Time for another Webteam charity walk for Cancer Research and this time our target was Meall Ghaordaidh. Fairly easy to get to from Glasgow, a straightforward Munro up and down if the weather is bad, with the option of adding in the Corbett next door if we felt like it.
It would just be myself and Craig and with the forecast horrific we decided to set off a little later on the Sunday since the weather looked like being slightly less horrific from midday onwards. We were fulling expecting to get a good soaking but it wasn't bothering us, that's what waterproof gear is for, however it still makes sense to minimise the chance of this if possible!
It was drizzly then sunny on the drive up and of course not long after entering Glen Lochay it started bucketing down.
We arrived at the lay-by car park for Meall Ghaordaidh and were relieved to reach here without having to pass a car going in the other direction as there were very few passing places at the start of Glen Lochay. Nobody else was around, we also expected this due to the weather, suits us just fine! Getting ready in the rain meant waterproofs on from the off.
Through the gate at the start of the walk, Craig commented that a big sign saying Munro this way wasn't the norm!
IMG_20190526_122548 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A good track takes us towards Meall Dhuin Croisg, craggy western outcrop of Meall nan Tarmachan:
IMG_20190526_123007 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Past some ruined crofts and some noisy lambs that even got a bit bammy with us on the path before running after Mum!
IMG_20190526_123111 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The track soon turns into a grassy path:
IMG_20190526_123408 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
This leads to the wall and stile which we head over:
IMG_20190526_123517 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At this point, if you haven't read it yet, check out Bobble Hat Kenny's brilliant walk report on Meall Ghaordaidh, I enjoyed chuckling at his prose throughout this walk and agree that it is a masterful hill of function, no nonsense, go up a hill and come down if you do the standard route.
Sometimes, when the weather is minging and you are heading into the mountains, it's good to not have to think much or worry about navigation. Meall Ghaordaidh allows this. Memorise the route and BHK's walk report and you are pretty much all set, you can't go wrong - track, path, pole, path, uphill, summit, back down, bingo!
The track veers left and uphill some more and it doesn't take long for the pole to come into view:
IMG_20190526_124339 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
There it is:
IMG_20190526_124345 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Directly north the 11th highest Corbett Beinn nan Oighreag is in view now. On any other day we would have added this into the walk but it probably wasn't the best day for it:
IMG_20190526_124351 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Across the Allt Dhuin Croisg we could make out a group of three walkers that looked to be heading for the Corbett although they were taking a different path to the WH route:
IMG_20190526_124547 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the pole and cairn marking the head uphill point:
IMG_20190526_124601 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We also pass the second sink of the day, earlier on we passed a broken one. It's the first time either of us has seen two on a hill!
IMG_20190526_125512 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The drizzly kind of rain that keeps the atmosphere damp but doesn't give you a proper soaking had gone away as we started ascended. Rain and clouds did seem to be depositing more on the surrounding peaks, crags and glens. Looking back down to the entrance of Glen Lochay:
IMG_20190526_125559 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We started heading uphill, not realising the path actually veered right a little then went uphill. A self enforced off-piste start to the ascent!
IMG_20190526_130111 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Behind us to the east the summit of Beinn nan Eachan briefly popped into view:
IMG_20190526_130435 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Pointy from the west:
IMG_20190526_130443 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Before long we eventually joined the proper path after our instincts veered us to the right. Now Meall Ghaordaidh isn't a hill where you have to worry about a false summit. Being a Meall (big rounded lump) means you keep ascending and the horizon of the hill just keeps on going, no teasing here:
IMG_20190526_130759 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Trudge trudge... it's a bit like Ben More but not as steep or never ending:
IMG_20190526_131555 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
After a while, not too long as we were making good progress, the summit comes into view:
IMG_20190526_132106 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
No false summits here proclaimed Meall Ghaordaidh, what you see is what you get:
IMG_20190526_132113 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Further up the Glen the rain was incessant and would stay that way for the whole walk:
IMG_20190526_132344 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
You just stay there rain:
IMG_20190526_132349 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The middle section gets a little boggier as we head straight for the summit along the path, dodging a few of the worst bits:
IMG_20190526_132541 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The summit was still in the clouds but that was still better than what we had expected, with the cloud base forecast to be much lower throughout the day:
IMG_20190526_132554 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Sunlight hit just below the misty summit, this was already proving to be better visibility than Goatfell last weekend:
IMG_20190526_132601 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On our right Cam Chreag the Munro Top of Meall Ghaordaidh was in view and looking steep with Beinn nan Oighreag's summit far right:
IMG_20190526_133014 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Behind us the Tarmachan ridge was coming in and out of view. Tarmachan in view:
IMG_20190526_133021 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Rain still hitting the ridges and Glen Lochay to the south while we were enjoying a relatively dry ascent, so far!
