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Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:49 pm
by seamus0
So, once again I picked a terrible weather forecast weekend to come up to Scotland and bag a few Munros. My plan was to finish off the Lawers hills but with the ominous threats of storm "Desmond" I knew this would be hopeful thinking!
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Lawers Hotel at start

After staying in Auchterarder thursday night and leaving early in the morning with a tad of a hangover (celebrating my cousins 50th!...I was trying to be good :-)) I knew the forecast was bad for the afternoon. The plan was to start for Meall Greigh, the most eastern in the Lawyers range, and see how I get on! Setting off from the Lawers hotel (ref 677395) at 8am I was quite surprised in the lack of snow in the hills. But as it was my first winter excursion I decided to take all my kit with me just for the practice more than anything. I walked along the road east for 10 mins till walking over the bridge and straight after the white house on the left, I took the wee lane signposted for Machuim Farm. The route up this lane and through the farm was well marked out to follow the signs for "The Hill".

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Turn off to route from road

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Farm sign from road

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Hill signs through farm

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Hill signs through Farm

The route then went through a small wooded section. After 1/2 hour I had reached the 2nd stile and started to make my ascent towards Sron Mhor.
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First Stile

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2nd Stile

Again, it was a 'lovely' morning (well for Scotland), I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. Still I carried on plodding slowly up the easy slopes. A sort of path appeared and disappeared along the way. I don't think it made much difference which route I took up this section as it was relatively easy going whichever way across the heather. After reaching Sron Mhor, it flattened out a bit, but the wind started to pick up fiercely.
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Route ahead to Sron Mhor

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View of Loch Tay with ominous clouds

At around 800M it really did turn for the worse. MWIS had predicted "tortuous" walking conditions. Unfortunately I was experiencing this. The wind was so fierce it was hard to take in any breath. Standing was a problem and with each step I had to dig in my poles to steady myself before I took the next step. My face was getting a real battering as it contorted my cheeks and continuously cleared my nose in an unpredictable fashion...lovely :-)
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Top of Meall Greigh

I was hoping that I would be off the hill before this set in...but then again if the weather was to be bad this was the only hill for the weekend, so I plodded on. It took a further hour to climb those last 150m! Tough going. I looked at the route to Meall Garbh while crawling to the peak of Meal Greigh and knew it was one of those hills that would have to wait for another time. I managed to crawl off the cairn, in the torrential rain and gales and slowly made my descent back the same way, happy I got at least one in!
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followed river back down to start

Later that night in Crianlarich the roads flooded and were closed as Loch Dochart broke its banks. And well, the rest of the damage caused by Desmond around the country is another story! I'm just happy I looked the storm in the eye and got down safely! The rest of the lawyers will have to wait for another time!

Re: Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:29 pm
by dav2930
It must have taken a really determined effort to get to the summit of Meall Greigh in those conditions. Well done. :clap: Perhaps not the ideal introduction to winter hill-walking - the predominance of warm fronts brought in by the Gulf Stream has deprived the mountains of much snow (until today!) :? - but good experience all the same. And a good report too! :)

Re: Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:22 pm
by Silverhill
Well done for getting one hill done and for heading back. Your meeting with Desmond didn’t sound much fun! :wink:

Re: Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:14 am
by seamus0
ha yeah it was one of those weekends. It was my first excursion into the hills this year in winter, I was expecting more snow not floods! But it looks like snow has come now! The weather is so unpredictable now! The rest of the weekend was spent beside a fire and a good bottle of malt and friends not all was lost!

Re: Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:43 pm
by Jaxter
Oooft :shock:

I was working in Edinburgh this day and decided to pop up Arthur's Seat for lunch, I nearly got blown off! Must have been many times worse for you, so respect! :clap:

The good thing is you'll have to come back on a better day to do these ones because they are really lovely when youre not fighting with a storm :lol:

Re: Meall Greigh and Storm Desmond

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:32 pm
by seamus0
yeah I kept them for the winter as there isn't a big walk-in so u can do in 1/2 day and they're not even if there is a hurricane blowing u off it, u wont really get blown "off" :-) Just blown 'around' :-)