Monday, October 22, 2007

Laggan and the Monadh Liath: Carn Liath (127), Stob Poite Coire Ardair (76) and Creag Meagaidh (30)

Walk date: 21/10/07
My Munro #'s: 133, 134 and 135

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Kaarn Leea - grey hill - 1006m
Stop potya kor aardar - peak of the pot of the high corrie - 1054m
Crayk meggie - bogland rock - 1128/1130m

Duration - 08:15 - 14:05
Distance - 19.8 km
Total ascent - 1143m
Weather - Beautiful morning; still with broken cloud. Cloud down for a while on tops and with moderate blustery wind, but followed by sunny and still afternoon.
Team - solo
Other hikers: 3 or more from (really) afar

A pretty easy route, but I'd try a different descent:

This was a very satisfying day out and was the first part of an intensive hiking weekend. As Sonia and her club were off to Newtonmore for a First Aid weekend, I thought I could go along and just head out to the hills. As a result of such a nearby stay then, it came to be that I could set off hiking pre-sunrise; I turned the GPS on and it was still in its night-mode!

The path starting out from the Aberarder carpark is well sign-posted to get you clear of the farm area. Soon you are rising into the glen alongside Allt Coire Ardair. However, if you are going for Carn Liath first as was I, watch out for a very subtle path branching off just before the trees start to litter the side of the main route. It's a little boggy at first but becomes better as it climbs (and keep rising as there are further branches that seem to head along if not down). The increase in rocks towards the summit of Carn Liath means the path becomes indistinct, but there's no real worry here and the top is soon reached (~1 and a half hours out for me).

The morning sky was just amazing:

Not a photoshop effect! Decent light I guess:

First sight of the head of the glen and 'the window':

Loch Laggan sitting pretty:

Carn Liath's flat top and its welcomed cairn:

After an amazing climb in stunning autumnal colours and wonderful still morning air, it was only fair that the cloud came in and the wind got up. In this state then I quickly moved on along the broad ridge encircling the fantastic glen below. Only an unexpected drop and rise at Min Choire broke up the quick progress to Stob Poite Coire Ardair, which is merely the crest of this gentle northern-side ridge.

That drop and rise at Min Coire, head right:

Grand and easy walking to Stob Poite Coire Ardair:

The shallow crest of Stob Poite Coire Ardair:

I had read that the drop and rise of the window at the end of the glen which separated Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Creag Meagaidh was quite severe but it's not really. The height lost isn't severe and there are rewarding views of Carn Dearg and Lochan Uaine to the west. Just get on with it!

Once back on the top, a western turn is necessary to reach Creag Meagaidh and its prominent cairn. It's a good 1km away so expect 15mins or so if visibility is limited. My recommended descent is then to return to the window and take the good path down the glen. I took the alternative of completing the circling of the glen along the ridge and descending over broad grass and heather slopes. The views along this route were great, but the going was a lot slower than I'd imagined as the work underfoot was quite tiring. No matter, eventually I found a wooden post marking a Landrover track and then a bridge back over Allt Coire Ardair and right along to the farm. A superb walk.

The window from its head, not all that:

Carn Dearg from the back of Creag Meagaidh:

The summit of Creag Meagaidh had been visited recently!

Heading to Sron a' Ghoire:

An Cearcallach and Coire nan Laogh:

An Cearcallach looking good:

Lochan a' Choire a long way down:

And the panoramic version:

The abominable hiker strikes again:

Finally dropping some height towards Laggan:

Allt Coire Ardair suiting autumn:

That 'Monarch of the Glen' castle on Laggan:

And its gate-house isn't bad either:

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Anonymous Andrew Leach said...

You are weird

23 October 2007 at 18:16  
Blogger Scott said...

three more munros bite the dust.

the family and I just booked our summer holiday trip for next year. looks like we'll be doing two weeks in ireland. we plan to hire a wee auto and drive a big circle tour of the island (hopefully getting in some great hikes as well).

should be a fun trip!

24 October 2007 at 02:42  
Blogger George Walks said...

Leach - You didn't know that?

Scott - That sounds like a great gaelic trip. I've been to Dublin and the north but that's all. Guinness in Dublin have a great tour and the bars in the Temple Bar are wonderful. Then there's Bushmills for whisky in the north. I have also heard many good things about the walking in Ireland, but I've had too many to enjoy here so far!! I'm sure it will be fun.

24 October 2007 at 16:49  

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