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(April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

(April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!


Postby jwramsay » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:11 pm

Route description: Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc

Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 01/04/2012

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1230m

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Sunday 1st April 2012, April Fools day, was the end of the nice weather so I set off on my lonesome to finish off the remaining munros I'd to do in the Lawers Range - An Stuc (1118m), Meall Garb (1118m) and Meall Greigh (1001m).

I parked up in the lower carpark at the Ben Lawer's hotel at 10am and wandered down the road turning left at the distinctive Horner craft shop to ascend up the daffodil lined road, past the farm and onto the well signposted route through the quaint forest (protected at either end by deer fences and styles) onto the open moorland. This area has some brilliant wildlife, I saw a pair of goldfinches and a long tailed tit. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if there were red squirrels in there.

View of the daffodil lined farm road:
Image

Always nice to be shown the route:
Image

The excellent walk through the woods:
Image

Keeping initially to the right of the river Lawers you have to decide whether to proceed clockwise by hitting the grassy sloped Meall Greigh first or anticlockwise by heading for An Stuc first. The former means ascent of the steep An Stuc face, the latter the descent. I'm glad that I chose the latter, but I do think ascending An Stuc would have been easier than descending it.

Having completed the Curved Ridge and the Aonach Eagach Ridge both in Glencoe last year, I thought An Stuc would be a piece of pie! (more later!!)

Follow the high path on the right and it drops all the way down to the river, where you cross at a wee bridge to zig zag up a well defined path which skirts the left hand side of the river, gaining height until the wee dam at the end of the Lochan is met. Follow the left side of Lochan Nan Cat to the end where a steep grassy climb gets you up to the high beallach between Ben Lawers and An Stuc. A nicely eroded path leads you right to the summit of An Stuc and the great views over to the Glen Lyon 4 as well as back to Ben Lawers, Ghlas, Tarmachan Ride and across the valley to Meall a'Choire Leith and Meall Corranaich. At this point Ben Lawers cleared of clag but that wasn't to last long!

The beallach to the left of An Stuc:
Image


Looking down towards Lochan Nan Chat with Meall Greigh in distance:
Image

All of a sudden Ben Lawers summit is almost clear:
Image

Ben Lawers (in Cloud again), Ben Ghlas and Meall Corranaich:
Image

Stuchd An Lochain and Loch An Daimh:
Image

I approached the edge of An Stuc where the scramble is and got an uneasy feeling in my stomache, as I couldn't even see the path, just where it obviously summited some 10 feet in front.

Descent of An Stuc and ascent of Meall Garbh:
Image

Being on my own, the thought did cross my mind about retracing my steps, but I decided to give it a bash. I stowed the walking poles and camera equipment and ventured to the edge, where the drop became apparent. There were well defined routes down so I just went for it. A combination of hands and feet scrambling facing inwards peppered by a bit of bum sliding now and again. There was one tricky bit with lots of rock but the holds were fine. After that I got the camera out and took a few photos and some video.

View up from halfway down An Stuc:
Image

View down from halfway down An Stuc:
Image

The worst was over, it was now just a bog standard steep descent using the poles to the bottom of the beallach between An Stuc and Meall Garbh. The descent was only 400 feet to 3200 feet according to my altimeter watch.

Looking back at An Stuc:
Image

The clag was moving in and by the time I reached the top of Meall Garbh there was no sign of An Stuc! I continued down the long descent which folllows the fenceposts and then started the easy ascent up the 3rd munro of the day Meall Greigh.

Meall Greigh dead ahead:
Image

... just follow the fence posts:
Image

The summit is reached, a look back to the first two munros:
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After summiting, I started the descent onwards back towards the Ben Lawers Hotel where I disturned a pair of breeding birds. No idea what they were, thought they were plovers of some type but no match can be found - anyone?

The descent directly towards the Ben Lawers Hotel:
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Nice view down to Loch Tay:
Image

Those breeding birds, male (left), female (right):
Image

Looking back across river Lawers to the zig zag ascent:
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A view back to the first two munros, with that initial beallach between Ben Lawers and An Stuc the gap:
Image

Those two hurricanes we had over the winter period have a lot to answer for:
Image

The descent is quite steep but very easy going and you are back at the riverside and that lovely forest walk in no time. Down the daffodil road and back to the Ben Lawers hotel to pay for your parking my means of a well earned pint!

A final look back to the 3rd munro of the day Meall Greigh:
Image

And back at the car at 7pm at the Ben Lawers Hotel - after 9 hours of walking:
Image

Truely a great walk indeed, and dead chuffed to be bagging a trio in April.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby Peter913 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:18 pm

Well done Jim on this trio

Nice images there and report

Peter
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby Peter913 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:18 pm

Well done Jim on this trio

Nice images there and report

Peter
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby BoyVertiginous » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:01 pm

You can say that again, Peter. :wink:

Sounds like you weren't far behind us, JWR. We were at the Ben Lawers Hotel for our pint at about 6pm, but the van's already away from your pic. The An Stuc descent was interesting to say the least, the track forks and not sure if you took the left (more direct!) route down or the right which the half of our group who went that way seemed to find very slightly easier (less call for use of the derriere). Whichever, well done on going it alone.

We did Lawers and Ghlas as well so, I'm going to do a short report later but the clarity of your pictures do it more justice than mine. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby jwramsay » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:35 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:You can say that again, Peter. :wink:

Sounds like you weren't far behind us, JWR. We were at the Ben Lawers Hotel for our pint at about 6pm, but the van's already away from your pic. The An Stuc descent was interesting to say the least, the track forks and not sure if you took the left (more direct!) route down or the right which the half of our group who went that way seemed to find very slightly easier (less call for use of the derriere). Whichever, well done on going it alone.

We did Lawers and Ghlas as well so, I'm going to do a short report later but the clarity of your pictures do it more justice than mine. Thanks for sharing.


Yeah, your group was just starting to hit the bottom as I peered over the top. I'd say I stuck to left.

Well done on the 5! I'd already done those 2, so only needed the 3 but the 5 looks a great route if you have 2 vehicles!!

A lot of the fun is gone in solo scrambling as you like to share in the good or dodgy holds.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby lomondwalkers » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:00 pm

Great report JWR :thumbup: I still have the 2 end ones to do, but fancy adding An Stuc on as well, so nice to see what to expect. Cheers :D
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby 2dalmatians » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:55 pm

Great pics there jwr Your narrative mirrors my own thoughts about an stuc, although I went up the east face instead of descending which I think is probably easier. Didnt have a view either so the exposure was minimal. How does this compare to the aonach eagach in terms of "squeaky bum" factor?
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby jwramsay » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:54 pm

2dalmatians wrote:Great pics there jwr Your narrative mirrors my own thoughts about an stuc, although I went up the east face instead of descending which I think is probably easier. Didnt have a view either so the exposure was minimal. How does this compare to the aonach eagach in terms of "squeaky bum" factor?


The curved ridge is the easiest as it's all uphill.

Aonach Eagach is harder due to the descents and the exposure either side.

This is actually OK on descent and I'd image much easier going up, to my mind the easier of the 3. Just daunting at the start of the descent I'd say.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby jmarkb » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:32 am

I think your mystery birds are Golden Plovers! Often heard before being seen: their call is a loud, almost mechanical sounding "peeeeep".
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby jwramsay » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:43 am

jmarkb wrote:I think your mystery birds are Golden Plovers! Often heard before being seen: their call is a loud, almost mechanical sounding "peeeeep".


That's the one! A longish monotonic "peep", I thought it was my mobile phone at first!

They do look like plovers, so we'll agree that is what they are then.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby BoyVertiginous » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:21 pm

jwramsay wrote:
jmarkb wrote:I think your mystery birds are Golden Plovers! Often heard before being seen: their call is a loud, almost mechanical sounding "peeeeep".


That's the one! A longish monotonic "peep", I thought it was my mobile phone at first!

They do look like plovers, so we'll agree that is what they are then.

Thanks for clearing that up, I heard them on the latter part of the descent off Meall Greigh and saw at least one in flight but the light at the time meant I was unable to see any of their markings.
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby jimandandrea » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:03 pm

Excellent report with good photies. :D

I remembering dreading An stuc after reading all the walking guides but we were lucky enough to have deep hard snow filling the gully which meant we could get a decent hold with crampons and ice axe.

Andrea
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:37 pm

Absolutely lovely JW, what a great hike over wonderful country. Fine photos and video and at 720p provides great detail, loved it :D
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby quoman » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:01 pm

Good report JWR i dinny fancy coming down An stuc.

we went anticlockwise with these hills had every kind of weather that day 4 seasons in one hour. not a day :lol:
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Re: (April) Fools don't take An Stuc lightly!

Postby Fcfraser » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:22 pm

Glad I wasn't only one that got stook on An Stuc! Just as my poor Labrador!... He is still having nightmares! :lol:
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