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Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?


Postby mountain coward » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:29 am

Route description: Meall Ghaordaidh from Glen Lochay

Munros included on this walk: Meall Ghaordaidh

Date walked: 02/01/2011

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On my way home from Crianlarich today, despite it being horrid weather, drizzle, wind getting up and no viz, I decided to have a crack at nice, easy, grassy Munro - Meall Ghaordaidh... What a waste of time – only the second time I've ever turned back from a Munro I think! :( Basically, I thought it was a nice, straightforward grassy lump.

I headed off up into the mist on the featureless hillside. The Munro book said it's easy going until near the top when you come across a few 'outcrops' and it gets a little steeper. After about an hour and quarter of steady climbing and after crossing some nearly flat peat-hagged ground, I got a nasty shock! Suddenly, looming out of the mist, were some rather large crags - very vertical, at least 40 or 50 feet high and swathed in ice! My first thought was that I was on the wrong mountain!

By this time I was in a horizontal blizzard, thick unstable snow and a gale and could barely see anything. There were rocks and holes everywhere making any further progress difficult. I had a study of the map and thought maybe there were some crags on a ridge going to the right of the mountain (Cam Chreag) but there were definitely no other crags shown on the map, nor had I heard of any mentioned previously.

I looked round where I'd come up after doing a bit of a traverse to the left under said crags (and still finding ground as steep as the crags) and saw there was a river 'valley' coming up towards me at an odd angle (from the SW)- I definitely didn't pass anything like that on the way up! I decided I was probably thoroughly lost and just took a bearing to get me the hell off whatever I was on and descended back to my car.

So, my question is: Who put those crags there? Why? And when are they going to remove them please??

I'm a bit upset at having failed on such a simple Munro! :(
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:45 am

Must have been Cam Chreag, do you think. Near the top the stream between the two runs NE-SW, so that could have been your valley. Things look much bigger in the mist?

There certainly aren't any crags on the route up Meall Ghaordaidh itself. Or weren't, the last time I was there!
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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby cjwaugh » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:15 am

Sounds like you've went off the route to the left where there is a steep section with a couple off craggy bits or at least it looked like that when we did this hill in a blizzard
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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby Alan S » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:31 am

its a pity you had to turn around here,maybe you can return when those crags have disappeared :D
what happened to ben challum? hope youre still in the area and it wasnt a wasted journey
look forward to more reports if you are

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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby yokehead » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:35 pm

Sounds like you were too far to the north on your ridge ascent so have ended up east of the summit, there are crags between the summit and Cam Chreag (Cam Chreag is separate from Ghaordaidh and the crags are bigger than those you describe). I saw the crags when I walked in up the valley a couple of weeks ago, I'd intended to go to the summit that way. That would make sense with the river valley coming up from the SW.
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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby mountain coward » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:35 am

I've had a good study of the map at home (now it's not being torn apart by a gale and soaked with snow and I'm not huddled amongst said crags trying to read it). I think Yokehead's right and I was east of the summit 'cone'. It wasn't Cam Chreag as I see that has a little peak on its west end and I did see that peak across a little valley immediately east of me when the clag cleared for about a minute (and it definitely wasn't the peak to the east of Cam Chreag as I'd seen that on the way up and it was a totally different shape). Bearing in mind I had a shallow little valley immediately to my right with a very small peak beyond it, the NE/SW river below me and these crags in front of me, I think I'd headed North following what I thought was a bit of a path when I reached the bouldery area (and the thick snow) instead of continuing north-east. So I think I was looking at the steep bit shown on the map on the east of the final rise to the summit. My OS map definitely doesn't admit to there being any crags though! I'm giving that route a miss in future as it's too featureless to navigate up in my opinion - I'm going to do it from Glen Lyon instead - it looks a much more interesting route anyway and quite a bit shorter. Isn't it a shame you can't really hang around in those conditions and do this kind of detailed analysis and therefore make the summit!

I did do Beinn Challum on the Saturday and enjoyed it (when I found it in the clag) but was very disappointed that I didn't see the beautiful sight of its snowy ridge like in other people's photos! Nor any of the views from it. I was even more annoyed when, as we reached the valley afterwards, the day suddenly turned beautifully sunny and Beinn Challum did appear (if only its south peak as you can't see the rest from the valley). It was faintly amusing that I started the walk alone, joined up with 3 others from Crianlarich Youth Hostel that I caught up and started chatting to on the way up the South summit climb. Leaving the summit we then added another to our expanding group as we picked up a guy who was a bit lost and reascending the main summit after a few attempts at finding his way off it. So my lone walk turned into a group of 5!;-)
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Re: Possibly Meall Ghaordaidh?

Postby mountain coward » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:58 am

Okay - found them - I didn't imagine the crags, they just aren't shown on the OS map. They're on the map in this article though and they mention them towards the end of the post... quote:

"Only later does the ground steepen and the path turns NNW through an under-mapped craggy area, requiring care on a misty day, to reach the summit cone. The stony top has a large circular cairn surrounding a trig point and provides good shelter, as well as being a good viewpoint.

On return, retrace your steps, staying well clear of more substantial crags east of the summit."

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotsmanmagazine/Meall-Ghaordaidh--a-landmark.3964576.jp

Also found this pic on another website which shows exactly where I was. I think the crags were probably less extensive than I thought but I think the fact that they appeared when I thought I was on a cragless mountain, and the prevailing lack of visibility, and the weather all combined to put me off and cause me to retreat! :( They look big when you're stood directly underneath them in that weather honest!
Meall Ghaordaidh Crags!.jpg
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