Carn Liath from Garvamore. March 2013

Date: Wednesday 13th March 2013
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 800m

A bit of a weather swirl with snow showers packing in from the north but the chance of sun to the south. An improving day so had a leisurely breakfast.

Breakfast time:

When we climbed the Graham Creag Ruadh in Dec 2011 the east arm of Carn Liath with its corries had caught our attention:

Decided to go for a wander and see what it looked like. Parked up at a little quarry area NN 536 935. A gate 50m west allows access to a track which runs uphill from here. The track (of sorts) actually continues all the way to the summit ridge.

Views quickly build out over the Spey Dam.

H ascending Carn Dubh

The track ascends beside a notable cleft – the Dirc an Uillt Fhearna

As for the whole day periods of sunshine were interspersed with pulses of snow showers.

Snow shower approaching

Stopped at the Carn Dubh trig point and added some layers for the easy-angled walking ahead. Once up the initial hill the remainder of the walk is pretty much hands in pockets stuff.

150m further climb to ascend Stob a Coire Dubh.

Ascent above Coire a Bhein

H on drift:

Spotted a solitary Golden Eagle circling above the Coire a Bhein cliffs before it turned and headed west with a series of stoops and climbs.

Once up to the 900m mark the views west have the potential to open out although we were still looking at cloud further out. The northern arm of Meall a Chaorrain Mor was lit up by some sunshine.

Meall a Chaorrain Mor:

From here we followed the fenceline to the first of the south facing coires – Coire Dubh.

Approach to Coire Dubh

Great air clarity between the showers – north over Corrieyarrick to Strathfarrar:

Coire Dubh was well worth a careful edge round the cornice. Spent a wee while wandering here and enjoying the various sights.

Coire Dubh:

Ben Tee with Ladhar Bheinn to its left:

Coire Dubh lip:

K and cloud:

Laggan Binneins:

Coire Dubh snow devil:

Wandered off further west. From Coire Dubh it’s a 2.5km stroll to the munro via the 2nd Coire – Coire nan Gall.

The wind was weaker than earlier in the week – but with an air temp of -4C and a stiff breeze it still felt Baltic. Lovely sunshine it may have been but it lacked warmth.

Sun, snow and blue:

Coire nan Gall is even more impressive than Coire Dubh.

Coire nan Gall:

Coire nan Gall Pano:

From here a stroll along the fence line on A’Bhuidheanach on patches of hard-pack snow was punctuated by another brisk snow flurry.

A’Bhuidheanach approach:

Reached the munro summit as the sun was re-emerging. Sat and had some lunch out of the wind and enjoyed the view. Creag Meagaidh eventually showed itself.

Creag Meagaidh from Carn Liath:

Loch Laggan from Carn Liath:

Started back for the car – just a straight reverse route. There were better views west for the first 30 minutes or so. The air clarity meant some old friends to the west were on show.

Sgurr na Ciche:

Carn Liath from A’Bhuidheanach:

The familiar profile of the Graham An Stac above Loch Morar – next time we camp on the summit I’ll look for Creag Meagaidh:

We’d seen 2 ravens on the way out – they were still around on the return. At this point they were both walking (and digging) the snow on the cornice of Coire nan Gall. No idea why – perhaps they were trying to tempt us out onto the edge!

Raven on cornice:

The biggest snow shower of the day came packing in at this point and swallowed us up for 30 minutes.

Watching the approaching flurry:

Last look S to the Lawers group:

Although it feels as though that’s it for the day sure enough patches of blue show through before the flurry roars on to the south.

Descent from Stob Coire Dubh:

Laggan Binneins:

It was a quick descent back down to the car.

Down to the Spey Dam:

An enjoyable route – little used I suspect, but with great views. Makes for an easy winter bimble.

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