wind and little rain, with temperatures at or below freezing on the hills. Allison has numerous Munros needing done relatively close to home - her Munro map looks pretty much like the reverse of someone living in Central Sotland, with almost all of the far away hills done and loads within a couple of hours radius from Glasgow still in the red. This weekend she also needed to get a couple of Munro Tops, as her first position in Hillbagging for Tops for the year had been equalled...So I thought we might do Meall a'Bhuiridh and Creise (with Tops) on Monday and something else, probably without Tops on Tuesday. In my ever hopeful heart, I had thought of tagging on the Corbett of Beinn Mhic Chasgaig to Creise, but I knew that time and available light would make that most unlikely. But you've got to hope...

2021-12-27_0932 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We set off on Monday morning, I was irritable and was looking forward to getting out on the hills - a Saturday and Sunday spent out of the wilds wasn't to my liking. We parked at the Glencoe Mountain Ski Cente, which wasn't very busy. I note there's a charge of £2, which I don't mind - but there was nowhere I could see to pay said charge. We booted up - after my escapade on Ben Vane on Xmas Eve where I elected not to take ice axes, today we were properly equipped. There were some people going up on the ski lift, which we didn't consider using for a second :wink: It all looked very claggy and murky, with no sign of snow from ground level. The footpath was a bit treacherous with ice and we had to pick our way through the glassy boulders. Up to the ski tow, where there was quite a bit of snow, a few inches deep on the ground. We were pleased to see sets of footprints heading up the mountainside ahead of us and also to not that we were rising above a cloud inversion. We could see four people ahead of us on the broad north ridge. On the final 150m I got my axe out, which was happy to find itself in my hand again rather than being left behind in the car. Up to the summit then the drop down the ridge into Coire an Easain. We parked ourselves near the bealach and watched those ahead of us going up the steep climb to Creise. The furthest ahead figure seemed to be having a lot of difficulty about 50m from the top. As we watched he descended - we wondered if he was with the other three, but no, he continued down and we passed him by as we set off ourselves. He hadn't been able to find a way up to the top of the ridge - having no crampons and having left his axe in his van. He made the correct decision to bale out though - good luck on getting your 50 if you happen to read this.

Icy path
Image3602C51E-E3A6-473A-BEA5-F9DD192DD234_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7466E8C3-E134-440A-BDE7-3188AFFECE06_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4E428B19-440F-439E-BC2F-F3634E1F3DAE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9D97D7F1-F0A1-4B7E-9745-05D421E05779_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Bhuiridh summit
Image5B0C9234-1D5B-4726-989B-28D79437BDB4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7C78A5F0-FE7A-4EA4-AC64-39B91CFE3437_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We continued after the other climbers who had topped out by this time. The final section was a bit steep with a considerable fall into Coire an Easain if you lost your footing. No cornicing however - this particular section is prone to cornice and scuttled one attempt we had made to go to Meall a'Bhuiridh from Creise when we went up the Sron. Anyway, onto the plateau. The clag was descending again as we walked over to the Summit of Creise where we met the other three folk, thanked them for their path making and set off for the north top of Stop a'Ghlas Coire which is just over a kilometre away. No-one else had been out there since the snow came. I was minded of the first time I was up here, descending very steeply down into Ghlas Coire - we wouldn't be trying that today :) Back to the summit of Creise we went, little flurries of snow coming down. From here we headed along the cliff edge towards Clach Leathad, which is further away (1.5km) but has much less height to lose/gain so seems shorter. It was really quite misty now, despite the attempts of the failing sun to burn through.

Creise summit
ImageA2712743-23D0-439B-AE4C-7080888E5F41_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Stob a'Ghlas Coire
ImageCF0899D1-589E-48F8-913A-C023BCB5F61C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image91FBF26F-3523-48AB-B311-B6D23F4508ED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Frosty beard
ImageA0FB81E5-7FD3-4F65-91FF-4DBEC95CE308_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image65C2F41D-3A82-4F70-8DAD-9DDEFF3941F6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We returned to the cairn at the 1070 point and prepared for the descent. I was grateful for the footholds the we and the others had made which provided an easier descent option than had it been untrodden snow. I was glad for having my crampons on as well as my axe as we descended that first steep section. Back up to Meall a'Bhuiridh then we followed the many footprints in the snow - it looked as though a lot of folk had either just come up to do the one Munro or been out for a wander from the ski lift. Darkness was falling by this time and neither of us was looking forward to descending on the icy footpath in the darkness. Allison noticed the lights of a car over by the ski tow buildings and reckoned there must be a proper road up there, despite nothing being shown on the map. We walked over and found an icy road, a bit rough in places, but easier than our ascent route even if it did head out to the east a bit more than we'd have liked. Back to the ski centre in full darkness and light rain. Allison was suffering from the effects of the day as far as her back and knees were concerned, not to mention her feet in winter boots.

