Round of Coire Ardair:
Carn Liath, Stob Poite Coire Ardair & Creag Meagaidh

Saturday 3rd May 2014

Weather/Conditions: Gentle spring conditions: sunnier in the morning, clouding over as the day progressed. Spring snow on the hills and still deep in places!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 18.3km / 1270m / 6h 55m
Accompanying: Struan and Ian

A fantastic day out with Struan and Ian. I'd been up the Pap of Glencoe in the morning, then drove around to Creag Meagaidh, still early on. It was quite a morning, one morning remembered for how the peace of the Highlands spilled back into me. Driving up the coast to Fort William, I drove around one corner, and up there in the sky, the shoulder of Carn Dearg burst into view, snow-covered and gleaming in the morning sun. It sent my spirits soaring. Driving along eastward to Meagaidh only deepened the joy and by the time I stepped out the car at Aberarder, the air was thick of deep peace. Struan and Ian hadn't arrived yet. How is it the Highlands do this? Looking back, maybe I'd got an endorphin kick out of the Pap. But it was a wonderful way to begin my day and I dozed in the car to the gentle warmth of the sun and the sound of birds. In my post-Munro Round slump, I'd almost forgotten these experiences. How could I forget and not believe in them again? It was wonderful.

Eventually Struan and Ian arrived and we set off to Carn Liath. The air was chilly, the sun warm - typical spring conditions. Snow was dappled on the hills, still thick on top. Up to Carn Liath, we sat a while then headed onward to Stob Poite, and thus to Meagaidh. I realise that the peace is what I gain from the hills. An inexplicable sense of peace. I don't always feel this intensely about them, but when it happens it is phenomenal.

Meagaidh was still covered in snow, which meant minutes of traipsing though ankle-deep snow in trainers. It's probably impossible to keep the damp out, really. But trainers dry out quick enough. The day was clouding over too, with a weather front forecast for the following day. We headed back via. Puist Coire Ardair and Sron a' Choire, which is a part of the mountain I'd never been on before. The winter of 2013-2014 was a bit mental by the amount of snow that fell - it accumulated to considerable depth, more than usual. And it was evident on the final descent, where we'd cross an innocuous snowfield to find our way blocked by creep-crevasses. That's typically not normal in Scotland! And certainly not on a late-season snow patch on a relatively low-lying flank either.

Back to the car, Struan and Ian headed home for Edinburgh. I wanted to stay up, so called Fiona to stay at Boat of Garten. And so my night's plan was made. But as the skies clouded over and the guys left, I had a brief foreboding, an emptiness - stark contrast to the morning. Anyway I slept it off and went for a short hill the following day: the weather was rubbish, but it was a lot of fun and certainly educational from a navigation perspective.

Images: Carn Liath

To Creag Meagaidh

Descending via. Sron a' Choire

Driving East via. Laggan & Newtonmore


Carn Liath 360°

Stob Poite Coire Ardair 360°

Stob Poite Coire Ardair - NW Detail

Creag Meagaidh 180° North

Creag Meagaidh 180° South
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.40am Aberarder
(1.55) 12.35pm Carn Liath
(3.15) 1.55pm Stob Poite Coire Ardair
(4.20) 3.00pm Creag Meagaidh
(5.40) 4.20pm Sron a' Choire
(6.55) 5.35pm Aberarder

Written: 2016-03-26!