I flew up on the Thursday night and stayed over at Inverness SYHA. After a relatively sleepless night (some drunk came in at 1.30am and chose my bunk to perform his endless ramblings) I drove down the A9 to the A86, past Netwonmore and along Loch Laggan to the start of this walk. (ref 432830). After the 2 hr drive and no sleep I wasn't feeling the best for a 3 Munro session. My car was the only one in the large laybay, so it wasn't going to be a busy route. The forecast was for rain and snow flurries with some sun, so typical Scottish spring weather. The route starts crossing over the bridge just at the end of Loch Laggan and follows a wide lane towards a wood.
The lane curves left and splits into two. Carrying straight on takes you to private houses, so turn left to a large metal gate. Go through this and follow the good track for about 1km to a T-junction. Turning left would take you down to Loch Laggan, so turn right and follow the trail for another 3km passing a small lochan on your right.
Eventually after about 1 hr you'll see Lochan Na H-Earba which is an idyllic location. It has a large beach and wild camping space if desired. I met a group here that were doing the East highland Way and were following this edge of the lochan as an alternative route to the official one.
After a quick chat and some scran, I followed the track SE which started to climb slowly. I passed a couple of tents on the way taking advantage of the location.
At this point I had to make a decision which way to attempt the 3 Munros. Given I wasn't 100% I decided to do them clockwise with Creag Pitridh first. This would allow me to make the decision of the 3rd munro (Beinn a Chlachair) at the bealach. So to climb the first one I had to come off the track and head NE.
There's no obvious path or route to do this, so I just kept to the side of the crags Sgurr an t- Saogjdeir. Keeping high, this missed out most of the peat bogs lower down. After a slow slog up I got to the top around 3.5 hrs from the start. With good views and a freezing wind I didn't hang around.
I could see the 2nd Munro Geal Charn (my last Geal Charn!!) in the distance. There are some crags to the east to avoid, so I went south first and picked up a small track that led down to the bealach. After a bit of lunch and pitstop, sheltered from the wind, I headed East up Geal Charn. This was an annoying hill. Although you could see the top from the bealach, getting to it was a pain.
The hill is covered in boulders and it was slow progress of ankle wobbling! After about 1hr 15min I was at the top. Again, the weather wasn't the best. Freezing winds and snow flurries meant I again didn't hang around. Again the descent off was SW towards Beinn a Chlachair. So by the time I got to the bealach between the two, it was around 2.45pm. Decision time....at that moment a furious hail storm dumped its load on me. Although I knew the weather was very changeable throughout the day I wasn't wanting to walk through this.
Along with that, no sleep, and the fact of a long walk back it wasn't a tough decision to make. I was also wanting to have fresh legs for the next day's walk up Creag Megaidh. So I took the track off the bealach and followed it back to the start again. En route, I was hit by snow and hail storms. The idyllic Lochan I passed on the way up, I could barely see now as the hail continued to hit my face.
Looking at my GPS at the end it was 23km so it was longer than I was expecting. I didn't get back to the car till 5pm. I was glad I left out the 3rd munro. Overall, an enjoyable walk if it wasn't for the freezing winds, and hail/snow flurries. Still, at least I was glad to get a good night's sleep in Newtonmore hotel later..no more YHA's I think !
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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.