Druim na Maodalaich. 11th February 2017.

Date: Saturday 11th February 2017
Distance: 14.2km
Ascent: 970m

A breezy and cold forecast for Saturday, but with a fairly bright start.
We tend to keep a number of routes for wintry days – favouring those that are not overly challenging technically and have good views.
The Glen Galmadale Horseshoe is one of those – when we did the 2 Corbetts and 1 Graham before we’d really enjoyed the long arm of Druim na Maodalaich which drops from Maol Odhar down to Loch Linnhe at Rubha na h-Airde Uinnsinn. Decided to head up this and see how far we got.

Over the Corran Ferry early doors and parked up at Rubha na h-Airde Uinnsinn before dawn. Simply started at the very tip of Druim na Maodalaich and headed up.

About 75m up there’s a telegraph line crossing, after that it’s all clear.

The sky was getting pink as we got to around 100m.

Kingairloch pre-dawn:

Across Loch Linnhe direct dawn was blocked. Interestingly one hill was lit up – Meall Ligiche.

Meall Ligiche:

It’s mostly continuous uphill, with a little bit of bobbling. A biting wind meant we were heavily clad despite ascending.

H on Druim na Maodalaich:

Eventually the sun started to rise over cloud and light the local hills across Glen Galmadale.

Sun on Beinn na Cille:

….and then, always welcome, winter sunshine rolled over us.

Sunshine:

The snow line was around 500m so we were in it by the time we got up to Meall nan Each. To the south the views were open down the Firth of Lorne to Scarba.

Up to the snow line:

Dropped north of Meall nan Each to the base of Maol Odhar. The Corbett Creach Bheinn kind of looms a bit here.

Creach Bheinn:

Soft snow meant no need for winter gear – an easy plod.

Starting up Maol Odhar:

It was not quite as clear as hoped, but still decent views down the Firth of Lorne across Lismore to Scarba and Jura.

South to Jura:

Clouds had spread across from the east a little – atmospheric, but less sunny.

Maol Odhar ascent:

Up to Maol Odhar and there was a blustery and bitter breeze. Great views of the cliffs as we got to the lip of Coire nam Frithallt.

Maol Odhar cliffs:

The wind was whipping the snow up in snow devil vortices – interesting effect to see.

Snow devils:

At the summit we stopped for food (and all our layers). Rum was just visible in the distance.

Rum:

Mull’s munro rather recognisable too.

Ben More:

We decided to head back down the way we had come – sea views are always tempting and we weren’t convinced the Corbett’s and Graham would add greatly to the views.

As we headed back round the coire lip the view NE to Loch Leven caught the eye.

NE to Loch Leven:

Mam na Gualinn look rather more impressive than it feels to walk from this angle.

Mam na Gualainn and shrouded Mamores:

The NE ridge of Maol Odhar is another ascent option, although in winter we prefer southern approaches for sunshine if possible.

NE ridge of Maol Odhar:

Although it had threatened to cloud in and clag up a bit, by the time we were back down Maol Odhar it had cleared again…oh well.

Creach Bheinn:

At Meall nan Each we were rewarded for our laziness as first one, then a pair of Golden Eagles whisked past from the south heading towards Garbh Bheinn – great to see and made our day.

The views across Loch Linnhe were also fabulous, the snow-line almost drawn with a ruler across the hills.

Loch Linnhe from Meall nan Each:

Plowtered our way downhill – no rush as we had all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves.

A lochan made a nice foreground to Fraochaidh and jumbled other hills.

Lochan:

As we were about to drop down the last few hundred metres we had one last look north up Loch Linnhe.

Loch Linnhe:

Then down and back to the car. A nice wee wander doing nothing much at all.

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