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3 out of 4, nae photos and a broken trekking pole..
by bobble_hat_kenny » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:41 pm
Munros included on this walk: Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)
Date walked: 03/03/2012
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 14.5 km
Ascent: 1250mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I hadn't been a proper walk since mid-January and was getting a bit stir-crazy. Thankfully, Andy C & myself managed to identify a mutually free Saturday - a rare occurrence - so we decided we'd have a look at the classic round of four in North Glen Lyon. The weather forecast didn't look promising - basically dreich, dreich, dreich (isn't that the name of a band or something ) - but it still looked potentially do-able.
In retrospect, I suppose we had three things against us: we set off far too late for a short day in what was basically still winter; plus the weather was pants; plus I was well out of condition from a combination of recent family stresses (nuff said ) and also from not having done any walking for six weeks ... All the same, it was still an enjoyable day out, even though having to go back sometime to do Carn Gorm on its own now is a bit galling.
We parked in Invervar, at the handy wee car park down the side road on the right just past the telephone box (driving down the main Glen Lyon road from west to east). The estate has put up a notice board here with info about deer-stalking activities etc - fortunately we seemed to have a green light for today .
We decided to attempt the round anti-clockwise, as the initial ascent is a bit less steep that way. All the same, Meall nan Aighean (a.k.a. Creag Mhor) still seemed like a surprisingly long plod up. These four are higher hills than they look, and the starting point is only about 180 metres above sea level I think. Excuses, excuses - anyway, I was peching away and generally finding it all rather hard work by the time we reached the summit environs, in thick Clag with driving sleet and a surprising amount of snow underfoot. After a bit of moseying about we identified a cairn; presumably the summit ... however, there was some doubt as this is a double-topped hill with a slightly lower west summit. To check we were on the right one, we went a bit further east where it quickly became evident that there was nothing other than a big downhill slope ... looked like we had Aighean in the bag at least, then .
The weather was truly foul though, and we had lost a bit of time checking that we were indeed where we thought we were. We tramped down through the snow and picked up what we at first optimistically thought was the continuing path to Carn Mairg - however, as we emerged from the Clag and checked our compasses, it was quickly apparent that we were just at the top of the path back down Aighean . Thankfully we hadn't wandered too far off course, and we were able to just traverse round Aighean's NW slopes to reach the bealach with Carn Mairg, where we stopped for a bite of lunch. There was a huge herd of deer just at the bealach - nice to see a hill live up to its name again; Meall nan Aighean is "Hump of the Fawns" .
Carn Mairg's summit was now intermittently visible through the Clag, and was looking more impressive than we'd anticipated, even aspiring to pointiness ! It was actually a surprisingly steep plod up through the snow-covered boulderfield to the east of its summit environs (the path apparently finds an easier way up to the left i.e. west, but we'd lost the path in the snow so just had to do the best we could): we had to cut steps in the snow for a bit, and were feeling all rugged and suchlike by the time we arrived (pretty knackered, in my case anyway) at the summit cairn . At this opportune moment, the Clag lifted properly and we actually got some quite nice views, particularly south to the Lawers group of hills. Shame I didn't remember my camera ...
The next section, along the long grassy ridge to Meall Garbh over the intervening Top of Meall a'Bharr, was quite a slog. A line of old iron fenceposts arrived to keep us company. Meall a'Bharr had a small summit cairn that was decorated with a few of these iron posts. Meall Garbh has a similar but much bigger cairn, as we had read, and since the clouds chose this moment to descend again, we initially got a bit over-excited and thought that we had already reached Meall Garbh. Unfortunately, on plodding on a bit further through the thickening Clag, we found a small lochan in a slight dip - as Andy quickly pointed out from consultation of the map, this is the only lochan in this vicinity and it is very clearly located in the bealach between Meall a'Bharr and Meall Garbh - D'Oh ! To add to my misery, one of my trekking poles chose this moment to get solidly wedged between two rocks, and then to snap in half when I tried to get it out ... We plodded on uphill, with snow underfoot again and some truly nasty weather, to eventually reach Meall Garbh's unexpectedly impressive summit cairn - a huge pile of stones festooned with broken old iron fenceposts, looking like a particularly impressive Tate Gallery installation ...
At this point, I decided that I'd had enough and was calling it quits - I was really pretty knackered by now, and was worried that if we pressed on to try to bag the fourth Munro of Carn Gorm, we'd just run out of daylight and end up stumbling down in the dark ... Andy reluctantly agreed, so we set off through the mist, first east and then due south (some good map-and-compass practice at least ), to descend Meall Garbh's steep but grassy south ridge back down to some shielings and the path down the east side of the Invervar Burn.
Once down at the path, the weather lifted a bit and we got rather nice views back up to the snow-capped and fairly pointy Carn Gorm and the rocky wee intervening top of An Sgorr ... ah well, another time . However, the walk back down the path was extremely scenic, with the tumbling burn showing off a bit, and some nice wee waterfalls. We got back to the car just as the daylight was beginning to fade - looks like we had made the right call for once in bailing out on the last hill.
All the same, I'm glad we went, and we were happy enough to have managed three out of the four in what turned out to be pretty poor weather, even if we did go home (Carn) Gorm-less.
by jonny616 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:46 pm
by rockhopper » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:09 am
by Bod » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:44 am