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Tidying up around Roy Bridge

Tidying up around Roy Bridge

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:04 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Chlachair, Beinn na Lap, Creag Pitridh, Geal chàrn (Laggan), Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin, Stob Coire Easain

Date walked: 08/04/2018

Time taken: 20 hours

Distance: 64.4 km

Ascent: 3319m

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A mixed forecast for the weekend. I wasn't sure how much snow would be left on the hills after the resurgence of winter at the beginning of the week. There were a cluster of hills around Roy Bridge that might be amenable to climbing under the conditions - this would also be an excuse to visit one of our preferred campsites at Bunroy. We arrived on Thursday night to find various little improvements to the site over the winter closure. And three nights of peace and quiet at a campsite are also much appreciated.

lapx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Friday had a mediocre forecast for clouds all day with snow flurries and high winds. Let's take the train from Roy Bridge to Corrour - Beinn na Lap is going to be manageable and we can always tag on a Sim. Strange to be walking in full kit away from the tent and getting the train. Arrived at Corrour as the snow started falling, visibility not great. Memories of our Loch Ossian long weekender when we stayed at the Youth Hostel on the first of 4 cold nights in the wonderful spring of 2013. Anyway, we started off up the track to Beinn na Lap, ploughing through soggy heather and soft snow. Wind increased steadily as we closed in on the summit. Going through my mind were the options of getting to the top and nipping back for the train at 11.21 - which would be tight but would allow us to do some smaller hills in the afternoon or alternatively continue onto the Sim and hope that we'd make the 3.24 train, as if we didn't it would mean a 6 hour wait on a cold platform.

Grey Skies
ImageDSC01265 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01267 by Al, on Flickr

Reaching the cairn in the clag took longer than I expected so the first option went out the window. We would continue along the northeast ridge, trying to avoid the corniced edge and head round the north of Loch na Lap for the Sim of Creagan Ruadh. This proved straightforward and the concern about being back at the station in time eased - no waist high snowdrifts to surmount. We lunched at the summit, continued over Meall Glas-uaine Mhor and descended over the moor dropping down into a fire-break in the forestry and back to the track. Across the Loch Meall na Lice sent out beseeching looks...I have fond memories of this wee hill from our Ossian jaunt when we saw it early in the morning with a full moon perched over its snowy top. Anyway, we had 90 minutes before the train was due, plenty of time for a visit to the summit :lol:

Summit - Beinn na Lap
ImageDSC01268 by Al, on Flickr

Creagan Ruadh
ImageDSC01270 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Ossian
ImageDSC01272 by Al, on Flickr

Mastermind chair in the woods
ImageDSC01274 by Al, on Flickr

Meall na Lice 2013
ImageMoon from Youth Hostel, Ossian by Al, on Flickr

Allison was less than enthusiastic but did accompany me to the top which left us a much more manageable 30 minutes to wait for the train. In the little waiting room (as indeed at the one in Roy Bridge) has appeared a great slab of metal related to the Caledonian Sleeper. Looking somewhat like the monolith from 2001-A Space Odessy it has one button for "information" which does...nothing at all (maybe not yet operational). It also has a camera to spy on you. Be warned :shock:

Meall na Lice
ImageDSC01276 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01277 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Lice
ImageDSC01279 by Al, on Flickr

Oops - started the GPS before it was locked on - subtract 365m!!
ImageDSC01280 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01281 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the campsite by 4pm we showered and had our tea. The rain started and continued through the night - at least the midges haven't emerged yet.

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Saturday - let's do the Beinn a'Chlachair 3. I had scoped out a route that just did Pitrigh and Charn along with 5 Sims, leaving a'Chlachair for the next day, but in the pursuit of Munros it seemed foolish to have to do the longish walk in twice. So the three Munros it would be - conditions permitting. We took the wrong turning near the beginning of the track which was irritating, retraced our steps and set off towards Lochan na h-Earba. The Binniens were looking good, but we passed them making for the track up Coire Pitridh. Of concern was the flow and speed of the Allt, after last night's rain coupled with snow-melt. knowing we were supposed to cross over it on return from a'Chlachair this was a moderate worry.

