Meall Greigh - 1001m
Meall Garbh - 1118m
An Stuc - 1118m

Saturday 15th September 2012

Weather/Conditions: Nice weather. Watery skies, clear sun and yellowing hills.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 15km / 1250m / 5h 15m
Accompanying: Uncle Steve

I climbed the Lawers hills last November in one big push. It had some similarities to today's conditions, except that time, there was the mother of all inversions below 300m. Today wasn't quite so jaw-droppingly spectacular. But Uncle Steve hadn't done these hills and I was doing nothing else with my day. He picked me up and we headed to Loch Tay.

We parked outside the Horn Carvers place and headed up the track. The pace was brilliant, and then we cut up onto the open hillside to Meall Greigh. The sky was blue but it was watery. There was the farmer out with the sheep dog on the hills: fascinating to watch the way he rounded them all up. Last time I did Meall Greigh, I'd been descending this hillside. And I can say honestly it's a long one on ascent.

There's a small notch in the hillside which provided some interest but apart from that, we just battered up the hill. The summit arrived in 1h 30m. Not bad at all. We hung around for ten minutes, had a snack then headed off again for Meall Garbh - a long boggy walk with lots of little hillocks and bumps. For high hills, they're really green and there are almost no crags.

An Stuc is of course the exception, and last winter I descended it via. an easy gully. This time, we took the face direct. There's a definite point where the path splits: the left hand bit goes up the gully, and the right hand path takes a direct line up the face. All fairly easy though; I guess there's a bit of exposure but no technical ground asides some rock steps.

Now the day's objectives were done, but the cloud had descended on Ben Lawers and we made a quick descent in piercing cold wind to the saddle. The bowl of Lochan nan Cat forms a huge 'amphitheatre' of An Stuc. You don't get a sense from this from any other location. But from the loch shore, An Stuc's southern face looks huge. There are no reasonable rock routes on the face although perhaps the water streaks form into icefall? It's an impressive location. A sunny Meall Greigh capped the end of the valley and we plodded out, dodging bogs because I was wearing trainers. (They work!)

The drive home was good: Marillion's new album. Some of which is pretty incredible. But the best part of the day was when I made plans to meet my pal Dave at Craigmore. He'd been in America for 4 months and had just got back to Scotland. So I got dropped off there, set up a top rope over Hamilton's Arete (nails), climbed a lot and headed back to his for pizza and drink. Superb.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.10am Parking
(1.30) 11.40am Meall Greigh
(2.50) 1.00pm Meall Garbh
(3.20) 1.30pm An Stuc
(5.15) 3.25pm Parking

Written: 2012-11-10