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A fine round of Creag Meagaidh - Ptarmigans and wet bums

A fine round of Creag Meagaidh - Ptarmigans and wet bums

Postby Bean » Sun May 31, 2015 6:18 pm

Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit

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

Date walked: 30/05/2015

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1100m

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With mum and dad back from 6 years in Australia and keen to get back to their munro's we decided to do the classic round of Creag Meagaidh.

creag meagaidh circuit map.JPG
Our route - The classic round.

Not an area we have been to much before but it is in Poucher's Peaks so we knew it was worth a visit.
We set off from the Aberarder carpark at 10.30 having driven up from Glasgow and Mum/Dad from Aberdeenshire. I was a bit apprehensive by the 8-10 hour time frame and wondered if we would make it round before dark! We need not have worried!
Weather looked a bit iffy as we set off past the youth hostel and up the valley along the edge of a young brich and rowan forrest. We were looking for a path on our right which would lead us up towards the first summit of the day; Carn Liath but somehow missed it :? so walked up the valley to underneath Na Cnapanan and then just took a bee line up through the heather slope, hard work and slow going but otherwise not a problem. Up on the col we joined a rough path and followed this through many false summits to reach the summit cairn.

Finally joining the rough path after a slog up the hill.

On way up to Carn Liath, decent route down ridge from Sron a' Choire in the background!

Once at the 1st summit a nice long ridge presented itself. We were walking directly into an icy NW wind but the forecast had it to ease during the day. Excellent views into the corrie.

Setting off from Carn Liath, lovely walk along the ridge towards Meall an t-Snaim. Summits of the round in cloud.

Further along ridge following the old fence line towards Stob Poite Coire Ardair.

Dad reaching Stob Poite Coire Ardair, second munro of the day.

Once at the 2nd munro we descended steeply but without difficulty towards the top of the 'window' for a nice sheltered lunch. After refueling we set off again up onto the summit plateau of Creag Meagaidh.

Avoiding the cornice's along the edge!

Heading towards the summit.

Dad off in the distance making sure he gets all the tops done.

Once on the plateau a beautiful snow ridge lead up to the summit of Creag Meagaidh, lots of foot prints already made which was reassuring. It looked a bit scary but after a little bit of encouragement from my seniors we stepped out along it. It was easy and lots of fun in the end.

Well trodden snow ridge to the summit.

Alistair coming back along the ridge, not scary for some.

Then it was a nice easy walk across the snow (not many foot prints this way) over to the ridge leading up to Sron a' Choire. The other tops we could see to our left were beautiful and looked enticing. Dad was keen to get to the rest of the tops but a 40 minute detour was voted out by mum :crazy: Weather improving all the way!

A group picture near the edge of Coire Ardair, admiring the beautiful cliffs and in awe of the scary looking winter ice routes!

We even heard before we saw a small avalanche on the slopes above the lake, and could see lots of mud and rocks on the snow where many had been before.

Dad pointing out the 'window' and alternative descent route into the valley.

A beautiful and easy late afternoon gander down the final ridge.

We followed the ridge coming down off Sron a' Choire right to the end along an easy and stunning path.

photo 4 (1).JPG
Large bank of snow on way down, Alistair practising his winter skills. We did not have to cross this.

On route we were lucky enough to cross the path of a pair of Ptarmigans, Alistair almost tripped up on the male. They then proceeded to try sneak very slowly and deliberately trying to to be noticed. Allowing for time for a good photo!
Ptarmigan, 30May15, Creag Meagaidh - Copy.JPG
A male Ptarmigan trying to sneak past us unoticed through the heather.

Beautiful views as we picked our way down, lots of ruffage to hold on to and soft moss underfoot.

Mum and dad doing well, loosing height quickly.

In the distance we could see the larger path on the left of the river winding out of the glen. We aimed for a grassy path on the right of the river. This was pretty wet underfoot, lots of wild flowers and a few slipper dippers..........

Dad having had a spectacular slip, hmm not sure we can go out for dinner now!

Milk wort.

We were not sure if we would have to cross the river to join the main path but happily the grass road lead us right down the glen through a beautiful wood at the bottom and out to the car park - very easy.

Overall an great day of walking and a stunning place. Despite initially seeming like a very big undertaking time and distance wise the walk was easy with no technical difficulties, once up on the ridge we made good time. The small of snow was no problem and we made it down in 8.5 hours with plenty of time for an excellent pub dinner in Newtonmore. Highly recommend the walk and the Glen Hotel!
Posts: 53
Munros:68   Corbetts:9
Grahams:6   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:7
Joined: May 31, 2015

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