The area around Loch Lochy was glowing with autumn colour but it was the ridge line that you can see from the A82, stretching along the West Side of Loch Lochy that had caught our eye and we planned a route to Sron a Choire Ghairbh via Sean Mheall and Meall nan Dearcag. It Involved some rough going and route finding across pathless terrain before the high level traverse to the summit, but was a fine adventure for a short autumn day.
We set out from Laggan Lochs at 8:00 and as we walked past Cean Loch we could see our route ahead of us and reflected in the water .
After a short walk up the road to Kilfinnan and crossing the burn, we turned right, along a grassy farm track just before the phone mast . From here we followed the outside of a fence up the hillside for about 1km until we reached the higher fence. Fortunately the bracken was now wilting and it was a lot less boggy than one might expect :lol, making a pleasant walk along the edge of the woods.
Once we had we had climbed through a convenient hole in the upper fence there was the tricky business of finding our way across the hummocks and outcrops and onto the ridge leading to Meall Nan Dearcag.
Keen to escape the rough heather and blessed with excellent visibility we ignored all our prior route planning and headed for the nearest grassy ramp. A fairly good plan that went well, apart from the need to bypass a small craglett on very steep slippery heather and mud, . Thankful that the heather was impressively strong the difficulty was soon overcome and for once it was not me that was squeaking and swearing . The terrain remained complex with a number of potential contenders for Meall nan Dearcag so it seems a good idea to consult the map and check the reference with Viewranger to ensure we were heading towards the correct summit. I was amazed to find what I think were Bearberries flowering again, hidden amongst the heather.
The plateau between Meall nan Dearcag and Sean Mheall felt wonderfully wild, , mountain views on all sides, lochans, small crags and a couple of peat hags. Again the excellent visibility made finding a way through straightforward but it would require a lot more care in fog or winter conditions.
We took a direct line up to Sean Mheall Summit, feeling a distinct burn in the thigh muscles, and a little less enthusiastic about the up and down still to come. Luckily the ground after this was much easier with short grasss and a well trodden path. Our tired muscles recovered and it felt great to be up on the ridge and looking down on the coffin road. The Ridge was as good as it looked from below, but quite chilly, with snow flurries in the air. The sun came out when we eventually reached Sron a Choire Ghairbh and for the first time in weeks, we had summit views .
Looking around the. rim of Coire Glas, I rather wished we had planned a descent via Ben Tee, but daylight was too in short supply to attempt this unprepared, so after our brew, we took the conventional descent back along Bealach Cam.
We were back at the car for 17:20 and no need for headtorches. A satisfying and enjoyable route and great day out.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.