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Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!


Postby Gordie12 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:10 am

Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit

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

Date walked: 11/10/2013

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 22.7 km

Ascent: 1298m

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The forecast was to be better in the West today so an early start for the drive up the A9 and over to Loch Laggan for a 9am start. As soon as I got out the car I could hear the deer from the South side of Loch Laggan - this was to be the constant theme of the day, what a fantastic sound.

There was a bit of low cloud around but it was looking promising for a good day.

Followed the track that runs parallel with the road as it passes the large whitewashed building and I seem to be following the red pine martin track for the first part of the walk.

1.jpg


At an obvious junction I took a right turn and started heading uphill towards Carn Liath.

2.jpg
Leaving the red track


It didn't take long to reach the cairn marking the point where a narrow track heads off uphill as the climb starts to get steeper. The track was a bit boggy as it headed up Na Cnapanan (it probably wasn't that damp, it's been such a dry summer I've forgotten what some of these tracks are normally like). I found this climb to be the hardest of the day, it was good to get out of the trees and on to the open hill as it felt like I was finally starting to make some progress.

3.jpg
Looking down to Loch Laggan


4.jpg
Looking over to Munro's 2 & 3 with the Window in between


5.jpg
A bit of low cloud blowing through


6.jpg
An iced up cairn on Carn Liath


7.jpg
Loch Laggan


The views from the top of Carn Liath were really good so I hung around for 5 minutes before heading West towards Stob Poite a'Choire Ardair. The summit of the next two Munros still had the summits covered in low cloud but it seemed to be slowly lifting.

8.jpg
Cloud lifting


I wasn't sure how to tackle Uinneas Min Choire, I knew WH recommends following the fence posts but I preferred the far left hand side as the climb up the other side looked easier. Not sure if my choice was correct or not, either way it's a short sharp climb.

9.jpg
Sron Coire a'Chriochairein


11.jpg
Munro 2 getting closer


The last section to the summit of Stob Poite a'Choire Ardair is an easy gentle climb, a nice break after Unnneas Min Choire.

12.jpg
A bit of snow on the ground near the summit


13.jpg
Summit


With the cloud clearing, the views are fantastic.

14.jpg
Looking over to Creag Meagaidh


15.jpg
Summit cairns


Looking over to Creag Meagaidh with the snow on it and the rock faces, it looks really fierce and imposing. I was half way down from the summit towards the Window when I finally could see the route I would be following.

16.jpg
Wow..........more snow on this hill


Another steep climb as the track zigzags up Creag Meagaidh but it doesn't take very long before the slope levels off a bit and Mad Meg's cairn could be seen. There's a couple of inches of snow underfoot and it feels a bit weird to be walking in the white stuff again.

17.jpg
Mad Meg's cairn looking towards the summit of Creag Meagaidh


From the cairn it's a short 5 minute walk and the third and final Munro of the day is bagged.

18.jpg
Summit


This is the first time I have been walking west of the A9 (except for the Munros immediately to the West of the A9 - if that makes sense?) and so most of what I was looking at was unfamiliar to me. The views from this summit especially on a clear crisp day like this one are just staggering. I pointed the camera in loads of different directions with absolutely no idea what I was photographing, all I knew was that I was so lucky to be on this hill on this day.

19.jpg
?


20.jpg
??


21.jpg
???


Sadly, it was time to leave the summit and retrace my steps back down to the window.

22.jpg
Mad Meg's cairn again, this time looking East towards Munro's 1 & 2


Once on the downslope of the Window I was pleased to see that the boulders weren't frozen but that feeling was short lived when I realised how tricky this boulder section is. I took a couple of dives on the way down but both had good landings so no damage done. It was a slow descent and if I return to this area I'd probably prefer to climb the Window. It was good to get clear of the Window and I celebrated with a drink of freezing cold water out of the burn running down next to the track.

23.jpg
Cliffs above the Window


24.jpg
Lochan Coire Ardair with Loch Laggan in the distance


Lochan Coire Ardair with the dramatic cliffs circling high above is just a special place but the angle of the sun made it impossible to get any decent shots. There followed an easy walk down the glen and with the cover of the hills and the sun on my back it felt quite warm in the afternoon sun. The track is good underfoot making for a fairly quick walk out.

25.jpg
Heading down the glen


26.jpg
Heading down the glen (2)


Suddenly I was back at the cairn marking the track leading up to the first Munro of the day and in another 15 minutes I was back at the car.

