Sunday 19 May 2013

Meall na Teanga and Sron a'Choire Ghairbh.

Laggan Locks and Loch Lochy
from Kilfinnan at the start of the walk

We parked up at Kilfinnan, by Loch Lochy, in drizzle and a cloud base of 300m with little hope of having much in the way of views from the tops. 

Allt a Choire Ghlais at Kilfinnan

An easy walk in on good forestry tracks above the shores of the loch warmed us up, to the sound of cuckoo's in the wood and the occasional view down to the water below. 

Rafe at the start of
The Coffin Road 

The Old Coffin Road through the glen of Allt Glas-Dhoire was further away than we had expected, and we had been checking the map before it came in sight, but it would have been difficult to miss with its Scottish Rights of Way waymarker. 

Nearing the edge of the woods above Allt Glas-Dhoire

The morning was brightening as we ascended steeply through the lovely mixed woods, with waterfalls to our right and even a glimpse of an oft heard cuckoo flying by. 

Rafe in the glen of Allt Glas-Dhoire

We came out of the trees to views of a wonderful wild glen with the bealach in the distance draped with cloud, now at about 600m. The path was good and not too steep and we made good time.

Mist on the cliffs of Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Looking back to Loch Lochy in the glen of Allt Glas-Dhoire

Our hopes of the mist rising though was dashed as the cloud spilled down over the bealach and towards us and we walked into the gloom. 

Jim and Rafe entering the gloom, above Allt Glas-Dhoire

At the bealach we made a choice to go for Meall na Teanga first, to the left, south, as the visibility was so poor and we wanted to get the hill with the most potential navigation issues done whilst the day was still young. So compass at the ready we started through the murk. As it happens there was an easy to follow path the whole way and there were no worries, apart from avoiding the odd patch of bog and one of old frozen snow above a steep drop. 

Rafe - At the bealach between
Meall Dubh and 
Meall na Teanga

We had our first lunch on the way up, when we found a good flat rock with a view of white swirling mist all around. Surprisingly it wasn't cold at all and the mist thinned tantalisingly at times, but never enough to give us any views. 

The glen of Allt Glas-Dhoire from the ascent of Meall na Teanga

Mist/Fog/Cloud on Meall na Teanga

We continued up to our first Munro summit of the day, Meall na Teanga, 918m, only just making it onto the list. 

Rafe on Meall na Teanga's summit, 918m

After the usual photo call at the cairn, we descended back to the bealach, stopping briefly at our rock for a second lunch. 

A big grassy bank - ascent of Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

We then headed north, zigging and zagging on a very good and easy path up towards our second summit, Rafe bounding ahead. As we ascended towards the ridge the path steepened up and we slogged up the grassy bank. 

Sron a'Choire Ghairbh West Top, Meall Dubh and Meall na Teanga

The cloud was thinning rapidly giving us glimpses of the summits around us and as we topped out on the ridge we were rewarded with the most wonderful temperature inversion. 

Meall a'Choire Ghlais and Ben Tee from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

We fairly ran up to the summit in the hope that we wouldn't be overtaken by the mist coming in again, but no, the view was improving every minute. 

Meall a'Choire Ghlais and Ben Tee from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Sron a'Choire Ghairbh West Top

Every hillwalkers dream, to be on top of the world in the sunshine with just the tops of the mountains poking out of a sea of swirling cloud. 

Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Rafe on Sron a'Choire Ghairbh's summit, 937m

This was Sron a'Choire Ghairbh another of the smaller Munro's at 937m, but we'll never forget our time up there. 

From Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Meall a'Choire Ghlais and Ben Tee from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

From Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Views north from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

From Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Rafe and Jim descend from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Meall a'Choire Ghlais and Ben Tee from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Meall Dubh and Meall na Teanga from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

We chatted to another summiteer from Glasgow about hill walking and life, before returning the way we had come via many photographs, into the mist. 

Jim and Rafe - Meall Dubh and Meall na Teanga from Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

The descent was quick on such good paths and not far below the bealach we came out of the cloud into warm sunshine with views to match. 

Rafe at the boggy bealach at the source of Allt Glas-Dhoire

The cloud was dissipating, and by the time we reached the woods the summits were all in view. The final 2. 5km along the forestry track was a bit of a slog, but the sun was out, it was pleasantly warm and the air was full of the smells of spring. Another amazing day...

Meall Dubh and Sron a'Choire Ghairbh above Allt Glas-Dhoire

Route:  Grassy area just before the road crosses the Kilfinnan bridge (NN278958), follow the Great Glen way W until a fork in the track where the Great Glen Way turns left down towards the loch, turn right here (sp Loch Lochy Munro's)and go through a gate following a track undulating, but mainly gaining height slowly, after about 2. 5 km turn right at a Scottish Rights of Way waymarker (NN252937) and up through the woods, steeply, on a good path and out onto the open hill on the north bank of Allt Glas-Dhoire. At the bealach (NN223937) turn S and follow the track around the flanks of Meall Dubh to another bealach at NN 222932 and then up the north ridge of Meall na Teanga (good path), Meall na Teanga (Munro , 918m), return to first bealach and continue N on a good path, zig-zagging and then directly to the summit of Sron a'Choire Ghairbh (Munro , 937m), return to bealach and return to start.

Statistics:  Distance: 19km  Ascent: 1250m  Time: 6hrs 30mins.

Allt Glas-Dhoire and Loch Lochy

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