IMG_20190526_133025 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Soon the path turns a bit rockier as the Meall with the pointy and rocky summit continues to surprise and delight:
IMG_20190526_133452 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Tarmachan out of view:
IMG_20190526_133501 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig and I had enjoyed a good blether the whole way and had already decided we had chosen the perfect hill for our walk today. We were also hopeful that we would get some brief summit views once we got there but I suppose you can't have everything, it wouldn't happen!
IMG_20190526_133640 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig up ahead:
IMG_20190526_134102 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig at the Craigs!
IMG_20190526_134109 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig Mor! Sorry i'll stop now.
IMG_20190526_134150 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
There are a few steeper sections before you reach the summit, first one done, second one ahead:
IMG_20190526_134413 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Since we will soon lose visibility I take a few final shots of our surroundings - Meall nan Tarmachan getting a soaking again:
IMG_20190526_134418_1 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Rain still missing us:
IMG_20190526_134423 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The now rockier summit:
IMG_20190526_135114 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Third steeper section before the summit:
IMG_20190526_135119 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Craig entering the clouds:
IMG_20190526_135640 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190526_135818 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Approaching the summit, quite annoying as the clouds were only just sitting at the top of the mountain, 20 feet higher and we would be able to see a lot more, close but no cigar!
IMG_20190526_135936 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was also a bit breezier now and our pleas to the mountain to give us one of those rare, silent summits with no wind, a bit like a bubble of calm, were ignored! Luckily Meall Ghaordaidh would provide us with a handy summit shelter cairn with trig pillar cheerry on top:
IMG_20190526_140204 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Made it, here comes Craig:
IMG_20190526_140254 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Shelter now required as it was a tad breezier and the waterproof cover of my bag was now flapping about a bit and making more noise, so much for our peaceful summit bubble!
IMG_20190526_140320 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Once we sat down we got our wish, the wind evaporated and we enjoyed our lunch, even if the view was lacking. Fed and watered, I set up the tripod for a quick summit shot of the two of us:
IMG_20190526_141607 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Me just before disaster struck:
IMG_20190526_142359_1 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We checked out the nice quartzite scar at the summit then were about to head down before a gust of wind appeared, followed by a rattling then a whoosh... we turned to see my rucksack rain cover take off to the north east and launch about 50 feet up into the mist!!
^%$"^£"&%!!! We looked at each other as I said oh well, Craig couldn't help but laugh! We set off in the direction of some rocks before a steeper descent and I looked down to see the rain cover stuck behind a large boulder, the last one before the hillside continued downwards. What a stroke of luck!!
I rushed down to grab it, risking a slip on my arse but managing to stay upright, then held my raincover aloft in a victorious pose! Yes that was lucky! Meall Ghaordaidh was pulling out all the stops to ensure our walk went without incident.
Back on the path and before long we were leaving the summit clouds again and this time my raincover was properly attached!
IMG_20190526_142941 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
IMG_20190526_143451 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Back down we go, no hassle, just follow the path we took up:
IMG_20190526_144512 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall nan Tarmachan still hiding, one of the most enjoyable walks in the southern highlands:
IMG_20190526_144515 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Cam Chreag and Beinn nan Oighreag to our left on the way down, i'll be back for them another day:
IMG_20190526_144518 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back at Meall Ghaoraidh's summit:
IMG_20190526_144523 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Our descent was fairly rapid, in fact we realised we were at around the 3 hour mark which seemed a bit ridiculous but then we hadn't really stopped for long on the summit, or for breaks on the way up. I said this was probably due to the conditions and me not stopping every few minutes to take photos:
Meall Dhuin Croisg:
IMG_20190526_151928 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We were soon back at the track and heading towards the wall and stile again:
IMG_20190526_151933 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Further up Glen Lochay it was looking ominous:
IMG_20190526_152220 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The three walkers we had seen heading for Beinn nan Oighreag earlier were not too far ahead of us:
IMG_20190526_152300 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Over the wall with Creag Mhor directly south:
IMG_20190526_152606 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Having had an easy day so far and with rain incoming, we decided to live it up a little and take a slight detour to check out the standing stone on the OS map:
IMG_20190526_152726 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Just the one, hidden in the ruins:
IMG_20190526_152816 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We then investigated the cup and ring marked rock but found it a bit underwhelming so continued on to the car just as the rain started. Perfect timing, the perfect hill and the perfect walk for charity completed on a not so perfect day.
A huge thank you to everyone that donated to our cause, very much appreciated! We had done the walk in 3 hours 15 minutes but it wasn't a speed challenge, we simply went up a hill and came down.
Craig and I decided that we both really enjoyed Meall Ghaordaidh, but don't take our word for it, take Kenny's then get up there and enjoy it yourself, maybe you'll get a view, it owes me one, so I will return another day to enjoy one of the easier Munros although next time i'll do a bit more than the tourist route.
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