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Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna


Postby Fife Flyer » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:57 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall na Fearna

Date walked: 16/12/2014

Time taken: 3.8 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 730m

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Trip number 46 for 2014 and probably the last one.
This was a last minute outing purely because there looked like being a decent weather window and as Meall na Fearna was the closest Corbett, that would be my target.
The forecast was for a less than 5% chance of rain, a bit breezy with a temperature high up feeling like -12c, but us walkers can cope with that :lol:
So off I set at 7.45 was hoping to meet Geo (munromadmen) at the parking area on the south side of Loch Earn as he was planning to walk up Ben Vorlich. I had anticipated arriving at the parking area for 9am but after the usual heavies and Tuesday morning drivers held me up, I was 10mins later than planned :(
I noticed Geo's car parked so I kitted up and set off at a nice brisk pace, mainly to keep warm :lol:

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Parking area with a rather nice backdrop

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The road back to St Fillans, Geo's car parked nice and early

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Ben Vorlich looking very appealing


The route up Meall na Fearna follows the well trodden track up to Vorlich, once across the wooden bridge the track splits into two, I was heading left which would take me down Glen Vorlich. Once on the 'new' track the surface underfoot got a bit squidgy, this all changed once I reached a nice new wooden bridge. The surface was icy which wasn't too bad going up, I was making a mental note of the conditions in anticipation of the descent which I knew would/could be fun :lol: The bridge itself was like being on Kirkcaldy Ice Rink (where Fife Flyer's play ice hockey), not that I have been to the rink :lol: I had to hold on tight to the handrail as the bridge was on a slight slope and I would have been across the bridge on my backside :lol:

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Nice new bridge, the start of the ice rink


As I got slightly higher the icy surface changed to snow patches which was fine initially, however as the snow got a bit deeper that made the path invisible, so I was now blazing my own trail. The weather was superb, bit blowy and cold but the visibility was excellent and I could see my target so it was just a matter of picking what hopefully would be the best and easiest route :lol: The whole of the walk is dominated by Ben Vorlich on the right hand side and it's ever changing shape 8)

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Was this 'munromadmen'?

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Looking back down to Loch Earn

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North

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Zoom of 'munromadmen' marching up Vorlich

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Vorlich looking fabulous

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Loch Earn from higher up

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Confirming snow on the hills to the north

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Vorlich with the moon just above the summit (if you look closely)


If you look at the OS map you will notice that the approach to Meall na Fearna has lots of undulating humps and bumps, the final approach to the foot of MnF is covered by a large expanse of peat hags :roll:
As we all know peat hags is not the best terrain to walk over, however I was very fortunate, snow and ice covered the area. I still had to be very careful because I could hear ice cracking under my body weight, so I was using my poles to great effect. I was concious that I could easily be knee deep in either snow, mud or water - snow I don't mind and that did happen a few times, but mud and water yuk :lol:

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Stalagtites on peat hags

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More bits of ice

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More ice, snow & water before it freezes over

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Peat hags in their best form

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No path to lose this time


Once the peat hags were conquered safely I was then surveying the way up to the summit, there are a few craggy bits and the going got quite steep, but I knew it wasn't far now so I soldiered on to the summit.
The summit was a small pile of rocks, I was going to put a snowball on top but the snow was too powdery and not suitable for snowball making, so making a snowman was never going to happen :lol: :lol:

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Small pile of rocks, otherwise known as the summit cairn

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Vorlich and the 'other' ridge

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Meall na Fearna nice rounded summit


The views from the summit were superb, however it was a tad chilly, so I found a sheltered bit out of the wind and drank ALL my coffee :lol: Took a few photo's and then headed to the edge of the summit and made a mental note of what looked like the best way down and across the peat hags :wink:
I even surprised myself and found myself walking across the snow in the footprints I made on the ascent, I can assure you it wasn't planned that way :lol:
The only problem on the descent was the icy section, as we all know going uphill on ice isn't much fun but downhill is a nightmare, so I opted to wade through the heather. The only dangerous bit was crossing the wooden bridge, it was worse going back because it was sloping down and as soon as I put one foot on the wood I almost ended up on my rear end, so great care was taken :roll:
The descent down the track is very pleasant as the views of Loch Earn are excellent, arrived back at the car in just under 4 hours. Was surprised not see Geo's car there, so guessed he didn't tackle the Stuc :lol:
Great day and that was probably the best sort of weather tackle Meall na Fearna :clap:

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Ice lolly anybody? Never seen, or noticed this phenomina before, walking poles turning into ice lollies!


Probably my last outing of 2014 :( :(
Wonder what's next :wink:
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:25 pm

Nice one FF, a good day to finish off 2014.

Sounds like a definite winter hill to help with the bog factor - was thinking about doing this one from Glen Artney but not sure now.

Might try it this weekend but at the moment it sounds like pretty strong winds are forecast.
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby PeteR » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:41 pm

:mrgreen:

I've had this hill in my sights for a while now, but have been put off by the bog factor WH suggested. Very jealous to see you having such a great day on it :lol:

It definitely looks like a great winter hill though :D Hoping I get a day in the next few weeks like you had for it :wink:
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:36 am

Gordie12 wrote:Sounds like a definite winter hill to help with the bog factor - was thinking about doing this one from Glen Artney but not sure now.

Might try it this weekend but at the moment it sounds like pretty strong winds are forecast.


This is definitely the time of year to tackle this one :wink:

PeteR wrote:I've had this hill in my sights for a while now, but have been put off by the bog factor WH suggested. Very jealous to see you having such a great day on it :lol:

It definitely looks like a great winter hill though :D Hoping I get a day in the next few weeks like you had for it :wink:


This hill is right up your street Pete, no better time to head to Loch Earn :wink:
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:13 am

Good report Martin, that also is one of my nearer Corbetts so very much in mind just now! The most dangerous part being the frozen bridges I guess, bet was a grab on for dear life :lol: :lol: Just checking your Hill outings this year, impressive stuff! and catching me up at a rate of knots I see :clap: :clap: Have a cracking Christmas and New Year :)
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:12 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Good report Martin, that also is one of my nearer Corbetts so very much in mind just now! The most dangerous part being the frozen bridges I guess, bet was a grab on for dear life :lol: :lol: Just checking your Hill outings this year, impressive stuff! and catching me up at a rate of knots I see :clap: :clap: Have a cracking Christmas and New Year :)


Thanks Rod, hope you have a great festive period too :wink:
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby rockhopper » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:04 pm

Can be hard work when you're first through the snow but good result in the end - must keep this in mind for the future. Forty six trips is some going - about two to three years worth for me ! - cheers :)
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:31 pm

rockhopper wrote:Forty six trips is some going - about two to three years worth for me ! - cheers :)


Thanks RH, the joys of being retired and available when the forecast is OK :lol: :lol:
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Re: Trailblazing on Meall na Fearna

Postby MunroMadMen » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:54 pm

As per the norm Martin, great report with some outstanding pics, love the pics you managed to catch of me on my solo lol now using one as my cover pic on FaceBook ;)

Pity I missed you though at the car park would have been good to get another climb in together, this was also my last of the year but looking forward to getting more winter climbs in, be good to get out again so keep in touch m8, done Vorlich (Loch Lomond) with Chris & Andy the other week, they speak highly of you mate.

Have a great Christmas & New Year and I'll see you soon for another day out on our Mountains (Ice Axe & Crampons) :)
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