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Munros at last: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh

Munros at last: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh


Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 28, 2015 3:18 pm

Route description: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh from the Ski centre

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a'Bhuiridh

Date walked: 09/05/2015

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 1116m

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We haven't done any new Munros since the eastern Fannichs four, mainly due to weather being... well, disappointing to say the least. We concentrated on Grahams, enjoying shorter walks on easier hills with great views :D But with a short, sunny spell on Saturday the 9th, we decided to "go big" again and add two new M's to our statistics.

The problem is, we are running out of Munros within reasonable driving distance. The best weather was forecast for Fort William - Glen Coe area, but with snow still covering the highest ridges I didn't feel confident enough to tackle Aonach Eagach. So the choice was made to climb something easier - Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh. The lower slopes of Meall a'Bhuiridh are full of skiing clutter, but once on the first summit and away from the ski centre, it's said to be an excellent if short ridgewalk. Ha! Something to sharpen my claws on! :lol:
Needless to say, our route wasn't anything too daring, just the classic traverse of the two M's as described by WH:

Track_CREISE 09-05-15.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


It was a lovely morning, blue sky and not too cold, though there was high cloud forecast for early afternoon, but I kept my hopes high. It can't go wrong, pleeeease...
The Big Buachaille and Beinn a'Chrulaiste from the starting point:
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When we arrived at the Glencoe Ski Centre ski centre car park at White Corries, it was quite busy, as some kind of mountain cycling event was about to take place, we saw a long line of cyclists cueing for the chair lift, but we were not going to cheat (no cheating in my case - just panthering :lol: ) and set off on the eroded path.
As we slowly made our way up, I heard one of the lift passengers say: "See, this is how we should be doing it, on foot!"
:lol: :lol: :lol:
The right way to do it:
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Ski centre from above and the chair lift overloaded with cyclists:
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I was worried that the cycling event might mean crowds on the slopes, but luckily the bikers stayed on a circuit above Coire Pollach and over the 748m top, so we didn't really cross each other's paths :D
The path is eroded and wet in places, a bit of a slog, but once we emerged on less steep ground of Coire Pollach, we tasted the first bite of lovely views around and smiles appeared again :D Even the ski paraphernalia seemed to blend into the landscape:
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Earlier as we started, we decided to leave crampons in the car. Now I wondered if we didn't actually make a mistake, as there was still a good layer of snow covering Stob a Ghlais Choire:
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To avoid running into the cyclists, we crossed the shallow bowl of the corrie just to the right of the upper ski lift, hopped over a few small streams and boggy puddles, and marched up a large snow patch to join the main path again at about 750m. From above, the corrie looks like a bogfeast:
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Already, fantastic views opened up to the north, with Ben Nevis taking the centre stage:
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The Easains looked very graceful:
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...and we could admire The Face from a new angle:
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The whole panorama from Stob Dearg to Beinn a'Chrulaiste (surprisingly steep-looking from this side!), with the Mamores and Nevis on the horizon:
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The way up was simple, some soft snow to negotiate, but easy going:
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Rannoch Mor always impressive:
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High cloud, as forecast, began to gather even before we reached the first Munro, but apart from maybe taking away some good light for photos, it didn't do us any harm. The world around was still fascinating:
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The game of light and shadows over mountain tops, Aonach Eagach in the far distance:
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Looking down the ascent route (and the unnamed low top) from near the summit of Meall a'Bhuiridh:
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Even the distant hills looked relatively sharp today. No sign of that annoying haze in the air, spoiling views sometimes even in early spring...
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Summiting came without any surprises :D The top of Meall a'Bhuiridh is marked with a large cairn, perched very close to the almost vertical drop into Corrie an Easain. It may be a Munro wit little character on its own, but the panos from here are breathtaking, we spent some time clicking dozens of photos.
My 167th Munro in the bag. I'd love to reach 182 this year, to be able to say, I'm only 100 away from the finish line! So far, I've got 12 left to do to reach my annual target. Time will tell if I get there as planned.
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The landscape as seen from Meall a'Bhuiridh - south to the Black Mount country:
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Zoom to Loch Tulla:
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I'm not confident in naming mountains on the southern horizon, as I haven't even started climbing them :roll: but they look amazing!
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At least I recognize these, that's south-east to Ben Lawers and colleagues!
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Of course, Nevis Range was the pano of the day!
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Having spent more than enough time on landscape photography, we had a quick snack and started to descend to the col between Meall a'Bhuiridh and Creise. We had a good look at the infamous ridge joining the two Munros as we first emerged on the summit of the first one, and my initial thoughts were - Dear Lord, it looks awfully steep!
Yes, from Meall a'Bhuiridh, the view of ascent ridge to Creise might come as shock! Especially with snow still lying on the higher ground. This ridge is known to be prone to cornicing and it could be a problem in full winter conditions, but we were in luck, the cornice has melted away enough to make the traverse possible without winter gear.
Panther still a bit uncertain:
