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Chased off Creag Meagaidh at the End of a Great Day!

Chased off Creag Meagaidh at the End of a Great Day!

Postby mountain coward » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:32 am

Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit

Munros included on this walk: Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Creag Meagaidh, Stob Poite Coire Ardair

Date walked: 12/06/2005

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On our June Munroing trip in 2005, Richard and I did quite a few of the more restful (nerves-wise) mountains in Glen Spean. I’ve enjoyed all of them so far but Creag Meagaidh was definitely my favourite, both scenically and because it offered two grand ridgewalks in one day!

We parked up in the nature reserve carpark to notices everywhere saying they’d just had a huge fire on the hillside we had planned to descend and so that area was closed. There was plenty more to go at though so we set off.

There is a short walk through the nature reserve’s shrubs and birches – most of the path was boardwalk to avoid the bogs. While you’re savouring this, suddenly a cairn appears at the side of the path with a sketchy path heading uphill towards Carn Liath. The path gains height quite rapidly until it gets sketchy around a hillock. We went to the right of this and soon found it again. After the hillock, the path became just a long, steady haul to the summit cairn of Carn Liath where we had a quick break and hot drinks. After a quick chat with another guy at the summit, we set off along the ridge. It looked a long way to ‘the window’ of Poite Coire Ardair.
Creag Meagaidh from Carn Liath.jpg
Carn Liath-nature reserve below.jpg

By now it was a beautiful sunny day and we were pleasantly surprised how quickly the ridge flew by over various small summits. The views to the left were of the stupendous corrie at the head of the nature reserve and its lochan.
Corrie lochan from North ridge.jpg
I found the views to the right equally pleasing as there just looked to be miles of wilderness – just the sort of thing I like to wander off into... We looked down a gully on the left from one of the cols and were fascinated to see a huge chunk of icy snow (about the size of a chest freezer) just hanging there. The bottom had almost melted away and it was about to go crashing down the gully sometime soon – pity anything which happened to be under it when it went!
Gonna fall on someone!.jpg

We’d soon reached the shapely summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardair where I went to the edge to have a look at the lochan and have a closer look at the fantastic craggy wall of the corrie and take some photos.
Creag Meagaidh crags & lochan.jpg
Creag Meagaidh corrie crags.jpg
From there it was a short walk to ‘the window’. It looked like it would be a steep descent and ascent but the descent just went a long way along the descending ridge until it reached a height not much above the gap. There was a very short steep bit, the narrow gap, and then a firm scree path zig-zagged up the other side.
Creag Meagaidh above The Window.jpg
Poite Coire Ardair.jpg
'The Window'

When we got up the scree onto the far ridge, we were surprised to see the huge cairn there on a ‘tump’ of earth – Mad Meg’s Cairn. I didn’t know anything about it at the time but have since googled it – interesting stuff if it’s true... Creag Meagaidh itself is quite a way along the ridge after another slight dip.
Creag Meagaidh wilderness view.jpg

Instead of descending via ‘the window’ as many do, I’d been looking at the far ridge and had determined to do that as well as it looked nice. Also I would have quite liked to have picked up the far tops above the A86 but when I saw how far away they were I was sure Richard would revolt! There is a fascinating gully comes up through the corrie crags which looks do-able. It was full of snow and there was a huge snowfield above it even in June. I spent some time exploring this and getting a look down over the crags when suddenly I heard a rumble of thunder. I thought maybe it was just a jet or something so listened for a minute... but no, there was another and it was definitely thunder. As I’ve already been struck by lightning in the mountains, they’re no longer a place I will stay during a storm. I shot off to find Richard (who doesn’t have my fascination with June snowfields) and saw he’d heard it to and wasn’t keen to stay up there either.
Corrie lochan from south ridge.jpg

We must have broken a few records fleeing along the long ridge, descending over lower summits as we ran. Luckily it was great going and, being slightly downhill, was no effort, even to people like us who don’t run. As we got towards the end of the ridge we slowed to a walk and descended the steep grass back into the nature reserve. The by now wet boardwalking was a bit slippy as Richard found when he skidded and fell so we had to go carefully. Anyway as the thunderstorm had gone away to the north of us we were no longer in a hurry. So I took a few photos behind me of the corrie and we enjoyed the nature reserve once more back to the car.
Creag Meagaidh corrie from nature reserve.jpg
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
mountain coward

Re: Chased off Creag Meagaidh at the End of a Great Day!

Postby malky_c » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:40 pm

Nice to see these photos. These are yet more hills I've barely seen due to bad weather. Ended up losing my way between Meg's Cairn and the Window and making an impromptu tour of the high corries to the north of the plateau.
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Re: Chased off Creag Meagaidh at the End of a Great Day!

Postby ricardo » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:28 am

definately want to walk this after seeing your pics will wait till summer and hopefully good weather, dont fancy a lightning strike either. good report stunning scenery.
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Re: Chased off Creag Meagaidh at the End of a Great Day!

Postby mountain coward » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:18 am

Thanks... definitely one to do in good weather as there are just so many views as there are basically 2 separate ridges you can traverse. I found it all easy walking after the initial ascent too... :D
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