West Glen Coe wee hills. November 2009

Date: Saturday 28th November 2009
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 1500m

We had a few plans for walks heading up for the SHills meet at Corran – a complex forecast suggested we had a pocket of good weather in the area.

We had an eye on Meall Mor and Sgurr a Choise – I’d been thinking of linking these with Fraochaidh – a long day but Bagger’s Glencoe 5 + 1 report gave me the thought of revisiting Meall Ligiche to make a nice loop.

Some trouble emerging from bed on Saturday – the Inchree pub open til late hours meant an unwillingness to rise.

Parked up in the parking area opposite Signal Rock and checked options – I’d initially thought to head straight up Meall Mor but there was cloud up there and I really wanted a clear view from there so we headed up the track of Gleann-leac-na-muidhe.

The owners have started a diversion track around the houses (private gardens) as with many of these diversions the first 50m looks in good nick and thereafter it’s a bit of a mess. To be fair it looks a work in progress but at the moment it’s boggy. 😦

Trees full of siskins here. Meall Ligiche cloud free.

Rumours had indicated the river had been a bit full the day before but levels had been dropping so fording the Allt was fairly easy at the end of the track.

The ascent of Creag Bhan is steep and a bit of a slog – a few fieldfares around here. Persistent cloud layer at the W end of the Eagach.

The Ben poked into view behind the Pap.

Once on the summit line we had the sun. A mist layer was blowing through at our altitude but thin stuff.

Beinn a Bheithir:

Stob Coire nam Beithe:

The summit ridge is easy walking to the summit on grass. A lot better than 50mph winds and horizontal rain last time.

Scran taken at the summit – some nice Brockens and Fog Bows here.

Headed NW from the summit trying to keep to the shallowest decent down the hanging bog met the forest at about NN 090 536 and followed the fence round to cross the bealach.

Sgorr a Choise and Meall Mor:

From there a steep climb up Sgorr a Choise – a fine little hill. Views behind to Bidean:

Down to Loch Creran:

The summit suddenly is achieved – an airy viewpoint. Hazel at summit:

Ballachullish:

Beinn a Bheithir:

Binnein Mor:

At this point I was thinking of leaving Meall Mor for another day – there had been a mist layer around it and in Glen Coe all day – but it now cleared. Reckoned heading to the summit for sunset would be entertaining.

Descent the same way – view back:

Moon rising over Bidean:

The ascent of Meall Mor provided views of Bidean and Sgorr a Choise:

Pushed hard up the slopes of Meall Mor to get some great views of the surrounding hills and glens.

Ballachullish Bridge:

The Pap, Mamores and the Ben:

Bidean:

Glen Coe:

Mamores pano:

Meall Mor pano:

A cloud bank must have robbed the Ben of sunset as we had the sun for longer on the Graham.

Sun down and a quick drop to the glen. Did not fancy the direct descent – murderously steep on saturated grass/moss in lowering light seemed a bad move.

Fraochaidh and mist sunset:

Took the SW ridge curling S to glen by last light. Headtorches on. At this point I thought we were down-stream from our crossing point and headed N 200m. Realised we’d been almost at it but thought the river looked OK and had a nibble at crossing. A badly judged step on a thinly-iced rock pitched me sideways into the river. A piece of world-class contortionism kept the water-soaking to 2 arms, 1 leg and critically kept my SLR out of the drink.

Hazel managed not to laugh and even managed passable sympathy (it was too dark to see her face).

Back down-stream and crossed at the planned point with no trouble and a quick, damp march along the road had us back to the car.

Another great day on the “Lesser Hills” 😉

A fine evening ensued at the SHills winter meet. 🙂

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