Easter Sunday Teanga tango
by BlackPanther » Tue May 06, 2014 2:50 pm
Route description: Loch Lochy Munros from Kilfinnan
Munros included on this walk: Meall na Teanga, Sron a'Choire Ghairbh
Date walked: 20/04/2014
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1250m3 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).
Easter Sunday was the last of the "big trio" of days with fantastic climbing weather, so we didn't waste time and travelled to Kilfinnan, to tackle the Loch Lochy Munros. They have been on our radar for a while, yet we never got around to doing them. After two days of long 30km routes, this one seemed shorter and easier, but as it turned out, these two gems are pretty steep so the cost us just as much sweat and effort!
We used the northern approach because the starting point is closer to Inverness, but also because we heard about access problems from Gleann Cia-aig. We visited this glen a few days later (on the way back from another climb in this area) and it has been bulldozed right through, lots of fallen trees blocking the path... definitely the northern approach is MUCH BETTER, even if one has to wait longer to see the views.
We started from Kilfinnan, where there is ample space for a few cars on the grassy roadside. The day was beautiful, so -so-blue sky again, and my heart was jumping up and down for another superb climb!
The first stage of the walk, through Kilfinnan Wood, was very pleasant, on a good track. We left the Great Glen Way behind and continued on the upper forest track, with the pointy peak of Meall Dubh visible on then horizon:
The path into Cam Bhealach is marked with a wooden post, so hard to miss this one The path itself goes through the deep forest at first - the shade was very pleasant, as it was already getting scorchio-hot. What an April!
We started wrapped in windproofs, but soon had to stop to strip to t-shirts (mild mountain porn?) and as the climb up to the bealach is quite steep al the way, we were quickly boiling!
The path is obvious all the way, worn off by thousands of feet... A few short wet sections (where it meets small streams) but generally dry underfoot. Views at the moment were restricted to a narrow "window" between the steep sides of the glen, down to Loch Lochy and the forest below...
...and the slopes themselves creating a V shape above us:
Luckily, there are enough little streams pouring crystal water down into the glen, even if you run out of water. We counted a few people on the path above us and also more groups and single walkers following behind... It was going to be a busy day on the hills! But with perfect weather on a bank holiday, how could I expect anything else? I'm actually very happy to see loads of hillwalkers enjoying the great outdoors - we are obviously not as lazy as all statistics say!
Looking down Cam Bhealach from just below the col. At that moment I was only capable of spitting out one question: who turned the oven on???
We arrived on the col and took a short break to rehydrate and reapply sunscreen (the bl**dy UV was killing me!) and then decided to tackle the higher Munro first. it doesn't really make much difference as one has to go up-and-down both M's anyway, but as most of the crowd above us went for Meall na Teanga, we wanted to flow against the current and tackle Sron a'Choire Ghairbh first.
The steep wall of Meall Dubh looked intimidating...
...so we preferred to walk up the easy path up the other side. It was still steep though...
...but the advantage of steep slopes is that you gain height quickly and you can enjoy great views, like this, back to Meall na Teanga:
The western hills entered the stage, too:
The zig-zagging path makes the climb much easier and though it becomes sketchy higher up, the slopes are grassy, easy to climb. We sweated up, stopped plenty to drink more water, and eventually arrived on the ridge, between the summit and the lower top (908m), just to see Coire Garbh still holding on to a thick layer of snow:
Anyone up for a fried panther?
Views were next to none now, and I couldn't wait to see the full summit panorama! Kevin turned around and spotted no else than Mister Ben on the southern horizon!
To the north, no spectacular peaks, but the Loch Ness pano was breathtaking enough...
Ben Tee, good for a winter tea on the summit!
Looking south-east along the ridge and into Coire Garbh and so many white-topped mountains beyond...
Zooms to the weird snow shapes:
The Ben and MnT:
A wider perspective:
Pictures, videos, whatever... I don't climb hills to practice photography, I'm a hillwalker with camera rather than a photographer who likes climbing hills, but on a day like this it would be a sin not to record the views!!!
Summit cairn at last! The wind picked up a bit and it felt much colder here but just as well... I was fed up with the oven down in the glen...
A happy husband is every married woman's dream... I know the best way to keep mine grinning!
Sron a'Choire Ghairbh summit panorama:
We lazed about for almost half an hour, we had plenty of time and on such a great day who would hurry?
The ridge continues in NW direction with another corrie, called Coire Glass, and another top, Meall a'Choire Ghlais (901m). Beyond lies the western panorama, from Knoydart to Affric Hills:
The Loch Lochy Corbetts or should I rather say Arkaig Corbetts? Up until that day I was hardly aware of their existence. Now I had a close look at them.. Hmmm... Another target to climb soon?
