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Sgorr Choinnich and Meall na h-Airigh

Sgorr Choinnich and Meall na h-Airigh


Postby litljortindan » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:12 pm

Date walked: 11/03/2018

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 5 km

Ascent: 500m

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In a qaundry about when to set off for this walk in order to miss the morning low cloud I decided on leaving earlyish with the option of waiting and having a read in the carpark at Callop.
I elected to drive via Inverness, thinking that this route would require a little bit less concentration compared to the Kingussie/Fort William option should there be a lot of fog. Not much of a fog problem as it turned out but all the way along Loch Ness there was indeed plenty of low cloud and little sign of breaks. Cloud was also draped over Meall na Teanga and neighbours but at least at a higher level. Then passing the Spean Bridge junction I caught spectacular glimpses of sunlit snow clad tops but that was about the last I was to see in terms of clear hill tops for the rest of the day. All the way over to Glenfinnan there was little sign of the cloud clearing.
I parked at Callop and waited. Not too easy from there to gauge if there would be any views along Loch Shiel so I nipped round to Glenfinnan for some reconnaissance.
There I could see cloud tumbling in from the east and breaking just above Meall a' Bhainne. That, along with the forecast break-up of cloud, was enough to get me started walking; not really one for voluntarily wandering about in the cloud.
Set off directly from the car park up the edge of the wood and then through a gap in the fence. Thereafter a vague grassy path follows the burn that runs down from between Meall a' Bhainne and Meall na h-Airigh and I went along this as far as the level of the easternmost crags of Meall na h-Airigh. Skipped over the burn then started on the steepest part of the walk, just a couple of hundred metres up grassy banks and weaving around rockier ground to reach a point where I could see it would be best to follow the knobbly ridge along its top instead of contouring the fairly steep ground south of there.
I thought I might be in for a bit of a rollercoaster of knolls to negotiate but fairly easy going though the easiest line, and occasional views (!) through the mist to the north, had drawn me over to the north side of the "ridge" where easier angled ground leant itself to contouring.
Got round to the point where I could've cut directly up to the high point but Sgorr Choinnich, the western spur overlooking Loch Shiel, caught my eye. The ground to my right (west) was now extremely steep so I was forced upwards a little bit before getting back on track. Once I was above the level of Sgorr Choinnich I caught sight of the impressive view to the southern end of Loch Shiel. Great views all round the south, west and north from there and all along the short way to Sgorr Choinnich.
Not enough of a weather improvement to tempt me up Meall a' Bhainne so I settled with the viewpoint I'd got to and about turned after a wee while spent taking photos.
Another short walk but good to keep the legs moving and a grand view down the length of Loch Shiel.

ImageDSC05245 by John Little, on Flickr
Not looking that promising mid morning -still time to clear though.

ImageDSC05246 by John Little, on Flickr
Glimpses of something near Spean Bridge.

ImageDSC05249 by John Little, on Flickr
A quick peek round the corner after waiting for the fog to clear at the Callop car park. Looked promising so straight back round.

ImageDSC05255 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05270 by John Little, on Flickr
Into the mist with occasional glimpses of lower ground.

ImageDSC05282 by John Little, on Flickr
And definite signs of clearer air though tops still cloud capped.

ImageDSC05312 by John Little, on Flickr
This became the first, unintended, target once it appeared ahead.

ImageDSC05320 by John Little, on Flickr
First view of Loch Shiel.

ImageDSC05340 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05341 by John Little, on Flickr
Sgorr Choinnich more airy than Meall na h-Airigh.

ImageDSC05346 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05347 by John Little, on Flickr
Still some occasional cloud. Glad I waited a bit before starting.

ImageDSC05356 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05360 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05361 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05362 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05364 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05370 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05376 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05391 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05392 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05397 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05401 by John Little, on Flickr
Meall na h-Airigh.

ImageDSC05402 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05404 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05409 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC05419 by John Little, on Flickr


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litljortindan
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