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Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:45 pm

Munros included on this walk: Maol chinn-dearg

Date walked: 14/01/2017

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 746m

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The South Sheil Ridge has a reputation (quite rightly) as a fine linear ridge walk and the opportunity it provides for mutiple munro bagging. Less well known are the shorter, but equally enjoyable direct ascents to many of its summits.
The ridge leading directly up to Maol Chinn Dearg is narrow enough to be interesting without being too exciting for us in winter conditions and short enough that we wouldn't have to get out of bed too early :lol: .
The return of the snow this week provided the motivation we needed to get out :D. The weather reports suggested the day would be essentially dry with the highest winds at 35mph, and the cloud cover and visibility variable.
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The Route

The drive to Kintail was slow, with fresh snow slowing the traffic and it was 10:00 before we were suited and booted and on our way.
The joys of walking through virgin snow outweighed any disadvantages of breaking trail, even an early sinking into a particularly smelly boggy hole :lol: . The stream and The Allt Coire a Chuil Droma Beag were both full of snow which hid the stepping stones but was too soft for a snow bridge, but some poking about with a treking pole downstream of the usual ford identified a narrow section and we crossed with dry feet :D. Initially the path was surprisingly visible as we headed towards the ridge.
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Heading towards the broad start of the ridge

There was a large herd of deer on the lower slopes, the only wildlife we saw all day.
After following the path for about an hour it disappeared into the snow. There were a number of heathery ribs that looked like they led up to the main ridge so rather than trying to trace a zig zagging path in the snow we headed up one of these.
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Up the heathery rib
There were a number of steep snowy gullies running up the hill and we did wonder if they would prove a problem but fortunately there was an easy crossing point on the only one that proved an obstacle. Whilst being certain we were heading in the right direction we weren't sure about our precise location and pleased when a GPS ref showed we were higher than expected and less than 100m from the path :D , which we rejoined shortly after our moment of doubt.
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The ridge getting narrower
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Aonach Air Crith ridge an easy but exposed grade 1 scramble

The winds felt much stronger as we moved onto the more exposed section of the ridge, and I got to play with my new toy, a wind metre, which showed the gusts were 45mph.
We were approaching a steep, narrow rocky knoll, which looked unavoidable :roll:. Feeling a little apprehensive we sheltered behind a large rock to consider our options. To crampon or not to crampon :? Up to this point any harder sections of snow and ice had been avoidable and with a fairly sparse covering of snow crampons were going to be more of a hindarence than help so we decided to give them a miss but make our ice axes more accessible.
In fact, the path ran through the knoll and only a minimal amount of hands on was required :lol:
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The rocky knoll
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There was one steepish snowy section of ridge after the knoll but by the time I thought about getting the ice axe out it was over and we were on easy ground heading towards the summit.
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13:00 Maol Chinn- Dearg summit
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Feeling blustry
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South Sheil Ridge
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Summit views south
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And again
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Down into Glen Sheil
Again my photos don't come close to reflecting how beautiful the landscape looked with its initial covering of snow, but it was time to go.
We had spied out our sheltered lunch spot on the way up so we were keen to get down too it.
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Ice Axe adding security to the descent
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Down the rocky section
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Sheltered spot for Jeremy Jetboil
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14:15 out of the shelter and on our way
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A final photo looking back
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Why do I always do this?
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Funny how the path is always easier to follow on the way down
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Blue Skies over Loch Cluanie

Back to the car for 15:45. A great way up or down to the South Sheil Ridge summer or winter and extra special for the snow. The next ridge along Druim Thollaidh also looks a good route to try before the winter ends.
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:32 pm

You've got some great photos here - love the one on the summit with Loch Quoich behind. Looks like hard work but so worth it! :thumbup:
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:46 pm

dogplodder wrote:You've got some great photos here - love the one on the summit with Loch Quoich behind. Looks like hard work but so worth it! :thumbup:

Thank you, the summit views were spectacular, and well worth the effort. :D
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Coop » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:54 pm

On the "to do this summer" list!

Fantastic pics and report. Cheers
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:59 pm

Challenging but worth the effort - well done - cheers :)
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby trederdog 100 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:23 pm

Some great atmospheric snow photo's there! A walk isn't as fun without sinking in the snow or bog either!
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby JEfoundmybootsagain » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:56 am

Great report and love the pics. Having been on ridge nearly 30 years ago from Cluanie end and coming off after Aonach Air Crith, due to getting cooked by baking sun, this would make a brill attack at the rest of the ridge. Never really thought of getting onto MCD this way. Always assumed I would have to tackle whole ridge again and much older legs may not like that. will look at making plans for this one. Thanks for the inspiration to get over there again.

John
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Jaxter » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:25 am

Visibility in kintail?! :shock: :shock:

I love how the hills look in snow, it's just so exciting :D nice photies :thumbup:
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:39 am

Ohhh winter conditions! Shame they didn't last... I'm glad we all managed at least one white weekend!

