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Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Scramblin' boots on An Stuc


Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:04 pm

Route description: Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc

Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 30/10/2017

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

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The weekend was booked in for heading up from my South Downs home to join a couple of Glasgow friends, but family matters have postponed that, so I cobbled together a plan B. Next May I'm booked to do the Skye Cuillin with a guide, but I'm nervous about the ridge. I saw the guide was doing a little Meall nan Tarmachan walk on Saturday with mini-ridge and scramble focus, so bingo. I could walk with him and he could say "Crikey - no way I'm taking you up Skye - you'll have to cancel." Or not - we'd see.

That was a lovely day, and he hasn't asked me to cancel. Here I am under his expert eye scrambling down in Sunday's high-ish wind (photo courtesy of a lovely co-walker called Neil).
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So, Monday saw me in the area, with a plan - if it was dry - to walk An Stuc and its two Meall-y pals. My Skye guide had mentioned using stiffer boots for (tougher) scrambling, which I'd never considered, but I had mine with me, so on Monday morning I put them on to try out the difference.

It was a fine enough morning - dry, but with flat light. There was almost no one around - one walker up on Sron Mhor ahead of me and another fast approaching me when I stopped to remove a layer. I wanted to be on my own, so I hung around after he passed, taking pics.

The view back down to Loch Tay
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Shieling remains by the path
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Cooled down, watered and with no one around but a soaring red kite, I set off again, up the grassy path to the top of Sron Mhor and then on to Munro 1 of the day, Meall Greigh. Schiehallion was in full view, and the visibility clear enough for the Cairngorms to peep out in and out of the clouds. I was also looking over at Ben Lawers of course, and at An Stuc, anticipating the scramble up. But what was becoming more apparent was how tricky the An Stuc descent was more likely to be. That looked painfully steep...

Meall Greigh summit cairn & Schiehallion beyond
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An Stuc with its whaah descent to Lochan nan Cat
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Still, I was looking forward to the scramble up, so onwards. Behind me I could hear the high-pitched cries of, and just make out the silhouettes of, something wader-y. As I descended to the bealach, there was another small noisy flock. Now and then they took briefly to the air, wing-edges flashing white, and then settled again, camouflaged in the autumn-gold grass. Because they were... golden plover, their summer breeding black turned to buff. Beautiful, charming companions they were too!
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The light started doing such superb dramatic things I decided to stop and have a bite to eat before trudging up beside the fence posts to Meall Garbh's summit.

Lunchtime sun over Loch Tay
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Then up and off again. The ridge just before Meall Garbh's summit may be an irrelevance as routes go, but it was there, so I trotted off along it anyway. Below me was a herd of deer, who seemed to be scarpering from something or someone else over towards An Stuc. I'd had my ear out for deer, but frankly by this point the males could have been roaring like a lion drunk on testosterone, but the wind was making such a racket I wouldn't have heard a thing.

Deer fleeing from something or someone
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Impressive quartz on the irrelevant ridge - oh, and Ben Lawers in the background of course :wink:
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Up at Meall Garbh summit cairn, I met three characters with shovels - first a friendly lady with swirly tattoos on her face, then two fairly surly fellas. I assumed they were NT volunteers, smiled and said hello, exchanged a word or two more with the lady and carried on. Lots of you walk on your own too. Do you have daft chats with yourself like, "s'pose they could have been burying a body... just as well I didn't ask: they'd probably have to kill me...." or is it just me? [Rhetorical - course you do!! :lol: ]

Yeah, so no photos of them - just in case, y'know - and on to An Stuc (yay! - I was looking forward to this). My boots were rubbing at the heel a bit, and I know, I know, I should stop and apply something, but did I? Course not. I mean, there was An Stuc...
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and, while it had some icicles on it (is this the beast of An Stuc??!), it was basically dry underfoot, and I could scramble to my heart's delight :D
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I'm not a seasoned scrambler, so I was sensible and careful, remembering the guide's tips from Sunday, also aware - as ever - I'm on my tod, so can't make a mistake. But still, I made the most of what was available, and made the most of my rigid boots. It was true - it was great edging in them in comparison to the softer summer ones. Obvious when you know, but hey.

