Hills: Stob Poite Coire Ardair, Sron Coire a' Chriochairein, Meall an-t-Snaim, Carn Liath and Stob Coire Dubh
Date: Saturday 30th July 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: 22km, Ascent: 1135m
Time: 6Hrs 30Mins
I set off yesterday with a view to ascending one or two of my remaining Grahams. However, on approaching Creag Meagaidh while driving along the A86, I changed my mind and decided to head in to Coire Ardair for an ascent of Creag Meagaidh instead. My last visit to Coire Ardair was in 2001, so a re-visit was long overdue.
I parked in the Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve car park.
From the car park, I set off along an excellent footpath running parallel to the road leading to Aberarder. A sign requests that walkers use the footpath rather than the road.
Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve Information Boards:
On reaching Aberarder, I took the path leading towards Coire Ardair.
Onto the track towards Coire Ardair:
During the walk towards Coire Ardair, I passed a variety of mountain plants including Harebell, Bog Asphodel, Devil's Bit Scabious and Foxglove. I also saw a number of fungus which got me thinking not long 'til autumn and where is summer!
On looking back I could see Loch Laggan; Monarch of the Glen country.
Looking back towards Loch Laggan:
Horse hoof fungi on a dead birch:
The path leading to Coire Ardair was longer than I remembered. The walk to Coire Ardair is a worthwhile objective in itself even if you don't want to venture any higher.
Heading for Coire Ardair:
Looking towards Coire Ardair cliffs:
On approaching Coire Ardair I had a good look at the gullies, a couple of which look worthy of a re-visit in Winter for a Grade I ascent. Despite it being the end of July, one of the gullies was still holding a good volume of snow. I wonder if some of it will last until next winter?
Coire Ardair cliffs:
On reaching Lochan a' Choire, I stopped to take several photos of the lochan and cliffs. The following photo is a multistich using four of those photos.
Lochan a' Choire and Coire Ardair cliffs:
From the lochan, I made my way towards 'the Window'.
Heading towards 'the Window':
Looking back to Lochan a' Choire:
Ascending 'the Window':
During my ascent of 'the Window' I met a couple from the Czech Republic.
Looking back towards Lochan a' Choire:
As I approached the top of 'the Window', I was a touch disappointed to find Creag Meagaidh capped in cloud. I therefore changed my plan (again) and decided to ascend Stob Poite Coire Ardair instead and then traverse the ridge as far as Stob Coire Dubh. I will come back to ascend Creag Meagaidh in the not too distant future
on a nicer day.
Approaching the top of 'the Window':
It only took a matter of minutes to reach the summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardair from the top of 'the Window'.
Final ascent of Stob Poite Coire Ardair:
Views from the the summit were minimal, as would be the views from each and every summit along the ridge.
At the summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardair:
Coire Ardair from Stob Poite Coire Ardair:
From the summit of Stob Poite Coire Ardair, I made my way along to the East Top and then along to the first of three Munro Tops, Sron Coire a'Chriochairein.
Heading for Stob Poite Coire Ardair (East Top):
Looking down to Loch Laggan:
Looking back to Stob Poite Coire Ardair:
Ascending Sron Coire a' Chriochairein:
At the summit of Sron Coire a' Chriochairein:
From Sron Coire a' Chriochairein I next made my way along to the next Munro Top, Meall an t-Snaim.
At the summit of Meall an t-Snaim:
As I made my way along over numerous small stones towards the second Munro of the day, Carn Liath, I realised my knee injury from eight weeks previous is still not fully healed.
Ascending Carn Liath:
It was again disappointing to get no views from the summit. My previous ascent of these hills in 2001 was also in mist.
At the summit of Carn Liath:
From the summit of Carn Liath, I continued East with a view to ascending Stob Coire Dubh, a Munro Top I had not visited previously.
Rusty gate just below summit of Carn Liath:
The walk along A' Bhuidheanach could not have been more pleasant; flat walking along short grass.
Walking along the flat grassy ridge of A' Bhuidheanach:
I eventually reached the summit of Stob Coire Dubh where I stopped for a drink and to look at the map.
At the summit of Stob Coire Dubh:
According to the map, the simplest way to return to the car would have been to return to Carn Liath and then descend via the standard route of ascent/descent. This would however have meant walking circa three kilometres back along the ridge and reascending >100m. I therefore decided to make up my own route descending directly from Stob Coire Dubh. I suspected I might encounter some difficult terrain.
Loch Laggan viewed during descent:
The descent was not too bad. I picked out various lines trying to stick to sections of short grass and burnt heather where possible avoiding deep heather.
Where I need to get to:
It was nice to pass just below Coire nan Gall.
Coire nan Gall:
However, as suspected I would soon be walking through knee to thigh-high vegetation. Fortunately, I picked up an overgrown ATV track which made the going that little bit easier than going directly through the deep stuff.
Following the fenceline back out towards the Creag Meagaidh car park:
I followed this faint track and then another faint track, running alongside a fence, until picking up a slightly better track leading out to Aberarder. I stopped several times to brush myself down in case any ticks had hitched a passing lift.
It was a bit of a relief to get back onto the excellent footpath at Aberarder which I followed back out to the car.
A good day out. Now looking forward to a revisit to Coire Ardair to ascent Creag Meagaidh and its four tops.