Wintry day above Loch Lochy on Meal Na Teanga. Lots of slab about be careful on steep ground.

Ned loving being out in the hills again. How lucky we are.

Ned loving being out in the hills again. How lucky we are.

I had a great nights sleep at the Great Glen Hostel and was up early to help clean up and get sorted for the day. It was a great breakfast of porridge and a bit of a fry up for Ned black pudding and sliced sausage. Ned has only a few Munros left to do so we went of the climb Meal Na Teanga and Stron Na Coire Garbh two Munros above Loch Lochy as he had one of them to climb.

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It was a tidy up and get the gear out of the drying room and sort out for a full on winter day. It is a short drive over the canal and along the  other side to park at the grave yard and there were plenty of cars,  these are popular Munros. From here we wander past all the new Holiday Lodges that now are on this side of Loch Lochy and it was raining and we could see the fresh snow from about 400 metres ( 1200 feet). It is a place to take a mountain bike but we walked and had a great chat along the road through the forestry. It was sticky and the rain continued just enough to wet you.

The stalkers path then heads up the hill and is well-marked now and in the past was hard work through fallen trees but now it is a great path well maintained a big change from the past. I always find it a pull out of the forest into the open Glen Cam Bheallach. There is some wild open country now and the two Munros look impressive and it is a big pull up to the beleach. You pass some interesting cliffs that in the past we spent a great Christmas day heading straight up in winter through the crags. This was with my pal Mark Sinclair many years ago in the late 70’s they were never recorded but we had fun. No way today we were both working hard on the way up to the beleach but enjoying the mountain scenery. The gullies were filling up with snow and it was now snowing just lightly.

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It is so easy to take this place for granted and we reached the beleach had a quick snack, put on more gear it was cold and headed up to Meal Na Teanga at just a Munro in height but steep in places.  Ned was loving the space and wildness and every time we stopped he was loving it despite the lack of hill fitness due to living in the flatlands of the South. Old age was my excuse but it was still wonderful as this is some glen. There was lots of damage on the hillside where nature had crashed boulders down the gullies and there was a lot of debris in places on the hillside.  There was plenty of snow about and it was on top of wet grass deep in places slippy and hard walking and we soon made progress. There was plenty of slab in places as well about a bad sign where the snow creaks and cracks come from  the snow when you walk on it after it has been blown about. We were lucky there was little wind as we may have had a white out though but the sky was grey and as we climbed the snow fell. This is a wild area and the vast openness into the huge glens that few visit. Make a navigation mistake here and you will have a long walk out. I know them well with some epic days coming from Kintail over the two Munros and Ben Tee and heading for Spean Bridge where we slept in the train station toilets many years ago!  This was on my big walks in the 70’s

Hard going a bit of a shock to the system.

Hard going a bit of a shock  with the snow.

It was still hard going the hill steepens near the top and this was a bit of a shock to the system. The steep ground with lots of fresh snow on wet grass would ensure we  take care on the descent.If the wind was there we would have been in a white out and there were cornices forming but we had good vision but no views.

Slab Breaking away in our footsteps a warning to take care.

Slab Breaking away in our footsteps a warning to take care.

A few others caught us they must be the bike group who had been away earlier and had climbed the Munro Stron A’ Choire Ghairbh. We eventually got on the summit ridge and then a short wander to the summit and the small cairn. Ned was happy with his new Munro it has taken 35 years to climb, for me it was another summit no views but great memories of a smashing area. It was cold and wild we never ate just wanted to get down in case the weather worsens and headed off back the same way.

Not a day for photos. Ned at the top it took 35 years to get there!!!!

Not a day for photos. Ned at the top it took 35 years to get there!!!!

It was a quick sort out and head off I went a bit off the route and was on steep snow that was very slippy but soon contoured back onto the track but it was not a place to be. We met a fellow SMC  member who had come up from the other side and we had a chat. It was soon  back down to the beleach taking care eat some food have a drink but it was now heavy snow falling so we headed off.

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The path off was okay its a long way but all down hill and we were soon through the forest and onto the forestry road. One Munro and we were out for 6 hours a slow day but enjoyable. It was then a quick change in the car in the rain and then home via Inverness for fish and chip tea in Lorimers, superb. Ned is staying with me for a few days and though there is a lot of snow falling with high winds we will watch the weather and the avalanche report and be careful.

There was another avalanche yesterday in the Cairngorms in the remote Coire of Braeriach with the teams and the helicopters out, read that Avalanche forecast and the weather and be careful.

 

 

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
This entry was posted in Avalanche info, Bothies, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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