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A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh


Postby jupe1407 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:42 pm

Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit

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

Date walked: 22/08/2015

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 21.7 km

Ascent: 1285m

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After months, in fact almost a year of rubbish swollen knees, my long running issue was finally diagnosed as a torn meniscus. "Sh*t" i thought. That'll be no more hills for the year then. I chanced my arm and asked my GP what would happen if i kept hillwalking with the response being "Probably nothing, but don't do anything ridiculous".

So, feeling reasonably fit after spending considerable time at the local gym I decided to take advantage of a brief weather window for the first half of Saturday, and settled on the Creag Meagaidh round. It seemed reasonable with (in my head) only a steep initial ascent to Carn Liath, and probably scree surf down from the Window to worry about.

As per usual, I left the house at nonsense o'clock and arrived at the Creag Meagaidh Nature Reserve not long after 8:00am. I faffed around longer than usual getting my kit sorted, compounding my original error of parking under a tree, near a loch, on a still and damp morning. Needless to say the swarm of midges motivated me to get a move on and i was soon on my way. Of course, being half asleep, i took the "Please use the path" sign on the gate too literally and ended up swinging out to the right of the reserve before re-encountering the actual ascent path. :lol:

The path in (the proper one) is really quite lovely once it passes a few buildings, crossing a wooden footbridge before arriving at an info board bit, which has fine views.

Creazg Meagaidh-1.jpg
Towards Carn Liath


The continues uphill at a reasonable gradient, with the views still excellent. The path is surrounded by the greenery of the ferns and purple heather. A really enjoyable wee section. There's then a shortish section through some woods, which presented my first decision. A tiny cairn on the right seemed to signify a path, although it looked like it would be a tedious boggy affair, with a few hundred yards to trees to negotiate. Sod that, i thought. I continued on for a K or so and decided just to head up the steep hillside to what seemed the lowest point on the ridge.

This was steep and wet heathery nonsense, but i made surprisingly short work of it and soon gained the final ascent along the ridge. The views from here were tremendous.

Creazg Meagaidh-4.jpg
Towards the Window


Creazg Meagaidh-5.jpg
Towards the Loch Treig hills


From here it was a fairly easy plod onto the rockier summit plateau and finally to the large cairn. It was blowing an absolute hoolie at this point so it was a quick bite to eat, photo of a pile of stones, and on with the jacket and gloves. Stopped and spoke to chap from Dundee who'd just left the cairn and was heading along the ridge.

Creazg Meagaidh-6.jpg
Carn Liath Summit


The ridgewalk between Carn Liath and Stob Coire Poite Ardair is very pleasant. Mostly grassy terrain with only one very minor sharp pull. The final ascent to the summit is very gentle, with fine views over the steep cliffs to the south of the ridge.

Creazg Meagaidh-8.jpg
Towards Loch Laggan


I'd since joined up with Jeff, who was from Dundee and we did the rest of the walk together. After SCPA, the path descends to the rears of the window, before a longish rock pull to the massive summit area of Creag Meagaidh. Visibility here was poor as the clag wouldn't rise. After a daunder, we reached the massive summit cairn, via a surprisingly large remaining snow cornice. The clag was still down, so merely a photo of a pile of stones here.

Creazg Meagaidh-4-2.jpg
Creag Meagaidh summit


We waited for about 30 mins for the cloud to lift, but it didn't really until we were leaving the summit and even then, it was pretty dull and overcast. And cold. We headed along for a look at Mad Meg's Cairn, a truly massive effort and resolved to find out the story behind it. After this we headed back down towards the window. I'd been somewhat dreading this as steep rocky descents are basically awful when your knee is gubbed. It's quite a place though.

Creazg Meagaidh-6-3.jpg
Dropping down the window


It's pretty straightforward from here, with the path crossing a couple of wee burns then meeting the main track back to the Car Park. Sadly this is roughly 4 miles away :lol: However, we knocked it off in decent time and got down in a total time of 8.75 hours, and generally found the walk to be a cracking wee round.

I also quite fancy going back up the corrie in well lit winter conditions. It's a truly epic place.
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jupe1407
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby dav2930 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:50 pm

Looks like you had a great day on the hills there despite the knees! Well done. Coire Ardair is indeed a magnificent sight in Winter - a Winter climber's paradise. I went up there in March 2009 and entered a blizzard whiteout above the Window. I thought I'd reached the summit when in fact I was at Mad Meg's Cairn, which I only realized when I got back down! So I'll have to go up Meagaidh again to tick the Munro. :roll: Great report Jupe.
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:14 am

A great circuit this and good to see it again.

Did this in October a couple of years ago on a really clear day and as good as the views were, my abiding memory was the sound of the red deer rut reverberating round the hills all day.
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:28 am

Gordie12 wrote:A great circuit this and good to see it again.

Did this in October a couple of years ago on a really clear day and as good as the views were, my abiding memory was the sound of the red deer rut reverberating round the hills all day.


Thanks Gordie. We saw a sizeable herd of deer from a little dip in the ridge between Carn Liath and Stob Coire Poite Ardair.

dav2930 wrote:Looks like you had a great day on the hills there despite the knees! Well done. Coire Ardair is indeed a magnificent sight in Winter - a Winter climber's paradise. I went up there in March 2009 and entered a blizzard whiteout above the Window. I thought I'd reached the summit when in fact I was at Mad Meg's Cairn, which I only realized when I got back down! So I'll have to go up Meagaidh again to tick the Munro. :roll: Great report Jupe.


Thanks Dav. It's a pretty easy mistake to make as Mad Meg's cairn is absolutely massive and i can see why a lot of folk think it's the summit. It was clagged in yesterday and I think a couple ahead of us may have done just that.
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:43 pm

Great walk this one Jupe, shame about the clag in a couple of spots. The coire is a magnificent place. The window looks a bit different without the snow :D Very fond memories of this circuit :D
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby litljortindan » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:06 pm

A place I would like to revisit too.
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Re: A Great Trip to Creag Meagaidh

Postby Backpacker » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:46 pm

Some cracking pics there JP, it's a cracking walk and one that's on the repeat list :D
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