The sun is out, must get up the hills! This was my attitude, but in hindsight, I should have gone for a different set of munros. Energy was lacking quite profusely, and the heat made for a struggle of a climb, however, the rewards were worth it with spectacular views and the completion of the Lawers range.
The day started out hot, and the climb up through the heavily overgrown and muddy forest path took just 20 minutes, coming out into the open hillside where a quick stop to apply suncream was required. At this point I was beginning to think I was in for an unusually sweaty day for me, being that I had a long sleeved top on to protect a week old tattoo from sunlight.
The climb up Meall Greich was, as the walk description suggests, long and featureless. However, the views were stunning! The route I chose was the, "take a direct as possible line to the top" and it seemed to work well. The views to the west towards Ben Lawers and most impressively An Stuc were great, with An Stuc looking daunting from this distance.
I also knew I was going to be coming down the other side and attempting to head down towards the loch on my return, but from this distance it was difficult to see where I would come down. The summit provided fine views to the east.
The walk across the bealach of Lairig Innein, was muddy but enjoyable, and a bit of a relief after the long climb up Meall Greich. The ascent up Meall Garbh was quite quick, by this point I had got my second wind and was able to keep a slow, but steady pace. At the top, I took some time to take in the views, and ponder the impending climb up An Stuc. I packed my stick away in my bag, along with my phone from my pocket; didn't want to have anything falling out my pockets whilst scrambling up An Stuc.
The climb up An Stuc, was my first ever scramble and I must say, it was very enjoyable! I had met two guys on top of Meall Garbh who had come from the other direction and caught up with them back at the Lawers Hotel later. They had come from the Ben Lawers side and said the climb down the steep side of An Stuc was a bit hairy, and I can see why! The ascent however doesn't take long, and the sense of achievement at the top is great. Easily my favorite munro now, it's central position in the range provides an excellent vantage point!
The descent down the west side is easy enough, and contrary to my earlier thoughts, the descent down into the Lochan wasn't as tricky as it had looked from afar. Steep yes, but that is the nature of this whole round!
The ground around the lochan and back to the dam is boggy but not too bad, but once you're there the final descent back is fairly short and easy going. This was a great day out, even if I struggled somewhat, and the weather and views were perfect. I think if I were to do the range again, I would attempt to do these 3 as well as Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas in the same round. Although my fitness would need to be somewhat improved!
If you are doing the range like I did, splitting it into 3 routes, I would recommend doing it this way as the climb up the east side of An Stuc is excellent! If you don't fancy the scramble then do An Stuc after Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers, as from the west side the ascent is fairly normal with no dangerously steep parts.
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