Date: Sat-Sun 14th-15th January 2012
Distance: 18km + 18.9km
Ascent: 930m + 700m
The meteorologists had been speaking in tongues all week. Foreign phrases such as “high pressure”, “light winds” and “sunshine” were being used. Much anticipation had built – the tent had been pulled out of the cupboard.
Inverness on Friday and 3 choices to ponder – Cairngorms, Ben Armine/Creag Mhor or Maoile Lunndaidh/An Sidhean. We plumped for the latter on an MWIS forecast of 90% cloud free.
The BBC forecast in the morning suggested some morning cloud would clear back by noon so off we went to the road end at Scardroy Lodge.
We’ve taken to Strathconon – a beautiful glen full of waterfalls and interesting hills. With no munro red routes it’s fairly quiet in terms of walkers too.
Took the track out to Corrievuic and took the track on the N side of the River Meig.
There’s a bridge over the Allt Coire a Bhuic and then the track heads SW towards Maoile Lunndaidh. The day was going according to plan and blue skies were extending.
Passed under Creag na h-Iolaire (complete with its own Iolaire being mobbed by hoodies).
Now the clouds extended NW and it went rather grey.
The River level was reasonably low – local reports had indicated fording would have been difficult a few days before. Trousers rolled up, boots off and mesh shoes on to wade across, no higher than knee height at NH 163 484.
An easy climb to the summit, passing a few ptarmigan groups on the way in their full winter garb.
Sat for a while on the summit. The wind had risen and the clag was down – so much for a beautiful winter summit camp. Discussed options – pitch here (early at 1400), carry on to Sgurr Coire nan Eun or drop to the glen.
A tough call – although sunset was not on the cards things might clear for the morning. In the end we decided to drop to the glen.
Took the track from Torran Ceann Liath down the Allt an Amise to the glen. This track criss-crosses the Allt and would be inadvisable in spate (although the open hill above would allow access).
Found a pitch at some shielings on the Allt na Criche. Quite tired after carrying winter gear and heavier tent.
It was noticeably colder from around 0400 – skies cleared and temps dropped to around -5C. Snug enough in the tent but cold fingers were in store on getting up and out. As morning light grew the local Dipper started to sing – almost the only sound in the glen.
Drove back up Strathconon and parked up at the parking area south of Bridgend. A large track runs to Mains of Dalbreac and then up the hillside to within 600m of the summit of Carn na Coinnich.
Light on our feet with the camping gear and Ice axes in the boot we floated up the hill. 8)
Sat for 45 mins and absorbed the views – I’d been hoping for most of 2 days like this but grab it while you can.
Back to the car and a 4 hr drive home.
A bit of a Pig’s Ear of a weekend – we’ve been spoilt by previous camps and the weather had played foul. Still great to get out in the tent this early in the year. Always a treat.