Creag Meagaidh - Redrock's 100th Munro
by Redrock » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:09 pm
Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit
Munros included on this walk: Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Creag Meagaidh, Stob Poite Coire Ardair
Date walked: 21/07/2011
Time taken: 9.3 hours
Distance: 21 km
Ascent: 1080m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Having had the pleasure of accompanying Bod on his 100th Munro - along with his wife Valerie - it was now my time to have a go of making it to the century myself - and Bod and Valerie were up for keeping me company this time. So the day was set and plans were made. The only trouble was that the weather forecasts earlier in the week, for the north, did not look promising - so I had a Plan A and a Plan B! Plan A was Creag Meagaidh and it's two near neighbours and Plan B was for Ben Starav and two of it's pals. But even on the Thursday morning as we set out at 6:45am the weather forecasts were contradictory - the Met Office said the Lochaber area would be brighter than most and MWIS said it would be duller than most. But we could be sure of showers! As we approached Perth the decision was left to me! Finally - within minutes of the Craianlarich turnoff I finally decided it would be Plan A - Creag Meagaidh - and we headed off up the A9 with a whisky tanker leading the way!
We set off from the car park at Aberarder just after 9am and soon Bod was leading us up the Coire Ardair path accompanied by Ritchie - who has a fine sense for spotting the side trails we needed to follow! The cloud was still covering the summits and I was wondering if I had made the right call - but we were on our way - there was no turning back!
It was Ritchie who spotted the small cairn and the trail heading for Carn Liath. Soon we were heading up a boggy path (or was it a burn?) in the direction of the wee hill of Na Cnapanan.
From Na Cnapanan the path become much drier and the way much more pleasant as we made good progress up the ridge towards the summit of Carn Liath.
On the way up the ridge we were startled by a small bird acting as if it was injured - trying to protect its nest of chicks! But it seems that the commotion attracted the attention of another feathered friend! A golden eagle appeared from round the side of the hill and performed a graceful and silent fly-by. That was a very special moment!
As we climbed we were chuffed to see that the cloud was lifting ahead of us. It was a clear Munro summit by the time we reached the cairn - my 98th!
After a pause for refreshments it was time to move on and, wonder of wonders, the cloud had lifted off the summit plateau of Creag Meagaidh! I was really getting optimistic about the prospects for the weather as we headed west along the ridge towards Stob Poite Coire Ardair.
It was a very pleasant ridge walk over a few tops and down a few dips. I checked out the tops along the way - and so did Ritchie.
Valerie and I decided we needed a little arête practice as we made our way along the ridge.
There are two cairns on Stob Poite Coire Ardair but the guide books all assure me that the western one is the summit (although my GPS didn't agree!). It wasn't a greatly impressive top, so it was time for a quick photo and on with the journey! But the name sounds impressive! My 99th!
The views down to the lochan below were quite a sight to see! It was well worth the walk to get there!
But now it was time to descend to the Window and get ready to ascend Creag Meagaidh itself.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the Window is still at 940 metres above sea level. Bod had estimated it as 937 metres from his map - but the GPS said 941m. They agreed to differ! There was a spot or two of rain as we ate lunch at the window and I was anxious to get on, as cloud was descending onto the ridge behind us, whilst Craig Meagaidh was still clear. So we began the ascent!
Soon we were at "Mad Meg's Cairn" - that peculiar mound on the Creag Meagaidh plateau. Having studied geology I can't think of a natural explanation for this strange feature. It seemed man-made to me (but maybe ancient?). Perhaps it's an old burial mound. I've not seen anything in the literature to explain it - it's a mystery to me!
But this was not the top of the mountain! So it was quickly onwards with the summit in sight! As I approached the cairn it looked a wee bit crowded. There were three estate workers walking towards us, having driven up the mountain in an Argocat! But they soon veered away (fearing a madman, no doubt! ) as they saw me running ahead of Bod and Valerie, heading towards my hundredth Munro summit! (Bod has a video of this strange event - which I will post if I can figure out how to do it).
But then I was at the cairn - I had conquered my 100th! There really was a genuine feeling of elation!
It was time for a little celebration at 1130 metres! So it was out with my little bottle of sparkly and a quick toast with mountain friends!
