A High level Circuit of Coire Ardair. 21st April 2018.

Date: Saturday – 21st April 2018
Distance: 17.2km
Ascent: 1200m

Quite a decent looking forecast for Saturday – light winds and some sunshine.

Decided to revisit the Creag Meagaidh group. We walked an approach up Sron a Ghoire and the southern arm of Coire Ardair last year on a claggy day. We’d fancied a full high level circuit of Coire Ardair for a while, so off we set.

Parked up at Aberarder at a leisurely 0800. Already a few cars around and the bird song was lovely.

The hills were clear and we had a look at the snow on the descent route down Sron a Ghoire.

Sron a Ghoire from Aberarder:

Above the far we could hear and see a few Black Grouse males. The lekking noise is pretty distinctive although the burbling took a while to register.

Broke off the Coire Ardair path up the eroded munro route on Carn Liath. Views opened up to the SW through to Beinn na Lap.

Beinn na Lap behind Loch Laggan:

One Golden eagle flew over then a few ravens were sailing around keeping an eye on us. As we got higher on the shoulder of Carn Liath the view up Coire Ardair improved.

Coire Ardair from Carn Liath ascent:

Pretty decent morning.

SW from Carn Liath ascent:

The headwall of Coire Ardair looms rather above Lochan a Choire.

Headwall of Coire Ardair:

Up onto Carn Liath and the wind was rather brisk and cold. Layered up and were a little disappointed as clouds rolled over us leaving a grey picture with the clouds brushing the tops.

Carried on along the northern arm of Coire Ardrair towards Stob Poite Coire Ardair. The odd snow patch was in the way but the snow was too soft to need any equipment.

Kicking steps up snow patch:

Snow patch:

As we got towards Stob Poite Coire Ardair the cloud began to rise and intermittently the sun got through gaps. Kept to the cliff line to enjoy the views.

Coire Ardair from Stob Poite Coire Ardair:

Headwall of Coire Ardair from Stob Poite Coire Ardair approach:

Cliffs and Lochan a Choire from Stob Poite Coire Ardair:

The windspeed, which had been forecast as fairly negligible, was pretty brisk. Snowmelt was being blown back up and over the cliffs here and there. A little distracting.

Cliffs at The Window:

Hanging snow:

Carried on over Stob Poite Coire Ardair to the top of the Window.

Just above The Window:

The drop to the Window was less ascent and not as steep as I remembered, it’s only about 100m. Quickly through and up the other side.

Ascending out of The Window:

We decided not to visit the summit of Creag Meagaidh this time, but rather to hug the clifflines round the headwall of Coire Ardair (although the dogleg to the summit is not major).

Cornice:

There was a fairly decent soft snow field on the way to Puist Coire Ardrair.

Crossing to Puist Coire Ardair:

Nipped out to the wee prominence just N of Puist Coire Ardair – it has great views.

Cliffs of the headwall from S:

Lochan a Choire:

The southern wall of Coire Ardrair:

Had our lunch at the prominence, hunkered down behind a rock. Certainly not a 10-15mph wind!

The sun was coming and going but over all the clouds were thinning a bit.

Finished lunch and carried on over Puist Coire Ardair.

Puist Coire Ardair:

The calls of a raven alerted us to an eagle flying over. The raven was madly flapping to gain height to harass the raptor. It shifted its course and sailed away west.

The southern arm is an easy walk, preferable to a return through the Coire for me, always prefer higher routes if possible.

Coire Ardrair from Puist Coire Ardair descent:

SE towards the Cairngorms:

We continued to the end of the ridge, turning SSE at NN 455 880, then WNW on easy ground to eventually pick up an ATV track down to the bridge at NN 475 874.

Descent to Aberarder:

A nice route, not too strenuous but certainly rewarding in terms of views. Should revisit this one, might even spend a weekend with the tent up there.

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