ImageDSC01282 by Al, on Flickr

Not much snow on Creag Pitridh
ImageDSC01284 by Al, on Flickr

Slow steady climb over wet ground then soft snow led us quite quickly to the top of Creag Pitridh. The cairn looked as if it had been recently demolished. Up ahead the whiteness of Geal Charn stretched out along the horizon. A little tricky bit off the top of Creag Pitridh due to steep, frozen snow, requiring the use of an axe. We paused for lunch, noticing a figure on snowshoes with a large rucksack coming up on our right. Pressing onwards to Geal Charn - some deep soft snow drifts but mostly a reasonably firm surface. We arrived at the cairn shortly before the snowshoes lady, who looked familiar.

Summit Pitridh
ImageDSC01285 by Al, on Flickr

Geal Charn
ImageDSC01286 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn a'Chlachair
ImageDSC01288 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01291 by Al, on Flickr

Next, we headed back the way we'd come and prepared to climb up a'Chlachair. Dropping 300m to have to go back up almost 400 :roll: Anyway we were overtaken by snowshoe lady who was making a fair pace despite her large sack. She switched from snowshoes to kick steps up the steep initial section on a'Chlachair whilst we kept a respectful distance behind (but feeling a bit guilty at benefitting from her hard work). She later stopped and we had a brief chat, enough to confirm our suspicion that it was Hazel Strachan (on her 10th Munro Round).

Allison following in the steps of Hazel Strachan
ImageDSC01292 by Al, on Flickr

Summit a'Chlachair
ImageDSC01294 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01295 by Al, on Flickr

At the summit we pondered which way to go - I was a bit concerned about the river crossing and thought we'd either have to cut back upstream quite a bit or continue down the gentler western shoulder, picking up the track by the Allt Cam. We opted for the latter and had an enjoyable time sauntering down the easy curves of the shoulder, ending with some sitting glissades. The track looks to have been recently upgraded with sand and gravel and provided a pleasant cushioned surface to walk on. Notice a Palmate Newt sitting on the track. Back at the car in 9 hours. Another overnight rain.

ImageDSC01299 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01300 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01301 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01302 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01303 by Al, on Flickr

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Sunday - surprised to see some blue sky as we emerge from the tent - that increases the options for today. Hadn't really decided what to do but with clear skies, the Easains would be possible. We drive out to Fersit hoping the good weather will hold. Allison takes a "shortcut" from the car park that leads to a steep ascent up the flank of Creag Fhiaclach then we join the main path towards Meall Cian Dearg. Mesmerising reflections of Stob Coire Sgriodain in Loch Treig. Meall Cian Dearg looks intimidating, with its steep nose heavily laden with snow - granular wet snow that will be unreliable to climb on. We decide we're not going up that way and elect to head around the western flank which proves a much easier option.

ImageDSC01304 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01307 by Al, on Flickr

Grey Corries
ImageDSC01308 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Cian Dearg - we don't fancy it today
ImageDSC01309 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01311 by Al, on Flickr

The snow is softening fast in the warm air (it's around 12 degrees or warmer today). We make it up to the lower section of Stob Coire Mheadhion which has thickly corniced edges - I'm already feeling a bit apprehensive about the climb up to Easain and walk slowly like a man approaching his own execution. We make it to the summit of Mheadhoin just as the clag rolls in and obscures Easain. I don't fancy going up there in whiteout conditions and remind myself how much fun it might be to climb it from the Lairig Leachach. Another day. But the clag rolls away again and we have the opportunity to get up today.

Towards Mheadhoin
ImageDSC01313 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Mheadhoin
ImageDSC01315 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01316 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01317 by Al, on Flickr

We trot down the snowy/rocky cone of Mheadhoin to the bealach and start the 150m upclimb to Easain. The snow is really wet and untrustworthy here - lots of snowballing. Fortunately, the slopes above are not excessively loaded although the sun has melted the footprints of previous walkers. We make it to the top, where there's a small cornice to break through to reach the summit cairn. I sigh a deep one of relief and head down carefully. We remount Mheadhoin then track back along our footprints the way we came. A better weekend than we had dared to hope for and some interesting moments on these grand hills.

Almost at the summit of Easain
ImageDSC01318 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01320 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01323 by Al, on Flickr
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