We had descended this ridge once but in summer time, we had bikes waiting for us at the bottom to cycle back to Shiel Bridge. It looks even more fun in winter :D

But weather is crazy this year! Saturday was all winter wonderland (we went to climb a nice Munro in Drummochter area), temp below zero, knee deep snow and on the eastern side, even some blue sky in the afternoon. Sunday - +10*C in Inverness!!! Monday afternoon, Wyvis lost most of the snow cover. By the next weekend, it will be all dull and bare again :(
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby malky_c » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:10 pm

Looks like a good plan :) . I was going to go up this way between Christmas and New Year, and probably do a circuit over 2 or 3 of the summits. But in the end, I couldn't be bothered with the gloomy weather so I went somewhere closer to home. Definitely on the agenda for this winter sometime though 8)
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:24 pm

Coop wrote:On the "to do this summer" list!

Fantastic pics and report. Cheers

Thanks Coop, hope you have good weather, Kintail is great anytime of year :D

rockhopper wrote:Challenging but worth the effort - well done - cheers :)

Very worth it, hope the snow comes back soon. Cheers

trederdog 100 wrote:Some great atmospheric snow photo's there! A walk isn't as fun without sinking in the snow or bog either!

Thank you Trederdog. I have all the fun, I'm an expert at falling in bog and snow, :lol: :lol:

JEfoundmybootsagain wrote:Great report and love the pics. Having been on ridge nearly 30 years ago from Cluanie end and coming off after Aonach Air Crith, due to getting cooked by baking sun, this would make a brill attack at the rest of the ridge. Never really thought of getting onto MCD this way. Always assumed I would have to tackle whole ridge again and much older legs may not like that. will look at making plans for this one. Thanks for the inspiration to get over there again.

John

Glad you enjoyed the report John. There are quite a few options for shorter ups and downs to The Ridge and well worth a visit in their own right, we hope to do more exploring in the area this year.
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:48 pm

Jaxter wrote:Visibility in kintail?! :shock: :shock:

I love how the hills look in snow, it's just so exciting :D nice photies :thumbup:

Thank you Jaxter, I love the snow, I wish it would stop playing hide and seek :lol: If you didn't get the veiws in Kintail you have the best excuse for going back and doing it all again, It really is worth it. :lol:

BlackPanther wrote:Ohhh winter conditions! Shame they didn't last... I'm glad we all managed at least one white weekend!

We had descended this ridge once but in summer time, we had bikes waiting for us at the bottom to cycle back to Shiel Bridge. It looks even more fun in winter :D

But weather is crazy this year! Saturday was all winter wonderland (we went to climb a nice Munro in Drummochter area), temp below zero, knee deep snow and on the eastern side, even some blue sky in the afternoon. Sunday - +10*C in Inverness!!! Monday afternoon, Wyvis lost most of the snow cover. By the next weekend, it will be all dull and bare again :(


I am glad you got out in the snow too, I wonder if we passed each other going opposite directions on the A9 around Inverness? Sad when the snow goes :( I keep looking out the window hoping the forecast is wrong but The Hils of Cromdale are looking very bare after their white week.
Maol Chinn Dearg does make a good winter up or down, hope you enjoy it if you give it a go and am looking forward to the report your W/E adventure .

malky_c wrote:Looks like a good plan :) . I was going to go up this way between Christmas and New Year, and probably do a circuit over 2 or 3 of the summits. But in the end, I couldn't be bothered with the gloomy weather so I went somewhere closer to home. Definitely on the agenda for this winter sometime though 8)


Thank you Malky. We found it difficult to get motivated to go anywhere in the mild weather :( . Hope we get the weather for you to try your plans in Kintail, never know may see you up there. :D
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:37 am

Great to see this one in the snow. I only hope there's white stuff about when we'll be there mid-Feb :roll: - done nothing in the snow yet this winter :( (winter..???)

What weird weather this year...
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby katyhills » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:11 am

Alteknacker wrote:Great to see this one in the snow. I only hope there's white stuff about when we'll be there mid-Feb :roll: - done nothing in the snow yet this winter :( (winter..???)

What weird weather this year...

Even weird last spring here in west Scotland - dry ground, bogs you could walk over without sinking knee deep into them :D
Great report and pix. Good way to tackle these individually or in two parts - it's a long hike unless you have two cars or bikes.
Shame the snow's been so short lived. Very strange indeed. Even coming home on Saturday, Ben Lomond had less snow than it had on the outward journey.
Is it all Donald Trump's fault? HIs 'hair' is sending shock waves across the pond :lol:
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Re: Maol Chinn-Dearg Its all Snow Beautiful

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:11 am

Alteknacker wrote:Great to see this one in the snow. I only hope there's white stuff about when we'll be there mid-Feb :roll: - done nothing in the snow yet this winter :( (winter..???)

What weird weather this year...

Weird weather indeed. I think the south has stolen our winter :lol: :lol: and parts of England are warmer than Cairngorm summit this morning. I hope there is some good snow for you in February, in the meanwhile if you see any your way please send it north. :lol:
katyhills wrote:Great report and pix. Good way to tackle these individually or in two parts - it's a long hike unless you have two cars or bikes.
Shame the snow's been so short lived. Very strange indeed. Even coming home on Saturday, Ben Lomond had less snow than it had on the outward journey.
Is it all Donald Trump's fault? HIs 'hair' is sending shock waves across the pond :lol:
[/quote]
Thank you Katy. You could be right about Donald Trumps hair being to blame :lol: :lol: or maybe The snow has scuttled over to Europe before Brexit :lol: :lol:
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