View mid-scramble
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But then, oh! It's over. That is such a short, quick, height-gaining ascent! And at the top, the sun was shining over Ben More to the south-west, Ben Nevis was peeping up to the north, the wind had dropped completely, no one else was around, and I had one of those moments which you just want to go on forever - everything was just beautiful, perfect serene.

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But - time to go, and yes, that descent hurt. My toes were being rammed into the front of my boots (I'll have to look into that), and the descent is steep. At the dam, I found a NT vehicle, and up on the hill were three shadowy distant figures. (So if they had just buried a body, they'd also nicked an NT truck. Some people are just all bad :wink: )
Last edited by EmmaKTunskeen on Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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EmmaKTunskeen
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Posts: 88
Munros:20   Corbetts:14
Grahams:8   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:34
Wainwrights:41   
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Location: West Sussex

Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby Coop » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:42 pm

Really like an stuc.
I remember doing these in what seemed like the mother of all winds. Steep descent to the lochan!!

Good report
Cheers
Coop
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Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:45 pm

Looks good. Haven't done this.


Slightly embarrassed by how many trips you seem to manage from Sussex, when I hardly ever get up there!
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Mal Grey
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Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:38 pm

Fine weather, fine place, fine pics (I especially like the one titled "lunchtime sun over Loch Tay").

I'm wildly impressed that you do this starting in Surrey.... :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I thought I lived a long way from the Highlands, but it's 4 hours closer than you!
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Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:29 pm

Coop wrote:Really like an stuc.
I remember doing these in what seemed like the mother of all winds. Steep descent to the lochan!!

Good report
Cheers


Thank you, and hats off to you for doing it in high wind! I knew scramble-side would be basically south in a northerly, but would probably have walked the Loch an Daimh ones otherwise.

Mal Grey wrote:Looks good. Haven't done this.

Slightly embarrassed by how many trips you seem to manage from Sussex, when I hardly ever get up there!


Alteknacker wrote:Fine weather, fine place, fine pics (I especially like the one titled "lunchtime sun over Loch Tay").

I'm wildly impressed that you do this starting in Surrey.... :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I thought I lived a long way from the Highlands, but it's 4 hours closer than you!


You both make the most of it when you do get there though, I love your reports and photos (Mal, your Suilven on fire in the evening light with the kids 'n' canoes camp - mesmerising!).
I just woke up last year, realised I'd not been up for 20 years :shock: and only have so much knee to play with :lol:
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EmmaKTunskeen
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Location: West Sussex

Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:10 pm

Great report with some beautiful view,s, and some interesting pics for scrambling and routefinding purposes too!

Your Skye trip will be great, I'm sure! I was there this April - members of our party were keen to avoid an really scrambly stuff, but we still managed to see some great scenery quite easily eg. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=72538

Tim
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Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby ancancha » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:12 pm

An enjoyable read, I have fond memories of An Stuc :wink:
I had the same wind experience, a bit windy on the ascent up to Meall Greigh, and on and off until I reached the ridge Meall Garbh when it was crouch down strength. Then mysteriously when I got to the top of An Stuc, perfectly calm :?: perhaps the topography funnels the breeze in some way.
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Re: Scramblin' boots on An Stuc

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:59 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote: Your Skye trip will be great, I'm sure! I was there this April - members of our party were keen to avoid an really scrambly stuff, but we still managed to see some great scenery quite easily eg. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=72538


I enjoyed your Skye post, Tim, and thank you for the reassurance! :D

anchancha wrote: An enjoyable read, I have fond memories of An Stuc :wink:
I had the same wind experience, a bit windy on the ascent up to Meall Greigh, and on and off until I reached the ridge Meall Garbh when it was crouch down strength. Then mysteriously when I got to the top of An Stuc, perfectly calm :?: perhaps the topography funnels the breeze in some way.


Perhaps. More An Stuc magic! Love your eventual ravens pic :clap: You found the bridge over the burn I see. I missed that entirely. :crazy:
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Location: West Sussex

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