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Glen Lyon Tops
by weaselmaster » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:30 pm
Munros included on this walk: Carn Gorm, Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)
Date walked: 17/01/2015
Time taken: 7.08 hours
Distance: 19.7 km
Ascent: 1812m2 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).
Roads weren't bad, although a heavy snowshower driving up to Crianlarich made me wince a bit. The forecast was a good one though, for clear tops and little wind, so I knew it would pass. The trees along the roadside looked lovely, brocaded in white rime. Arrived at Invervar at about 9.45 and parked up near the phone box. I'd done the 4 Munros in Jan 13 and it had taken me five and a half hours, so even with heavier snow on the hills I reckoned I'd be OK for time - the Tops not being far from the main hills. Decided to take my snowshoes with me.
Due to the falling down nature of the building at the start of the walk, the route is now diverted to start at a gate just past the houses to the left of the phone box. Up through the woods and out into the open to find the Hydro Board busy with diggers and pipelines. I had intended to do the route clockwise, but the diggers being active on the path kinda put me off, and I was worried how much snow there would be on the eastern slopes anyway - decided to do the route anitclockwose and start with Meall na Aighean, meaning I could always return that way if the decent from Carn Gorm looked too chancy. Spotted a couple of sets of footprints heading up the new track and followed them up the left side of Allt Coire a Chearcaill . The snow was soft mostly and up to knee depth in places, so I put my snowshoes on. Haven't worn them since the start of last year and took a bit of getting used to especially going uphill. I could see the couple of guys whose prints I was following about half an hour ahead of me, but my greater speed on the shoes meant that I caught up with them at the summit of the hill. Unfortunately however I'd been walking in the snowshoes had blistered some of my toes and I stopped to bandage them up - you need to be quick with tape when you've got your boot/sock off at the top of a hill with significant windchill Didn't help that the tape was tearing into little bits Managed to cobble something together and set off towards Carn Marig and its companion, Meall Liath.
P1050473 by 23weasels, on Flickr
View to Carn Gorm
P1050476 by 23weasels, on Flickr
Carn Marig & Meall Liath
P1050480 by 23weasels, on Flickr
View to the Circuit
P1050481 by 23weasels, on Flickr
Most of the snow had been blown of Meall Liath, leaving icy patches. From the top I could see Schiehallion white and graceful over to the NE. I stopped for lunch at the cairn and looked over to Carn Marig, which looked like it was holding a lot of snow in the corrie the WH route uses. I decided I'd go over the rocks just to the east of that route. The snow here was very deep, to waist level or more and progress was slow. The snowshoes were no good trying to climb steep rocky sections and I removed them, strapped them back to my pack and got my axe out. Progress was now more reliable and my toes stopped hurting. Made the top of Carn Marig and gazed over the undulating white landscape to Meall a'Bharr- a top you can't really miss doing on the ordinary route as you go right over it. Snow was a bit crisper here, with lots of ice flowers on the rocks. Met a guy at the top of Meall a'Bharr who had come up Carn Gorm and relieved my anxieties about getting down that way. Cheered by this news and no longer having the prospect of a much longer walk retracing my footsteps from An Sgorr I hastened off, with a set of boot prints to make the going easier too. A fogbow was present for much of the next hour, following me.
Carn Marig from Meall Liath
P1050484 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050486 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050487 by 23weasels, on Flickr
View back to Meall Liath
P1050489 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050490 by 23weasels, on Flickr
The route to Meall a'Bharr
P1050491 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050492 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050493 by 23weasels, on Flick
Approaching Meall Garbh I was feeling pretty tired. The snow had taken its toll on my muscles and I was wondering if I'd get down in the light. I would normally have nipped down to the ex-Munro Top of Meall Luiadhe but I didn't have the energy or the time for that today. Met another couple of folk as I approached Garbh - who warned me of the deep snow banks down by the forest on the way down. Made the top of Garbh, with its collection of fence posts rimed with frost and pressed on for the knobbly bump of An Sgorr. I don't know why I didn't do the tops when I was going the circuit originally - they don't add much effort.
Meall Garbh summit
P1050495 by 23weasels, on Flickr
A trudge up An Sgorr in the mist, with my glasses continually freezing up on the inside then it was just Carn Gorm left. I could see the pyramidal shape of the hill looming at me defiantly - so much more presence than when seen from the other way up. I harnessed the remains of my energy and set off up the slopes. Fortunately the snow was quite crunchy and made ascent easier than some of the other hills today. The sun was heading down over behind Carn Gorm, but brilliant sunshine still caught the hillside looking East back into the circuit, with fluffy coverings of cloud sitting over the tops.
An Sgorr top
P1050497 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050499 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050500 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050502 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050503 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050504 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050506 by 23weasels, on Flickr
After reaching the summit I was relieved to see that the wind had scoured much of the snow away from the first 400m of the descent. However in the 100m before the trees the snow deepened considerably and my progress slowed, virtually swimming through snow in places that was thigh deep. This was not pleasant after a tiring day, but it was easier in descent than in ascent and I did have other's footholes to step into if i wished. After a gruelling session I finally slid down the embankment towards the river, crossed the wee bridge and was onto easier track where the snow was only a few inches deep. Returned through the trees as the last light faded and got back to the car just after 5. A cold drive back home (-5.5 driving from Lawers to Killin) but incident free.
P1050507 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050509 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050511 by 23weasels, on Flickr
An Sgorr & Carn Gorm
P1050513 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050514 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1050515 by 23weasels, on Flickr
by Beaner001 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:50 am
by oldrayne75 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:12 pm
We did these hills (clockwise) yesterday. Took us best part of 8.5 hours. The first three hours of which was spent battling deep, soft snow and strong winds up Carn Gorm.
Also, we could have done with your 4x4 when trying to get our cars out of the car park
by rockhopper » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:19 am