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Postby ScotFinn65 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:08 pm

Route description: Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc

Munros included on this walk: Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 31/07/2018

Time taken: 5.6 hours

Distance: 16.1 km

Ascent: 980m

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Having completed the western 2 Lawers the day previous and Ghlas and Lawers itself the day before that: the target for today was the easternmost 3 on the Lawers range, the Circuit of Coire nan Cat.

I was feeling more confident this morning following my first 6 Munros in the previous 3 days. The weather was grey and blustery but skies were pretty clear. I drove the short distance from my accommodation in Killin to the Lawers hotel car park. I guess most people are now familiar with the parking rules if you buy something from the hotel when you get back, so no need to go into that. So I just parked and got changed. As I got changed, a single walker also arrived and we agreed to start walking together.

It was his intention to just take the first 2 Munros, I was intent on completing the 3. We walked the road down past the craft shop and up through the dense glen and following the river side until it was time to cross the open grassland and start the ascent of Meall Greigh. There is nothing much to distinguish the route except the views back over the Tay and across to Coire nan Cat
Lochan nan Cat from ascent to Greigh

We trudged on at a leisurely pace and with a short, final, steeper ascent we were out at an unremarkable top. Still there was a sense of achievement at another Munro and the views were opening up over the rest of the range and beyond.
Meall Greigh summit with Lawers Range behind

At this point it was evident that the wind was picking up. I had an experience of weather changes have way up the Prow of Stuc a'Chroin 4 days earlier and was not intending to have similar issues on An Stuc. I checked the latest forecast and the prediction was 45mph gusts. I also new my walking companion was not planning to take the 3rd Munro today, so I started to have second and third thoughts. At the moment, the wind wasn't that bad and it was still clear, so onward to Meall Garbh.
Glen Lyon Horseshoe and Schiehallion in the background

As we decended to the col between the two Munros, I noticed a trend. The re-ascent was approximately 250m and it was beginning to dawn on me that the normal average was between 150m and 300m. This really helped to get me into the right mindset for future Munros as it prepares the brain for the ascent to come and not to come as a surprise. The view of Ben Lawers from this direction was quite awesome.
Ben Lawers from the col between Meall Greigh and Meall Garbh

The path was destinct and the gradient was not too steep. We followed a line of fence posts most of the way and noted from the col the return route that my companion would take on decent. As we approached the summit, the wind got blustery again and was really picking up. Soon we reached the cairn with excellent views west to An Stuc, Lawers, Ghlas and beyond.
Me at Meall Garbh summit cairn

It was nice to have a clear view of the summits that I had completed on the days before and be able to identify them. As I was totally in the clag on Lawers and Ghlas, it was particularly nice to actually seem them :wink:
An Stuc, Lawers and Ghlas from Meall Garbh summit cairn

Now a decision had to be made. On to the An Stuc scramble or a retreat. I left my companion having a flask of tea just off the north side of Meall Garbh summit (sheltering from the wind) while I walked along the summit ridge toward An Stuc for a closer inspection. It really was appealing and looking great. The skies were clear and no sign I would encounter low cloud. However, the wind was still a concern. Alone on the east face of An Stuc with 45mph gusts was not smart.
A closer look at the east face of An Stuc

I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and made a strategic withdrawal back to meet my walking buddy for the day. We had a quick discussion about the route down and decided that we would take the pathless direct route down to the point where we left the river in the morning and meet the out going path there. This was a bit new for me as I had always used the paths so far (as much as I could follow them anyhow :crazy: ). We started off and were soon back at the col and then just free-styling our way down toward the river. There were some fine views east along loch Tay as we decended.
08_20180731_Tay from Greigh.jpg
Loch Tay

As we returned up the road, I started to realise as small problem that I had created for myself. I had done 6 out of the Lawers 7 but managed to miss (pretty much) the one in the middle :shock: How was I going to manage this without first repeating two (or at least one) that I had already done (without taking some strange route). However, in the time since I done this walk I have come to realise that a lost of people re-walk Munros and take approaches from different directions. This would be a challenge for another day. But still in my mind, I want to tackle the east face and prove something to myself.
Close up of my nemisis from this day

Back to Lawers hotel for a quick drink and a chat with the man that I shared my walk with. He was very experienced walker and I learned a lot from him and even more sitting in the bar. Then it was off to Killin for my last meal at the Courie Inn before I headed toward Glen Coe the next day. Another satisfying day on the hills :clap:

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