Meall an t-Slamain – untrustworthy forecasting. January 2010.

Date: Sat 9th January 2010
Distance: 11km
Ascent:900m

Excellent – a firm forecast for cloud-free sunny skies with beautiful snow-covered mountains.

Cast around for a low avalanche risk route with great views and came up with Meall an t-Slamain progressing if able on to Stob Coire a Chearcaill.

Forecast for -20C in the glens with clear skies – got up with cloudy skies and -2C. 😕

Caught the 0730 Corran Ferry and parked at the jetty at CamusnaGaul at 0755. Just getting light.

There’s a forest track 100m N from the jetty that takes you up to a viewpoint at 80m elevation at NN093 754.

This gives access up heathery slopes to the NE ridge of Meall an t-Slamain.

Fort William:

Transmitter:

The plan had been – kick off 1 hour before sunrise, be on the ridge at sunrise – sun visible over the Mamores and Alpenglow on Beinn Bhan and Druim Fada. Reality? Grey clag.

Just a hint of sun here and there

Unconsolidated snow remains a problem – 2hrs to a summit that should have taken 1hr or so.

The snow pack is a but unsettled too – on several occasions on flat snow areas a “whoomph” noise spread out from where I was – presumably a fluffy layer or airspace collapsing.

Summit view was still grey but we had hopes of clearing.

Timings were looking poor but I wondered about the Corbett Stob Coire a Chearcaill with an escape N to the road and headtorching back so we headed downslope to 267m to start up that slope.

The absence of clearing skies and further poor progress led to a decision to reverse route back to the car – the reascent of Meall an t-Slamain gave the day a decent total climb (esp in unconsolidated snow). Stopped about 4km and 300m climb short of the summit.

Noticed this snow track on the way back – something slid down the slope – does anything other than otters do this?

Spotted this on the reascent – incongruous (?True Lover’s Knot Moth caterpillar):

Better views to the Ben and down Loch Linnhe from Meall an t-Slamain.

Loch Linnhe:

The Ben:

Simple descent – little easier in the snow. Nice views to Fort Bill:

All in all – a good day’s exercise but fairly miffed to have pulled a candidate walk out of the “beautiful days only” folder on a poor day – that said I still plan on going out over Meall an t-Slamain when we come back for the Corbett – the potential views are stunning.

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