By then, though, we had made a new friend. Stephen, from Austria, was having a quiet rest at the summit when all this began. Be he coped admirably and soon he was joining in too! We all shared another toast together - this time with Bod's Talisker! It was Stephen's first Munro but he had been up much higher mountains at home! So now we had an international party going!
Wonder of wonders - the sun actually came out and we had blue sky above us. I was really pleased to have summitted my 100th Munro on such a fine day! Stephen supplied the shortbread to complete our international gathering! Many thanks, Stephen, for adding to the fun. Have a great holiday in Scotland!
It was time to add my stone to the cairn and take in the view! I'm sure the stone will be gone by now - but hey!
On the way back Bod and Valerie (and Ritchie) found a viewpoint to admire Coire Ardair from above.
The descent down from the Window was rocky - to say the least!
But it was worth it to spend a little while at Lochan a Choire in Coire Ardair! We do like our refreshment stops, don't we!
I had reached my 100th Munro - it was a great feeling! And it was even better because the weather had stayed fair for us all of the day - the waterproofs had remained in the rucksacks all the time - even though we had seen showers come and go around us! And we had been at three cloud-free summits - even though they had all been in the cloud at different times as we had made our way round the circuit. We really felt blessed! It was great to share my Munro No. 100 with good friends Bod and Valerie (and I mustn't forget Ritchie - our pathfinder! ) And many thanks, Bod, for sharing your photos!
Okay, it has taken me almost 35 years to get this far (I climbed Ben Nevis - my first Munro - in September 1976) but I've climbed 29 so far this year, so I'm on my way. 100 was my target to complete by the end of 2011 - so I'm happy with progress so far!
The walk itself was brilliant with a good mix of climb, ridge walk and high plateau! Creag Meagaidh is an impressive and mysterious mountain with a great deal of character.
It was a great walk and a great day! Now I have only 183 Munros left to do!
by Jabber » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:14 pm
by pigeon » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:16 pm
by rockhopper » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:51 pm
Love the "arete practice" and well done on getting the eagle photo
You mentioned Mad Meg's Cairn. Not sure if this is right or not but there's a legend that it marks the grave of a suicide in the 1700's - the church wouldn't let the woman be buried in the graveyard so her family buried her up on Creag Meagaidh.
by Bod » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:52 pm
by Redrock » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:40 am
It is a great feeling getting to the 100 - as some of you know! All the credit goes to Bod for the eagle photo, by the way! I stood spellbound watching it sail by - but Bod had his camera at the ready! It was quite a sight!
Interesting about Mad Meg's cairn, Rockhopper. It certainly sounds a likely explanation given how it looks and the history of the 1700s. It must have been some task for a grieving family to build it up there!
Your Talisker's safe with me, Bod. I'll have another nip when I reach 200! And another at 283 (or whatever the number is then!) Oh, and I might fit a Corbett in now and then too!
I think the eagle did the flypast to make it a special day for you
by gammy leg walker » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:19 am
by Redrock » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:26 pm
morag1 wrote: I think the eagle did the flypast to make it a special day for you
Thanks Morag - the eagle certainly added to the special feel of the occasion. A special guest appearance, Eh!
gammy leg walker wrote:Well done on reaching your 100th munro redrock ,looks like you all had some party at the top.
Munro Summit's are good places for parties, GLW. There's always something to celebrate!
by dooterbang » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:29 pm
Great hills to do them on, and you got splendid views.
Heres to your next 100
by BlackPanther » Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:41 pm
by Redrock » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:43 pm
dooterbang wrote:congrats on reaching treble figures - it sure does feel good
Great hills to do them on, and you got splendid views.
Heres to your next 100
monty wrote:Good walk. well done to the three of you. The weather looked excellent. We got no views so we certainly missed out. Congrats Redrock on reaching the ton
BlackPanther wrote:Congratulations on the 100th! What a fantastic mountain to celebrate the ton We climbed this trio clockwise, visiting Coire Ardair first and climbing up the Window, but I guess it's a lovely walk regardless of direction.
Thanks to all of you for your encouragement. The way the weather worked out was amazingly good! And the anticlockwise direction actually kept us in the best of weather. But the main reason we did the circuit anticlockwise, Black Panther, was so that we would be working up to Creag Meagaidh making the highest peak of the day my number 100! I had planned to climb these three last September on my own but the cloud was so heavy over the ridge that I decided to head for Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Teallach instead (still in cloud!) - so this was a really good return visit!
by redrook » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:14 pm