8th January 2019
Just for a change, and because the weather was relatively benign, I ventured up to the summit of Creag Meagaidh today. It’s definitely a bit of a graunch getting there, more so due to the time constraints of a SAIS forecasting day. Normally, after being on the hill, we need to be sitting down in front of a computer by 3pm in order to formulate the words of wisdom and get the report to the SAIS Co-ordinator for moderation by 4pm latest. Time is tight.
Creag Meagaidh summit is comfortably the most remote spot on our patch. If we’re to visit it on a work day we need a good weather forecast and an early start. Most hill-walking folk approach from Coire Ardair since the main path is excellent and gives relatively fast access, and you then gain the summit via The Window and plateau area. Other options from the A86 would be via the Moy Coire, or the Creag Mhor ridge taking in Puist Coire Ardair. (See map below.)
Couldn’t face going up the Coire Ardair path again since I was there yesterday so chose the ‘left field’ option of the Beinn a Chaorainn forest track and a yomp up to Bealach a Bharnish, thence up a broad ridge and onto the plateau. Not the quickest but I was keen for sustained views to the north and south, a combination you don’t really get with the other approaches.
(Above) The view north from the broad ridge above the Bealach a Bharnish. The wind turbines don’t really enhance the view. Or the sense of wilderness.
(Above) Looking north down from Creag Meagaidh summit to the south-facing crags that guard the approach to The Window. Another (different) windfarm in the far distance. A pox upon the fair visage of our remote, wild places?
(Above) Looking South from the summit, down and across the steep East-facing crags of the Moy Coire. Very little new wind-drifted snow today.Â My camera decided to shoot in monochrome for some reason. Geeky fact: Today’s formal snow observations took place near here and is almost certainly the highest SAIS snowpit ever logged in our area, measured at 1110m above sea level.
(Above) Monochrome again (…not sure what’s going on with the camera). A small triangle of Loch Trieg framed by the dark bulk of Beinn a Chaorainn (to the right) and one of the outliers of the Grey Corries. Rimed up grass aplenty on plateau areas. Favourable ground conditions made for very fast travel up high today.
(Above) Camera resumes normal service. Beinn a Chaorainn’s East Ridge, a sporting Alpine-like route when in proper winter condition.
(Above) The view towards Sron a Ghoire from Loch Laggan-side. A cosmetic frosting of snow above 850m. Much of the white colour in the photos is rimed up grass rather than snow.
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