Note the Knoydard mountains in the distance - the high conical shape must be Sgurr na Ciche:
Loch Quoich M's and South Glen Shiel Ridge. I have only done half of the latter, so I should return to finish the business!
A "snow window", I guess by now it would have melted. but I grabbed the opportunity to have a photo with this strange "snow sculpture":
NE towards the Monadhliath and Cairngorms:
We couldn't stay on the summit forever as there was one more Munro to bag, so we gathered up and moved on. Descending the zigzaggy path back to the bealach was the easiest part of this stage, then came the steep, punishing climb to Meall na Teanga...
Looking back at the zig-zags:
The col itself is a bit boggy but on the slopes of Meall Dubh we picked an obvious path, leading across the steep side to the final climb to the summit of MnT. We never lost the views:
We started bumping into the other groups (all those who went for Teanga first and were now crossing the col to add the second Munro to the list). One girl asked me with a big smile - any chance you are Black Panther?... I am really getting famous
It was nice to have met you, Heather
We chatted for a moment, I was a bit concerned about a snow patch higher up. We had crampons in our rucksacks but it seemed silly to put them on just to take 20-30 steps... Luckily, there was a good set of footprints made in the snow, they should help with the crossing.
We kept on climbing, steeper again and quite wet (melting snow I suppose), but I was desperate not to give up!
We crossed the snow patch carefully, it wasn't a problem at all. Kevin even stopped half way to take pictures:
Steep and slippery but manageable:
Past the snow obstacle, the rest of the climb was plain sailing, with views to die for:
Finally, a short walk along the ridge to the summit cairn saw us bagging another Munro!
Munro No. 126 and the sixth M' in 3 days. Some of you may shrug and say - baaaah I did more than that - but for me it was an achievement! If I was any good at dancing, I would do a Teanga-tango! Sadly, all I can do is panther-hopping-meowing dance
Looking NE with Loch Lochy below our feet. Still some snow on this side:
More Lochy views:
The next top, Meall Coire Lochain, with The Ben to the very left and Loch Linnhe on the horizon:
Some more summit views - enjoy
The inaccessible world of Knoydart, giving me a headache. Still loads of summits to climb...
The Ben - zoomed:
The whole Nevis Range:
Zoomed Loch Linnhe:
Meall na h-Eilde (one of the Lochy Corbetts as I call them) with the mind-boggling panorama behind. Moving from left to right:, Gairich, Sgurr nan Eugallt, Beinn Sgritheall, Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, Gleouraich & Spidean Mialach, South Glen Shiel ridge. Some long list of hills visible from Meall na Teanga on a good day!
We studied the Lochy Corbetts while sitting at the cairn eating lunch, both on the map and the "live" view. We both warmed up to bagging them (from above they looked easy) and decided to put them high on our to-do list. They didn't stay there for long, as a week later the Panther was meowing like a mad cat on the summit of Meall na h-Eilde... But it will be a while before I get to that story...
Back to Lochy Munros... Whatta day. No wonder I was reluctant to leave...
Zoom to Sgurr na Ciche:
We were alone for about 10 minutes, then another stream of walkers began to arrive, so we packed up and started the return walk. The views were still with us:
Crossing the snowpatch on the way down proved a bit more tricky than on the way up, but a walking pole was a great help to keep balance:
Looking back at Meall na Teanga:
Descending back to the bealach:
No problem on the way back except from the heat (but I was already getting used to it...) and our GPS going on strike. It refused to see the satellites so Kevin asked: maybe Russian spy sats are blocking the signal?
The tranquillity of Loch Lochy:
What a pair of Munros this was! A superb final to a 3-day marathon, but we hoped for more next week... And we got what we wanted if not more than that!... I felt like meowing again
My next story will take us to the Misty Isle, where some very steep, but magnificently beautiful lower hills gave us a day to remember.
by AnnieMacD » Tue May 06, 2014 4:55 pm
by pigeon » Tue May 06, 2014 4:59 pm
by scottishkennyg » Tue May 06, 2014 8:12 pm
by railton22 » Tue May 06, 2014 8:16 pm
by Gordie12 » Tue May 06, 2014 8:27 pm
A bit different from me peeps wise - I never saw anyone all day, had both hills to myself.
by BlackPanther » Wed May 07, 2014 11:49 am
by dogplodder » Wed May 07, 2014 12:23 pm
by heatheronthehills » Wed May 07, 2014 3:33 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Wed May 07, 2014 3:47 pm
by rockhopper » Thu May 08, 2014 8:13 pm
by Fife Flyer » Thu May 08, 2014 8:46 pm
You were so fortunate with the weather again, it really does make a huge difference if you can see where you are going, where you have been & of course other hills