Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wind and solitude - 14th May 2011

D and I went walking up Glen Lyon in our quest for fitness for the Alps, but ended up having an extremely short day.  This is just as well, as I was struggling to stay awake on the drive home via Aberfeldy and Dunkeld, windows open and music on from Dunkeld onwards to try and stay awake.  Don't know why I was so tired as our 6am start was no earlier than usual and we only ended up out for 4.5hrs which is an extremely short hill day!

The intended plan was to get one of my 2 munros I've left to do in Glen Lyon/Lochy area and go up a couple of Corbetts at the same time, making for a medium length day.  Cameron MacNeish, in his munro book, mentions Meall Ghaordaidh as being a dull hill.  I found it anything but!  Going up from Glen Lyon and up Creagan an t-Stuichd is quite steep, but one can gaze at the cliffs and wonder about how pretty they would look in winter (and they do!) and it's quick and pretty direct too.

Our originall plan was to go up the Corbett Beinn nan Oighreag first, then scoot across to Ghaordaidh and then trudge across to Meall nan Subh, another Corbett, having the option of descending Ghaordaidh if the weather turned (it was forecast for heavy showers later in the afternoon.)  In the end, we decided just to go up Ghaordaidh first, then Oighreag, saving Subh for another day.  I regretted this as soon as I saw how quickly we were making our ascent and how near by Subh was, but there was no way I felt like going up Oighreagh and then having to back track!  In the end in turned out fine as it started chucking it down once we got back to the car, only having showered very lightly on the hill.  Ben Lawers saw a very light dusting of snow, but Ghaordaidh was just that bit too low unfortunately and we had to make do with a little brief hail.

Ghaordaidh is a SSI and is home to the rare parasitic Alpine Bartsia and many other alpine plants.  It was a shame our day was so short and the wind so cold (30mph Northerlies, brrrrr, big difference from Glen Shiel the other week!)  On descent , D was ahead of me and I shouted that I was about to begin descending down to the col between Ghaordaidh and Oighreag, but he didn't hear my calls.  Shrugging my shoulders, I headed off down anyway, catching his attention once half way down.  We both took different routes up the west slopes of Oighreag, me stopping several times, hat off, jacket off, sort laces which have snapped again (desperately need new boots, lace eyelets falling apart, holes everywhere!)  meeting back up on the SSE ridge and carrying on up to the summit together.

We could see 2 folk heading up from Lochay way and D mentioned he saw someone stop at the col below and ponder the way ahead up Gheordaidh, but other than that, we saw not a single soul all day.  I thought the hill would be busy, but most folk seem to go up it from Lochay side, even though Lyon side is far, far nicer.

No photos today sadly which is annoying as I might have got some atmospheric shots of all the grey and brooding cloud round about.  But Beks has my camera down in London on her school trip at the moment and D left his memory card at home.

No comments: