Our blog - Loch Lochy Munros, Mar'17A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !
Loch Lochy Munros17 March 2017
A day hiking up two Munros west of Loch Lochy in the Great Glen. John was leading...
This winter has been characterised by wind, rain and wet snow, and today was another of the same, apart from the wind being a little kinder at a max. of 30mph, and only then for the briefest of time at our first summit. The low cloud and ceaseless rain was there in abundance however, so I was glad of the chirpy and happy company of Debbie, Lynn, Helen and Emma. It was Emma's first real winter's day, and she was in for the whole experience.
The route was a very straightforward walk, taking in the two munros of Meall na Teanga and Sron a'Choire Ghairbh, but it had been raining hard for days, which was falling as snow over 300m, and freezing was 700m, so that promised to give it some frisson.
We made short work of the track section from Kilfinnan, and were pleased to see some of the improvement work that has been carried out on the path. We were able to follow the path all the way to the bealach at 600m, albeit a little sketchy in places, running with water and covered by drifts of wet snow.
We decided on Meall na Teanga first, which Lynn commented was unusual compared to all her previous visits - When I think back, she's right, I have always done the other first too, so hey, let's be different! The path wasn't obvious under the snow, but I trended upwards towards where I knew it was, and soon enough we were contouring around to the second higher bealach above Coire Leacachain, before donning crampons and forging our way upwards.
There was some ice, but it soon became apparent that deep snow was more the order of the day on that slope, at least until we bashed our way through the cornice and onto the ridge proper, where it was scoured, and only very icy on the final summit section. We therefore took the crampons off again quickly in the biting wind, and made our way smartly to the summit, skirting a large patch of ice some 50m long. It was Emma's first winter munro, and she was high-fived all round.
The descent was punctuated by a snack stop in the lee of the wind, and then we started our ascent of Sron a'Coire Ghairbh by its excellent stalker's path, which zigzags majestically up the hillside. It would be fair to say Emma was feeling the added effort of extra winter kit, big boots and snow underfoot, so we progressed steadily but surely. With only a matter of 200m to go, the team rallied around to spur Emma on to the summit, and tired as she was, she made the top, probably to her own surprise!
Again we wasted no time in taking a photo, and then scuttling off down, pausing briefly to check the direction, as in my haste, I was heading a wee bitty too far SW....quickly rectified within a minute, but a reminder to not lose concentration in the elation of a summit! The path afforded an easy descent, and despite the constant rain, spirits were high as we tramped back along the track to the cars, and the promise of a shower and dry clothes!
Thanks to Debbie, Lynn, Helen and Emma for being such good sports on a wet old winter's day. Particular thanks to the guys for supporting Emma when the going got tough, and for all the help rendered. Well done to all.
More photos by John are here on Flickr.
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