This has to be just about the best six and a half hours I have ever spent in the hills. Wonderful, just bloomin wonderful :D :D :D :D :D
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Gordie12
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby litljortindan » Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:24 pm

Looks like you had a fantastic time there. How nice to get the first snow of the year on a sunny day.

I was lying down on my stomach reading your report -partly the result of an innocuous seeming slip on the Cobbler. So watch them slips!
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:23 am

Yip it's a fine walk this and a nice day you for it too. I did the same route as you but agree it would be better done clockwise. :D
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:12 pm

No doubt this is a brilliant walk and in these conditions superb. Great pics.

Even if you ddn't know what you were taking pictures of, at least when you walk up any of the others in the vicinity you'll recognise Creag Meag, it can be seen for miles around !! :D
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby The Rodmiester » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:43 pm

Geordie, pity I slept in, but got something done none the less a wee Graham south og the Bunroy campsite, (bloody cold Friday night). Think there was more snow on Meagaidh than the Ben, certainly not as much on the Saturday that's for sure. Good circuit and report on a fabulous day, but the pick of the days was Saturday!
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:36 pm

litljortindan wrote:Looks like you had a fantastic time there. How nice to get the first snow of the year on a sunny day.

I was lying down on my stomach reading your report -partly the result of an innocuous seeming slip on the Cobbler. So watch them slips!


Yeh, I know. One of these days I won't be so lucky :(

I was trying to figure out if that was your back injury but I don't suppose you'd be lying on your stomach :?
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:39 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Yip it's a fine walk this and a nice day you for it too. I did the same route as you but agree it would be better done clockwise. :D


HI JC - Next time I fancy just going up to the lochan in the winter as I think that would make for a really good walk (and I could just leave the Window to others).
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:41 pm

spiderwebb wrote:No doubt this is a brilliant walk and in these conditions superb. Great pics.

Even if you ddn't know what you were taking pictures of, at least when you walk up any of the others in the vicinity you'll recognise Creag Meag, it can be seen for miles around !! :D


Hi spiderwebb

The one thing I did realise when I looked around me on Creag Meag was just how many hills I still have to walk :shock:
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:43 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Geordie, pity I slept in, but got something done none the less a wee Graham south og the Bunroy campsite, (bloody cold Friday night). Think there was more snow on Meagaidh than the Ben, certainly not as much on the Saturday that's for sure. Good circuit and report on a fabulous day, but the pick of the days was Saturday!


Hi Rod

Hope the clean up of the Ben went well - just a pity it needs to be done!

At least you got a Graham in after your late start.
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby SMRussell » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:51 pm

Looks like a top day in the hills. Love this circuit. The views are wonderful and the Window is breath taking. Some excellent photos :clap:
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:01 am

Miss Megi in white, wow, she looks amazing!

This must be one of the most enjoyable Munro circuits in entire Scotland. I did it in summertime, on a sweating-scorching day, but what a walk. Must return to climb these three in winter conditions :D
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Hill-loving lady » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:11 am

My visit to these 3 mountains 2 years ago just now, really sparked off my love for the mountains again after being absent from them for way too long. A memorable day indeed!

The forecast for that day was to be a 'light dusting of snow' - I seem to remember it being up past my knees actually - the start of a LONG HARD winter, which meant of course that I didn't get out much for several months as I didn't have the gear nor the experience for winter walking...how things change! I'm really looking forward to getting out in the white stuff again this winter.

You had a fantastic day for it - and all those mountains you still have to climb? Just think of all the fabulous days ahead while you explore them :D

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Graeme D » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:15 am

Good stiff Gordie. Same route as I did less than a month ago, except that back then, although there was a cold wind blowing across the exposed tops, there was no hint of snow. Things seem to have moved on a bit in the space of four weeks! Agree about the descent through the Window - ascending it would be a lot easier.
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:11 pm

SMRussell wrote:Looks like a top day in the hills. Love this circuit. The views are wonderful and the Window is breath taking. Some excellent photos :clap:


Stunning day and seems to be a really popular walk this one.
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Re: Creag Meagaidh Circuit - Winter's Coming!

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:13 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Miss Megi in white, wow, she looks amazing!

This must be one of the most enjoyable Munro circuits in entire Scotland. I did it in summertime, on a sweating-scorching day, but what a walk. Must return to climb these three in winter conditions :D


HI BP

Miss Megi in white was a bit of a surprise :shock: Not what I was expecting but made the walk even better.
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