Tuesday 3rd February 2015
Weather/Conditions: Snow to the glen, freezing level probably at a couple hundred metres. Nice weather though. Up at sunset - it got dark as I headed up, and a snow shower (just a big black fuzz in the night!) spreading in from Loch Leven told me I'd better go down. Moon rise behind Glen Coe as I climbed.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 1.8km / 470m / 1h 45m
Light bulb moment: get out and do another hill. Sometimes you gotta listen to that stupid side of your head, but I'd need to pick a relatively small hill. In the morning, I'd had a brilliant but short day out at the head of Glen Coe and felt like I could do more. I chose Meall Mor as it's summit is very close to the road in distance terms. But it turns out I forgot how high it was. It's 2/3rds the size of a Munro, but because it's a massive pudding I figured it would yield easily. Not so.
Stob Coire nan Lochain was pink on the drive out of the Clachaig. It really was bloody impressive, but it was also a reminder that I hadn't much time to play with. I parked at the foot of the hill, not in the Sgor na h-Ulaidh parking, but further down toward the Visitor Centre. I was pretty much all set to fire up the hill. It couldn't take long. But as I ascended, the light incrementally faded, bit by bit. After a while I started to realise the hill was bigger than I'd appreciated. Perhaps if I wasn't on a time limit I wouldn't have noticed, but knowing I'd need to be back at the Clachaig added an edge!
The hill is comprised of schist, which may (but maybe not - wrong direction?) explain the presence of schist erratics (boulders) in Glen Coe, a glen of rhyolite. Wee boulders and rock walls dotted the hill, with birches clinging to the cliff edges on this otherwise grazed hillside.
The hill opened up, larger and larger and gloom settled over Glen Coe. It was impressive, and I looked around at the hills around me for a height gauge only to notice I wasn't making such good progress.
At about 500m, I was beginning to realise that the summit wasn't so far away. But it was far enough. Through the gloom, I noticed a snow shower was blotting out Loch Leven, and then the Pap of Glencoe. When Dave called and we had a ten minute chat, that was it - I'd head down. But I'm totally cool with that. It's easy enough to go back for this one, and I'm sure when I do get back to doing it, that it'll be a good one.
Half an hour's scoot down the hill in the dark, and I was back to the car. I made the lecture, then once that was over, headed south in the car, through Glen Coe with the Moon lighting up the mountains - see the photos below. Awaken (Yes) was blasting through the car and it was frankly one of those absolutely enchanting experiences. I eventually fell asleep in a layby just over the Bridge of Orchy itself.
In the wee hours of the morning, I couldn't heat up, so started the car and drove to the Loch an Iubhair layby (Crianlarich) for a few more hours sleep. It was warmer, marginally. After a somewhat broken sleep, I was up for Schiehallion with Andrew.
(0.00) 4.50pm Parking, A82 (interpolated between photos)
(1.15) 6.05pm Turned back @ 500m
(1.45) 6.35pm Parking, A82