Image5F2F3E60-D7F4-4B72-B75D-2D08BBCA20A0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Steep bit of descent off Creise
Image332B03F1-DB00-479C-81DA-720853BAD6FE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Bhiuridh
ImageFAC0F57B-07DB-4811-8EA6-FF5FA807C9F1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC20B1CEE-64A6-4B13-9676-636C0A4B76C3 by Al, on Flickr

Image0ADE9A6F-AEAF-4383-8999-B5D79CA7512B by Al, on Flickr

I'd decided we'd head for the back of the Kingshouse to camp it out tonight - to the same spot Id used when on my own a few weeks ago. I half expected it to be busy, but apart from a car that arrived after us and set up a tent, there wasn't anyone else around. Did get a bit of a fright around midnight when we noticed a flashing blue light up around where we'd left the car - presumably the police checking on something. We'd thought of two options for Tuesday - Bidean nam Bian or Buachaille Etive Beag - depending on weather and how Allison's various aches were when we woke up.

2021-12-28_0848 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It rained in the morning as we were preparing breakfast, clag was down and she was feeling sore, so a shorter day was in order. We packed up and headed off for The Study car park, arriving about 8.30 I suppose. A few cars already there, some walkers ahead of us. It felt quite mild, the air still. By the time we'd climbed to about 500m on the track, ice had started to become a problem - flowing sheets of it. We used the grass beside the path initially until I decided it was jaggy friends time - what's the point of carrying them if you don't use them? And a slip on that icy path could result in injury. With crampons fitted it was a breeze walking over the ice. We headed for Stob Dubh first of all, crunching on the icy/snowy surface. Going by the number of footprints in the snow it had been a busy hill yesterday (and would be even busier today). We made it to the summit just as the clag was lifting, revealing first the snowy peaks of Beinn a'Bheither and Stob Coire Sgreamhach then more and more of the Etive hills. What a fantastic morning. We lingered for a while at the top then headed off when it started to get a little busy. A wide variety of footwear/kit on show - including two young lads, one who looked like he was wearing desert boots and the other wearing trainers.

ImageCA6FE758-0EA0-4F77-98CE-ED2F02A63F51_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5676873A-B469-4BF5-B4A9-897400E14286_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5DA8A853-AFB7-40FF-9FE5-9D6E6DA5B7E1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image40E020A5-06D8-41E0-BB4C-B9D8D2C5A9B9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8A5997BE-7892-41C4-A29C-E8BC0BE639AB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Aonach Eagach
Image2DE59EBE-B0B9-4FA1-B617-823A735CF75D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We descended to the bealach - it was 11.45 - time for lunch or shall we lunch at the top of Stob Coire Raineach?We opted for the latter and made our way up to the summit, following an icy, but well trodden path. The top was quiet - one woman sitting away on her own on a wee outcrop, and another guy who arrived with a dog. We sat for a while, much longer than we usually do at a top - partly because it was so mild, with not a breath of wind, partly becasue it was such a pleasing view to feast upon. Looks like a lot of snow on the Mamores and the Grey Corries. None in Ardgour. The Ben was keeping its head in the clouds, but otherwise it was beautifully clear looking north. We eventually tore ourselves away and walked back down to the car, meeting a couple from Lincolnshire who were on their way up. The lassie was all excited because they'd seen a "reindeer" very near where they'd parked the van last night at Skyfall - this turned out to be a stag from the photo, and we suggested they take a trip up to Kinlochewe sometime and see "Pointy" the resident car-park stag there. Or even go across to the Kingshouse. But it's lovely to see enthusiasm about animals in the wild (or even semi-wild).

Stob Coire Raineach
ImageA545178B-28A9-424D-9BCE-9CF4A63FF257_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB75A7704-6452-4F75-974A-9BDB79EBB239_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image49136FED-DC0A-466F-88EB-5CE6B65A54D8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8652492C-AC1E-41B6-B487-7CD8FEF9D9C4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB75010E8-6959-4E87-9F1B-1CEB35F057AB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image26E8802E-34C3-4239-8371-0B0A657BA6C7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9DB0ADE0-7CF9-4011-89A6-483194B6FBBA by Al, on Flickr

On the way home the views were superb and I actually stopped by Lochan na h-Achlaise and we took some pictures of the Black Mount - I've looked at that spot so often driving past, thinking that (although it's such a cliched view) I really should stop, but never, before today, doing so. Lots of others had the same idea, the side of the A82 quite full of parked cars.

Image650B3FFD-68C2-4FFE-905A-7675B24FB7C9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAF32DE82-A0D3-4254-AF22-23CBF8E0992D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6ED3D890-13BD-48C0-8E96-257D673A8879_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image70D87544-4EFF-4E86-B24C-E24C172DBB46_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB6E82873-DE78-47FA-B669-C46160AC04EB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD08A9968-9616-4480-828B-80E408DAEEB9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr.
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