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Another good look at the connecting ridge and we noticed there was enough bare rock on it to avoid most of the snow:
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I was very impressed by the deep cut of Cam Ghleann:
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Meall a'Bhuiridh from the col between the two Munros:
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As we stood just below the final climb, now it looked much less steep and nowhere near as scary as from the other summit earlier on! I was eager to try the giant staircase behind me!
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Clach Leathad and cornices just below the ridge:
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We tackled the final slope without hesitation and soon I was in my element, scrambling over rocks and boulders, giggling and meowing, so much fun! I don't know why this ridge scared me so much earlier? Devil not as black as he's painted? Definitely in this case!
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Kevin spent time taking zoomed pictures of nearby cornices:
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Can you spot the Panther?
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The final 20m or so are the steepest and as we wanted to avoid the unstable snow patches, we had to put our hands on the rocks, but it was very easy scrambling and soon I was running on snow to reach the main ridge:
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The top of the connecting ridge is marked with a large cairn, and it also marks the beginning of a completely different world - no more steep slopes, no more rock to clamber over, just a long, flatt-ish, rocky area, with stunning views in every direction:
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The summit is only a short stroll away:
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Panther besotted :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Bidean nam Bian now clearly visible:
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10 min later... Posing on the summit with Meall a'Bhuiridh behind:
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View south to Clach Leathad and the connecting ridge:
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Ben Starav and Ben Cruachan group behind - lots and lots of climbing left!
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The southern end of Buachaille Etive Mor:
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Ben Nevis and the arete:
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According to all guides, the first (southern) cairn on the long ridge of Creise is the true summit, but we were tempted to walk a bit further, to the northern one, hoping for better views down to Rannoch Mor. It's a short stroll and we had more than enough time:
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A large, grey cloud appeared suddenly and cast some dark shadows around - pictures came out interesting to say the least - like this one, looking back to the true summit from the northern cairn:
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Glen Etive panorama once again:
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Big Buachaille and Nevis Range:
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Just amazing...
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We spent far too much time on the summit ridge of Creise :roll: but we wanted to enjoy the day to the full, which meant another 350 photos (more or less) :lol: Despite the sun come and go, I liked the way the cloud gave the landscape some "naughty attitude".
Kevin getting ready to go after lunch by the northern cairn:
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The return walk was uneventful, we had absolutely no problems negotiating the rocky traverse back to Meall a'Bhuiridh. Just more fun. We met a few walkers scrambling up to Creise, so we were not the only people to claim the two Munros that day, but we were first!
On a day like that, you'd rather be on a mountain than anywhere else!
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Five minutes rest on the climb back up to the first Munro:
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Not scary at all now!
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We took another break to watch a trio of skiers we met earlier on, they climbed the Creise ridge but didn't bother going to the summit, went straight for Clach Leathad, looking for a good place to ski down. A bit risky, as snow was very slushy and unstable, but they managed all right. Kevin and I are not skiers, so what can we tell about skiing risk anyway :roll:
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Too close to the cornice?
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Before we returned to the car, I kept glancing at Ben Nevis and Carn More Dearg... Maybe this year if time and weather allow... But the 2015 wishlist is soooo long...
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We took a lazy pace descending from Meall a'Bhuiridh, using snow patches to make walking easier. We spent 6.5 hours on the two Munros, but out of this only about 5 hrs walking, the rest was faffing about with cameras :lol: Kevin said he preferred this duo in late spring, with some snow on the high ridge. It added "flavour" to Creise and MB, he said, and I agree with him here. We didn't need crampons in the end and though our GPS said over 1100 m of ascent, it didn't really feel that much!
More ambitious walkers would ascend Creise via Sron na Creise, and if doing these hills in summer I'd be inclined to try the more difficult approach, but for now the classic traverse was entertaining enough. Meow!

For my next story I'll be back to Graham bagging, with some singing in the rain :lol:
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BlackPanther
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Re: Munros at last: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh

Postby Mal Grey » Thu May 28, 2015 3:26 pm

Another good 'un. You ain't hanging around!
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Mal Grey
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Munros at last: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh

Postby Beaner001 » Thu May 28, 2015 4:50 pm

Funny the weird memories that others reports bring back, dad and me were descending the scrambly bit (Sron na Creise) when I got a text to say the Dons had beaten Kilmarnock in a football match a few years ago! Your report reminded me of that :-?
Your right, it's a nice wee ridge between the two :clap: :clap:
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Beaner001
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Re: Munros at last: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh

Postby highman » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:15 pm

I enjoyed reading this report the photos were amazing you are clearly good with a camera brilliant.
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Posts: 2
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