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Sron a Choire Ghairbh The Wild Way

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:35 am
by Cairngorm creeper
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.
The Route

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 :D.
Cean Loch

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.
Following the Fence
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.
Finding a way onto the ridge

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, :roll: . Thankful that the heather was impressively strong the difficulty was soon overcome and for once it was not me that was squeaking and swearing :lol:. 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.
Bearberries in flower
Slope to Meall nan Dearcag
10:50 Meall nan Dearcag
Bealach Essain and Ben Tee

The plateau between Meall nan Dearcag and Sean Mheall felt wonderfully wild, :D, 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.
Love the colours of the autumn moss
Very steep going to Sean Mheall

We took a direct line up to Sean Mheall Summit, feeling a distinct burn in the thigh muscles,
12:00 Sean Mheall summit
The Lochaber Mountains from Sean Mheall
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.
Looking down to Cam Bhealach
Meall nan Teanga
Across Choire Ghairbh to summit
Back Along ridge
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 :D .
13:30 on the summit
Come on Jeremy Jetboil we want our soup

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.
On the way down, looking out across to the Nevis Range
The Ridge from Sean Mheall
Heading down the coffin road
More moss and ferns as in the woods

We were back at the car for 17:20 and no need for headtorches. A satisfying and enjoyable route and great day out.