Saturday 20 April 2013

Carn Ghluasaid and Sgurr nan Conbhairean.

Above Lundie - Loch Cluanie

When we first arrived at the start, the heavens were beating the lochside and the mountains with drops the size of 10p's. No chance. We went for a coffee at Achlain (and Jim managed to down a bacon sarnie as well !) and gave it half an hour or so before setting off, looking dubiously at the weather.

Loch Cluanie and Upper Glen Shiel

Rafe ascends the Stalkers Path on Carn Ghluasaid 

Drochain an Tuill Easach from Carn Ghluasaid slopes

Ominous black clouds were hanging over the hills, rain was definitely going to fall again.

South from ascent of Carn Ghluasaid 

Rafe and Jim on Carn Ghluasaid 

We made good progress along the Old Military Road and up the stalkers path, almost to the summit of the first Munro.

Loch Cluanie from Carn Ghluasaid 

The views were great, east and west along Upper Glen Shiel and Loch Cluanie until we hit cloud at above about 800m, when we found ourselves in complete clag for the rest of our time on the summits.

Drochain an Tuill Easach from ascent of Carn Ghluasaid 

Ptarmigan on Carn Ghluasaid 

We were once again conscious of keeping Rafe away from the cornices which hung precipitously over the cories to the east - Toll Creagach Beag and Coire Bodach nan Gobhar.

Carn Ghluasaid summit (Munro 203, 957m)

Near Carn Ghluasaid summit

The visibility decreased as the altitude increased.

Near Creag a'Chaorainn summit

By the time we were ascending our second Munro, we were crossing deep snow and the snow had started falling again and ice axes were out of the sacks for the first time !

Ascent of Sgorr nan Conbhairean - Rafe and Jim

Rafe on the summit of Sgorr nan Conbhairean (Munro 44, 1109m)

A very short photo call at 1109m was taken before a quick descent to the bealach and we contoured round Drochaid an Tuill Easach. We had decided not to pick up our third planned Munro due to the weather.

Descent from Drochain an Tuill Easach to Meall Breac

The cloud cleared out a touch and we were rewarded with some views at around 900m which improved as we descended the south ridge.

Views back to Drochain an Tuill Easach from Meall Breac

But the snow had turned to rain again and we were getting wet !

Rafe and Jim on a boggy descent from Meall Breac

Allt Coire nan Lair - Rafe and Jim

A very wet path through bogs on Meall Breac,

Allt Coire nan Lair

led to lovely waterfalls on Allt Coire nan Lair (if the weather had been better I might have been tempted to remove the boots at this point !).

Allt Coire nan Lair

We didn't cross the burn as the water was very high (although Rafe was up for a swim) and we continued south to the road.

Allt Coire nan Lair

Jim thought it was a good idea to walk along the shore of Loch Cluanie, but we soon regretted this as it was very rocky and uneven, not good underfoot at this stage of the day. Rafe was up for some surfing in the wind ruffled waves, and we had to drag him out (several times). We retired on the road and continued west and north. The coffee at the Bog Cotton Cafe on our return to the campsite at Cannich was very welcome.

Loch Cluanie and Uppler Glen Shiel

Route:  Car park at Lundie on A87 (NH145104), follow the Old Military Road W for 500m, take the obvious stalkers path N at NH137103 ascending to Carn Ghluasaid plateau. Carn Ghluasaid (Munro 203, 957m), W then NW, Creag a'Chaorainn (Munro Top 87, 998m), W then N, Sgorr nan Conbhairean (Munro 44, 1109m), descend SW and contour around Drochain an Tuill Easach at approx 980m. Descend the S ridge and then Allt Coire nan Lair to the road and then the shore of Loch Cluanie, follow the shore E to NH138100 and then return to the road and return E to the start.

Statistics:  Distance: 14.3km  Ascent: 1050m  Time: 5hours

Coire nan Lair

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