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Cloud avoidance on Creag Meagaidh

Cloud avoidance on Creag Meagaidh

Postby U059361 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:06 pm

Route description: Creag Meagaidh circuit

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

Date walked: 09/08/2017

Time taken: 6.45 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1080m

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Arrived at the car park at The car park at 8 o'clock and was walking by 8:15 the hills were overcast and the clouds sat heavily on the hills. As I walked walked up the path towards the first hill I had a decision to make, do I keep going up the hill or do I walk into the corrie and head for the big yin giving it time to shrug off clouds and brighten up as per the forecast. I had a chat with a couple of guys heading up Carn Liath as they'd already walked the other two tops. They were shedding layers at the small cairn marking the "path" up. I use the term loosely as I would find out coming back down. The cloud was not moving much so I said farewell and carried on up to Coire Ardair. I passed a notice saying they were improving the path and I could see a yellow digger in the distance. Digger tracks were all along the path with evidence of the improvements, mainly drainage ditches. The path itself is little changed. As I approached the digger the driver saw me and decided it was break time and stopped working. No need to worry about how I would get past.
ImageCoire Ardair by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
As I approached the course the cloud was coming and going over the cliffs and the "Window" would open and close as I walked in. Had a break to give the clouds time to shift a bit more before heading up to the window.
ImageCoire Ardair from Window climb by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
Bit of a scramble at the top with lots of scree washed down over the path, but only once did the cloud close in as I climbed and as I walked through I could see hills clearly in the distance. I follow the path to the west end to get a view of Creag Meagaidh. It was still covered but I could see it wouldn't last. A morale booster for the final climb. Of course I left shelter after I left the window so it was very windy indeed and I was glad I had put on my last layer before heading for the top. The path wound its way up the slope and at the top I couldn't resist walking along the top of the coire cliffs to catch the view back down. Clouds were still trying to stick around but eventually they cleared.
ImageLochan a'Choire from clifftop by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageCoire Ardair from cliff top by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
Having got my photos I then headed up the ridge. The wind was blowing into my face as I approached Mad Meg's cairn. Another photo opportunity. The top was clearly visible so a mad dash up to get there.
ImageLochan Uaine by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageMad Meg's Cairn to Creag Meagaidh by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
The wind wasn't bad at the top funnily enough so I had a good look round.
ImageCreag Meagaidh view by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageCreag Meagaidh by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
It was still very windy going back to the window but it was pushing me on now. The climb up the other side was a bit weary but up top yet more great views into the coire and mostly downhill and wind assisted too. Great decision to do the walk this way. Passed a couple of individuals walking the other way so a few others out. It was still hard walking over boulder fields all along the ridge.
ImageCoire Ardair and Creag Meagaidh by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageCarn Liath from Stob Poite Coire Ardair by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
I stopped for a break in the lee of one top. Great view into the coire and I had my lunch.
ImageCoire Ardair from Carn Liath by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
One last steep drop down and then over to Carn Liath. I was glad to get to the top.
ImageCarn Liath top by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageWestern Loch Laggan by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
ImageEastern Loch Laggan by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
A last drink behind the cairn and then I made my way down. It was difficult picking up any sort of path but I aimed for a path I could see much lower down and eventually found one. The sun was out in force now and Loch Laggan looked amazing.
ImageCreag Meagaidh and Loch Laggan by Joe Kincaid, on Flickr
Over the last rocky top and the "path" becomes a bog fest right enough. I slipped once but got my hands down to stop me sitting in the stuff. I thought it might improve on reaching the trees but it is a small burn by now and more scrambling over boulders holding onto the trees. I was so very glad to reach the main path again. After that it was a joy to walk back to the car, weary but happy. By 3 o'clock I was on my way back to Edinburgh.
User avatar
Posts: 522
Munros:101   Corbetts:34
Grahams:20   Donalds:27
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:5
Joined: Jul 24, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

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