Wall Gully & path artefacts
27th January 2023
(Above) The approach to Wall Gully at 900m on Sron Coire a Chriochairein. The remains of the eponymous wall in the foreground. The ‘gully’ (more of a shallow, inclined re-entrant) provides us with a safe, high, snow sampling spot with a good outlook to Coire Chriochairein and the Post Face in upper Coire Ardair. Got the timing for views all wrong today, with visibility notable by its absence for most of the morning. Naturally, it improved as I was leaving the hill.
Good firm snow-ice where the old snowpack is exposed with just a little new, thin windslab here and there on N to E aspects above 900m.
(Above) Location of Wall Gully. With good snow cover it’s often a pleasant ski descent off the plateau down towards the main Coire Ardair path.
(Above) Said wall, where it intersects the main Coire Ardair path. It’s a poorly executed bit of wall building and probably cobbled together by the farmer from Aberarder back in the mists of time. (A well-made wall would have a much wider base – up to 90cm depending on height – and be built using the old rule of thumb, ‘Two over one, one over two and keep the middle full’. I could bore you for hours on wall (dyke) building but this is most certainly the wrong place to give it a proper airing.)
(Above) Looking up towards the Post Face of Coire Ardair during the morning.
(Above) Interesting cloud cap over the Creag Meagaidh massif as the weather started to improve later.
(Above) Happened upon this piece of old wooden railway sleeper, an artefact of the old path that predates the existing gravel/aggregate walking surface. It ran from where the line of the path breaks out of the juvenile birch at 450m right up to the lochan. That was a lot of old railway sleepers. Must have seemed like a good idea at the time but once covered in water (or worse, ice with a thin layer of meltwater) they became a thing of dread after a hard day on the hill. A guaranteed 4km of divvy dancing (origin: scouse slang) carrying a large rucsac. A pain in the arse? Many, many times! Took a while to remove the old sleepers and build up the new path which wasn’t complete until sometime in 2007. There’s an old 2006 blog post (sans photos, unfortunately) about it here: https://meagaidhblog.sais.gov.uk/2006/12/early-season-stuff/
(Above) The railway sleepers were secured in place with a huge number of square section wooden posts, some of which can be still seen like the one in the foreground above.
(Above) The Big Picture. The Creag Mhor ridge and Sron a Ghoire this afternoon. Quite patchy cover now below 800m. Above this, the old exposed snowpack is quite hard – and in places icy – with long runouts for the unwary or ill-equipped.
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