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Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter


Postby spiderwebb » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:13 pm

Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Grahams included on this walk: Creag Ruadh (Dalwhinnie)

Date walked: 08/12/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

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So glad we went on Wednesday rather than the next day and we thought we had wind on the ascent. Originally was working on a rtn trip to Drumochter with Tomsie having been bitten the previous week while out with Hill Loving Lady, beaten by wind that day too and whilst deciding, Rocket Ron also was off same day and had yet to do this one along with the 'Corbett' Creag Ruadh, so the plan was set, pick up Ron from Tesco's and meet with Tomsie at Aviemore for 0800.

Fair bit of snow lying en route down the A9 but arrived at Layby 94...

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The walk in was fairly easy given that the local gamekeepers had already been busy up and down in the 4wd and made good progress along the aqueduct to the power stn and bothy.

The Munro above Tomsie and Rocket Ron with the 'Corbett' on the left !

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After leaving the bothy behind the path takes a subtle left towards a small bridge to pick up a track (which was barely visible through the snow) as it ascended up the flank.

View back to the bothy before the ascent....

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View back to the bothy before ascent


Having been hit by some snow showers/blizzards on the walk in when it wasn't looking like the weather would be on our side, it was a pleasant suprise for the clouds to lift as we ascended and apart from the wind which was a bit heavy on the up, resulting in my stopping for balaclava, mittens and snow goggles, slow progress was made.

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Looking back over the route in from about athird of the way up


And some indication of the wind looking south as we ascended.

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wind !


The ascent was sufficient for me to realise that I was never going to match Rocket Ron's stride as my repeated futile attempts to follow in his footsteps through the deep stuff continually failed, next time I'll tie his legs together to shorten it a bit !!

Summit reached and still the weather held giving some impressive views all around, apologies but I didn't make a mental note of which way was which so I'll leave you to sort yourselves, suffice to say it was still windy but eased somewhat from the ascent, thankfully.

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Summit Meall Chuaich


and the views....

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west ish !


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The descent down north from the summit proved interesting ! having struggled to fit into Rocket Rons footprints on the way up I decided to follow both RR and Tomsie as they broke ground on the descent, before we'd gone too far we hit the first scramble. Now anyone who has done this walk or read the WH description is probably thinking 'scrambling' must have missed something, these hills are pretty tame. Well given hands and knees were used on several occasions to extricate ourselves from the deep stuff I'm gong with Tomsies view " does this count as scrambling " ...it was the only way to make progress :lol:

I didn't catch a photo of the technique in action but Rocket Ron demonstrates the reasons behind it here ...

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and a close up...was hoping to get a shot of RR's Paramo all singing all dancing trousers but not a lot showing here...I could have waited and got the arse end as he crawled out on all fours !

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Them poles ain't gonna help either !

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After some fun and fairly steep stuff and deep stuff coming down a welcome reprieve at the end of the loch with the 'corbett' looming behind. Originally studying map I'd thought about a diagonal ascent to take the pressure off but in the end we opted to follow the fence straight up the side to get it out the way quick and onto the ridge, especially as the weather had been kind, hence the views would still be there.

However, it was some pull and the deep snow made it slower. Tomsie resorted to plan B and went for the diagonal approach as Rocket Ron and Berghaus Boy carried on up.

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Break time at the lochan


and the reascent ...nearly there I can see the posts disappearing !! By this point Tomsies Plan B had resulted in difficulty due to some bouldery slopes and he'd messaged to Rocket Ron he was dropping down to the lochside track and out !

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reascent nearly there !


Topping out to the ridge Phew...

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Don't look down...I did think to myself maybe the ice axe should be out but a combination of thinking the snow being fairly soft and hence I should grind to a halt plus my readiness to make a grasp for the fence should the worst happen, it stayed on the pack and the pole sufficed.

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Don't look !


Once on the ridge it was fairly straightforward along to the summit, initial view back down where we saw Tomsie in the distance just pass the bothy.

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Rocket Ron breaking ground and approaching the last bit of deep stuff requiring the new aforementioned scrambling technique again !

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The summit was reached at whch point Rocket Ron decided to come clean and tell me that this Corbett was in fact a Graham !!! Wots a few hundred feet between mates ! So now I've started my Graham count as this was the first !! Can't believe I've only hit 3 or 4 Corbetts and 1 Graham in all my trips !!

From the summit the route out was clear, we decided to follow the path of least resistance, snow wise, and rejoined the route in to then follow the track back out, rather than head straight to the layby,,wise move methinks.

