Yesterday I met Susan an old pal who was working in the morning and we had a lazy start for the Munro “Cairn Liath” it is part of a group of three usually climbed together but not today we did not start till 1130! It was a wet drive till Aviemore then the weather changed to clear and dry.
Carn Liath : ‘grey hill’ (1006m, Munro 126)
Stob Poite Coire Ardair : ‘peak of the pot of the high coire’1054m Munro 76)
Creag Meagaidh : ‘bogland crag’ (1128m, Munro 30)
The weather was promising but with a bit of wind on the tops forecast and cold as well.
We met in the car park and Susan arrived on time and we set of from the NH car park at Aberader it was fairly quite for July.
A natural haven
From the wild and windswept mountain plateau to a woodland that’s slowly finding its feet again, Creag Meagaidh feels like the Highlands compressed into one nature reserve. Rare mountain plants like woolly willow and highland saxifrage battle against the elements, whilst black grouse flourish in the combination of woodland and open moorland. With Munro summits, an exposed whaleback ridge and ice carved gullies, Creag Meagaidh is the complete mountain experience.
The ground would be soaking from all the recent rain but we followed the main path for about 15 minutes and then the overgrown wet path that breaks up onto the hill. It would be full of ticks and heavy going on wet slippy rock that the path/burn followed.There are 3 Munros in this Circuit but not today as time was against us but it was great to get out and enjoy the views.
Once you get out of the trees the huge Coire Ardair is some sight and I walked carried a few down this path. I used to climb her where in winter becomes a winter wonder land for the ice climber today it was brooding with the dark clouds above it, that changed as the weather came and went. It was so good to get away from the muddy ground but we were soon on the open hillside there were so many flowers about. The heathers, Orchids and Tormentil were all out and looking superb.
It is a steady plod up the hill and the ground got firmer and the wind got up but Sue was going well. It is hard to believe she has undergone a serious illness just a year ago, a hardy lass. Health is definitely wealth and I remember that the last time I was here I struggled along the path into the Corrie feeling rough after my third operation a few years ago, it is great to be out and about. We sat and enjoyed the views they were great but at times the wind was wintry and we enjoyed a bit of time heading up onto the summit.
We were soon on the summit sloped lots of rocks and no shelter but the wind dropped and we were soon on the summit. Here we had a brew and a got out of the wind which was not bad at all high up. I felt fine and the cough is gone and Sue set a steady pace with few stops. The view was 360 degrees and we had only met 3 others coming down all wrapped up like a winter’s day.
I would have loved to have gone on as I was feeling great the pace was just right but sadly not today Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Creag Meagaidh would have to wait and the ridge looked superb but sadly it was not to be. It was then time to go down and we took it easy as the path further down was slippy and the wind got up then the sun came out again and we enjoyed the flowers and more views. How stunning are the hills at this time of year and how many years did it take me to appreciate them and the flowers.
We were soon down at the main path and back at the car a short day but enjoyable. Sue was pleased no time for a coffee. It was then a drive home and sort out another wander this week hopefully for an illusive Corbett up near Kintail?
It is so true “health is wealth” and we should never forget it. Thanks Sue for a good day now get some new boots the hills are calling! The views and the light especially on the Post Face of Creag Meagaidh was stunning and only a little snow left at the top of Reaburns Gully unusual for July.