Five Munros of Creag Meagaidh:
Carn Liath - 1006m
Stob Poite Coire Ardair - 1053m
Creag Meagaidh - 1130m
Beinn a' Chaorainn - 1052m
Beinn Teallach - 915m
(and Tops)

Saturday 14th July 2012

Weather/Conditions: Great weather all day! Really windy on Carn Liath but settled down into a stunning evening.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 29km / 1850m / 11h 05m
Accompanying: Dougie and Struan

This was my time over the five Munros of Creag Meagaidh, part of a week-long trip that was one of my 2012 highlights. I was midway through the trip, Struan and Dougie were up, and our plan was to do the 3 Munros around Coire Ardair.

We'd been staying at Boat of Garten and after a long drive west, we parked up at Aberarder and headed off. From the outset I could feel Alder in my legs, the lethargy and tight muscles. I just worked through it and carried onto Carn Liath.

From the hot humidity of the glen, we broke out into fresher air and a keen breeze on the summit of Carn Liath. It was quite something to see Coire Ardair at long last and remember that this was a place I'd never been. I read so much on the internet that sometimes I forget I've yet to see these things in person. We sat in the shade of the cairn as wind blasted by, the view west ahead. Meagaidh certainly looked big.

We walked into wind on the long ridge to Stob Poite, with the cliffs of Ardair coming into view. In summer these cliffs appear to be seeping with greenery and contorted schist rock forms. In winter they come into exceptional condition, but as of yet I haven't seen them in that form.

Stob Poite passed slowly, but the real highlight was the coire which blew my mind. As we rounded onto Creag Meagaidh, Dougie and I took a walk around the rim of the cliffs, I just couldn't walk away from that sight so soon! Utterly breathtaking, spirits were good and it seemed like the weather was now improving too.

The Meagaidh summit cairn arrived in time, and we began to ponder options. The day was just wonderful, nobody moved too soon. I began to feel we should stay up, and move onto the final two Munros. It seemed wrong that on such a perfect day that we should deny ourselves the full, natural link into the last two. It would be wrong to loop back to the car for the sake of convenience.

At first Struan wasn't so keen on the extension, but Dougie and I talked him into it. We struck off westward toward Beinn a' Chaorainn. The skies opened up and dappled the green slopes in gentle sun. The wind had calmed down. It was going to be a good evening.

These things live in memory so long, that it has now been years since the event and I still remember the night. When evening sun washes distant plateaux in light, I sense in that the longing. All the longing of the wild places, of a horizon calling so. It cannot be ignored and it would be foolish to do so. This was one of those evenings and we enjoyed every moment. To further protract the evening, we sauntered off to Chaorainn's South Top and back again. Just to watch time.

Struan descended to the road after Chaorainn to fetch the car (he'd already done Teallach), and Dougie and I cast off up the broken slopes to the summit. Beinn Teallach was certainly a hill that had it not been upgraded to "Munro" status, we would probably not have been there. I mean nothing negative about it, but it's just such an anonymous hill, that if it weren't pointed out you would end up looking straight past it. It really lies in the shadow of the other hills here, but there is a sense of being in the west here that you won't feel back on Carn Liath.

We had amazing settled conditions and a vista washed in light of the evening sun. We watched the settling, very glad to be here. We'd have missed so much if we hadn't come. Rock and Roll Mountains spoke of the settling. It's something free for all to see but maybe some never to observe. Even then I don't interpret it as deeply as that book does. Nonetheless I feel it and it's power. It's something that is given to few people, but a life in the mountains desensitises you to it and makes it somewhat of a normality. The thrill of wild, open space and the abounding world will always be beautiful.

We descended to the glen in failing light, got a little misplaced at the entrance to the forests, and had a final painful tramp back along forestry tracks that never seemed to end. I was well and truly wasted, brutally tired. The end couldn't come soon enough but the mood was always light of heart. We emerged from the trees at Roughburn, just as Struan arrived in his car, ready to take us back, having actually managed to hitch to Aberarder and get back to meet us!

A stunning day.

I do wonder if this was one of the days that gave me real confidence to do the Munros the following year. Having done 4 Munros at Alder the previous day, it was great to go and do nearly 30kms on Meagaidh, having been tired and lethargic in the morning. The magic of the mountains does that, the body responds to beauty and fires back an appropriate response. And I felt that if I could do these days then there should be no reason why I couldn't do all the Munros in one go. I knew myself well enough and knew that such things were possible. This is the confidence of self. On reflection I probably always had this strength - perhaps expanding ambitions and their result were merely the final acknowledgement of something that was already there, waiting to bloom and blossom.

Photos: Carn Liath

Stob Poite Coire Ardair

Creag Meagaidh

Beinn a' Chaorainn

Beinn Teallach & Descent

360° Panoramas

Carn Liath

Stob Poite Coire Ardair

Creag Meagaidh

Beinn a' Chaorainn

Beinn Teallach
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.20am Aberarder
(1.55) 1.15pm Carn Liath
(3.50) 3.10pm Stob Poite Coire Ardair
(4.50) 4.10pm Creag Meagaidh
(6.25) 5.45pm Beinn a' Chaorainn
(8.40) 8.00pm Beinn Teallach
(11.05) 10.25pm Roughburn

Written: 2015-06-13!!!