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And as the sun set.....

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the moon rose !

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All in all a cracking day despite doubts with the weather as we set off and thanks to Rocket Ron for starting my Graham count !
Once we'd changed down back at the car I was aware of a strange smell....it was me...in fact all of us, amazing how damp you get under that clobber !! No photos of the offending bits ! :lol:

Swiftly off back to Aviemore where we parted from Tomsie hoping his route home would be open !!! :D
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spiderwebb
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby spiderwebb » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:18 pm

Don't ask but seem to have RR close up at the end of the report too !! Doh ! :lol:
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby rocket-ron » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:45 pm

cheers dave i enjoyed reading that
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby Hill-loving lady » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:51 pm

Kinda pleased I was at school - think i'd ave disappeared in those deep patches. Looks like a great day Spider. Fab pics - notice a lack of dogs... :lol:
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby Tomsie » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:59 pm

Brilliant report Spiderwebb, so good you'v just being nominated to do future reports congratulations :lol:
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby doogz » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:18 pm

Good effort lads

Very similar to my jaunt up the Munro minus the drifts however

Nice crisp pics too

Cheers
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:36 pm

Fantastic report Spiderwebb!

You boys certainly had a memorable day out. I'm so jealous, would love to have joined you. Good idea about binding RR's legs together, just need to gag him as well ( won't have to put up with his cheek!) and he'll be perfect!

Your photographs are fab too! X
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby AlisonFox66 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:45 pm

I wish i had picked that hill, I might have had some footprints to follow

Instead I did An Bhuideaneach Beag yesterday


usually a really easy hill , but the powder was really deep.
The weirdest thing was the spindrift around my ankles all day giving the impression of being on a moving path .
Like you , a few attempts wre made at 'swimming' across deep snow to avoid going in too deep and often it was a matter of picking out the visible vegetation to be certain i was ok

reached the summit , but getting late so decided to descend due west to the road following the fence posts
mostly ok , except that at a few points finding safe snow was tricky and the last steep descent scared me silly
I once fell into a snow-covered pothole on Ben Challum so i am very wary of this sort of thing
got to the road at 3.30 ish and was lucky enough to hitch a lift south with a very nice van driver who was amazed anyone was out on the hills in that weather

saw no humans on the hills but lots of hares

seem to be unscathed except for a couple of very stiff fingers from the cold
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby rocket-ron » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:00 pm

pollyh33 wrote:
Good idea about binding RR's legs together, just need to gag him as well ( won't have to put up with his cheek!) and he'll be perfect!


Come on am not that bad am I :D :D :D
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:30 pm

Er yeah!!! I'm just jealous of your fitness!!! X
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby rocket-ron » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:31 pm

there is no fitness trust me am a lazy boy :D :D
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby tomyboy73 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:07 pm

excellent report, looks like you all had a great time. i think i`ll be heading up that way early next year. i had a wee go at that "scrammbling" the other day too :lol:
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby malky_c » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:14 pm

Possibly the best report I've ever seen for Meall Chuaich :D

I don't fancy any of that snow wading, but I may do this route over Christmas if I get a chance. I'd like to do Creag Ruadh but it seems a bit short on its own. Good views from the summit though 8)
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby spiderwebb » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:28 pm

Hazel, we'd have dug you out ! Dogs came out the day before just up by Loch Droma and spent most of the time trying to get snowballs off their legs...they both rattled as we came back, but wouldn't take them when its this deep, probably wouldn't have pleased the gamekeepers either with so many grouse about...Holly has caught a pheasant before now although didn't know what to do with it when she had. We know she can't outrun a hare !

Rocket Ron wots this cheek ?? PollyH, merry banter was had much of way. I was thinking I could slow you down by having a few beers in Inverness the day before a walk, but I'm sure that would have too much of an impact on me so no net gain !! :lol:

As for Creag R, I think it would make a pleasant walk on its own especially this time of year, a route in via the loch to the inlet and straight up, the way we went, back along the ridge....good views if you pick a good day. Reminder to myself to look up some of these Cornbetts and Grahams when planning any Munros.

As i said good job we didn't go today we all be in Scandanavia by now !!
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Re: Scrambling on Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Postby rocket-ron » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:35 pm

Dave i did have a few beers night before. :D :D Both hills make a short day out. Thats why i thought combine the 2. But going up Creag Ruadh from the north side of the loch was rather steep
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