by ScottishLeaf » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:53 pm
Route description: Meall Ghaordaidh from Glen Lochay
Munros included on this walk: Meall Ghaordaidh
Date walked: 02/02/2013
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 9.6 km
Ascent: 895m4 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).
Since my usual walking partners were otherwise detained, I would be solo walking and opted for a straightforward hill they had both already climbed. Better still, it was only about an hours drive away from Stenhousemuir. Perfect!
Meall Ghoardaidh, a munro, gets a less than thrilling rep. It's one of the easier hills to walk, up a long broad ridge that even has the courtesy to rise up in giant steps, so even the steep bits aren't that long. Put a wee bit snow on it and you've got a transformed hill.
After a careful drive along Glen Lochay I was booted up and ready to walk by 9am. The start of the route is well marked with a large green sign, just after the pretty big hump back bridge over the Allt Dhuin Croisg.
I'll presume the spelling on the sign is a local alternative version
The route follows the landrover/quad bike tracks across a grassy field before a proper landrover track is reached. A style is crossed to side of a locked gate and the view down Glen Lochay towards Creag Mhor etc is a great. The view across Glen Lochay towards Dun Garbh Beag is also pretty.
The good track begins to head past the hill, rather than up it, so when a large pole was seen on the hillside I struck off up the slope.
From here there didn't seem to be any single clear path, but a multitude of small grassy tracks crisscrossing their way up the fairly steep slope. At this point I caught up with two walkers that had been just in front of me and ended up walking with them the rest of the day. So in good company we trudged up the featureless slope, but awed by the beauty around us. Views up and down Glen Lochay were splendid, but they were out gunned by the Tarmachan Ridge behind us.
The cold temperatures overnight had frozen the ground, but it looked as if it would be squelchy rather than outright boggy as the patches of ice gave testament too.
At about 500m in height we started seeing of first snow patches and by 600m we had crossed the snowline proper.The snow compacted and mostly took our weight, only the occaisional footstep sinking right in.
At roughly 650m the gradient eases off and the climb becomes easier, on the flatter ground the wind had blasted the snow into forming an icy crust, so by a large rock I stopped to put on my mircrospikes. Shortly after Jack and Alistair, the two walkers I had met, stopped to go the full hog and dawn their crampons.
Back behind the sun was shining brightly on Ben Vorlich and fearsome Stuc a'Chroin, as I put on my microspikes, I was sure I could see all the way back home!
Once again the gradient picks up and a false summit is reached at about 1000m, the spikes and crampons had come into their own, the steepers slopes were a mixture of ankle deep then knee deep snow and ice.
From this second steeper section the views down Glen Lochay were marvelous, Beinn Heasgarnich, Creag Mhor, Ben Challum and I think Ben Lui all looking magical in their winter whites.
In the opposite direction the rest of the Lawerses were now visible as were the Glen Lyon 4.
Ben More and Stob Binnein's pointy summits were also highly visible.
The higher we got the views just got better and better, the corbett Beinn nan Oighreag look completely smoothered in it's snow coat and the ridge connecting it to Meall Ghaordaidh looked to be cornice strewn.
After the false summit another short flat section is crossed before the short final haul up to the summit.
As I approached I waved to all the lucky people flying high overhead on their route to somewhere nice, like Edinburgh lol
The views were breath taking, but so was the wind! As we hit the summit a gale blasted us and unfortuneately it was blowing straight into the wee shelter around the trig point, so we sheltered down on the leeward side and grabbed the usual pictures from the top. The views seemed endless, half the tops of Perthshire and beyond seemed to be visible. Even as far away as The Ochils, Pentlands and The Paps of Fife.
I played around with my iPhone and took a couple of panoramas as well. My phone's camera just didn't do the view justice though.
By now the wind was chilling us to the bone, I normally don't feel the cold too much, but touching things was becoming painful. Time for the gloves and to make a cool, sharp harp.
We decended just to the west of where we ascended and found a place out of the wind. Using an ice axe we cut three snow chairs out of the hillside, sat back and enjoyed lunch, happy as larry!
We sat for a good 20 mins, enjoying the fab weather and views, trying to identify as many of the hills we could see as possible before the wind managed to find us in our sheltered spot. Less than an hour later we were back at the style, having taken a slightly more direct route down the lower grassy slopes.... which was where my right leg went thigh deep into about the only non-frozen boggy bit on the hill! It wasn't too bad though and I was soon back at the car for a change of clothing anyway.
From here, it was a quick pit stop back to Stenny, before heading off to Kirkcaldy, home of the fabled Geordie Munro and the evil Fife Flyers as they took on Edinburgh in The Forth Derby.... just don't ask me the final score!
by ceaser » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:15 am
by quoman » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:57 pm
by Rottiewalker » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:24 pm
by ScottishLeaf » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:33 pm
It was another top day out on the hills.
Defo a good winter hill this one.
by rockhopper » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:10 pm
by jonny616 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:30 pm
by ScottishLeaf » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:53 pm
jonny616 wrote:Nice one SL. Did this in the snow as well but saw hehaw Did some serious sledging on the way down though.
Do you know I actually said that to the two chaps I walked with. Johnny would be sledging like mad down here! Then they asked if you were 10! lol
Rockhopper, the views are probably the redeeming feature of this one. The hill itself is relatively easy, but the views were fantastic. You'll need to go back on a good day.
Ceasar - Am no telling you the score, save to say it was bad, very bad.
- andy millar1