Glas Bheinn, Meall na h-Eilde and Geal Charn

Thursday, 21 February 2013

16.6 km/1249 m/07:30 hrs

Corbetts: Meall na h-Eilde + Geal Charn (Nos. 43 + 44)

Graham: Glas Bheinn (No. 14)

I had been wondering if I would be able to drive along Loch Arkaig, as there were road and bridge repairs under way and temporary road closures to be expected. But I only had to wait a few minutes on the B 8005 for a digger to move out of the way, after that I could drive to Achnasaul as planned. I parked beside a shed at the side of the road and walked along the stream on a path that soon turned into a track.

While I was gaining height, the views along Loch Arkaig got better with every step.

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My first objective of the day, the Graham Glas Bheinn, looked like an easy grassy lump from this side, and I was glad to see that there was no snow left on its slopes.

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There were some large snow patches E and N of the summit, but they didn’t cause any problems.

A hazy view towards Ben Nevis across Loch Lochy.

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Gleann Cia-aig, Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh and Meall na Teanga.

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Glas Bheinn summit cairn.

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On my descent into Gleann Tarsuinn I came across a Ptarmigan in its winter plumage.

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My ascent route was up the snow free SW ridge of Meall na h-Eilde, visible left of centre.

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Geal Charn.

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Gleann Tarsuinn.

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After an extended break in the sun, I continued up the SW ridge of Meall na h-Eilde.

Glas Bheinn.

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The large plateau between Geal Charn, Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh and Meall na h-Eilde was covered with some large snow fields, but the surface had just melted enough to get a good grip with my boots (no need for MicroSpikes), but it was still solid enough for not sinking in too deep. Very easy and pleasant walking!

Looking across to Geal Charn.

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Meall na h-Eilde summit cairn, with Meall na Teanga in the background.

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The Glen Shiel Munros.

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Meall an t-Sagairt, and Meall na Teanga behind it.

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Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh, and the top of Ben Tee just visible on the left.

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Descent to Bealach Choir’ a’ Ghuirein.

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Instead of climbing over Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh, I walked around it roughly along the 700 m contour line towards Geal Charn.

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The next part of the walk turned out to be the most difficult – the NE slopes of Geal Charn, lying in the shadow for most of the time, had a lot more snow on them than the previous two hills and the surface was frozen solid.

I put MicroSpikes on and got the ice axe out, without them I would have had to turn back at this point. At first I followed other walkers’ footprints, but higher up I chose an easier line which was a bit less steep than the one they had taken. Still, I found the terrain quite difficult, and I think with proper crampons I would have felt a lot safer.

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Glen Quoich and Glen Shiel Munros.

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I was glad when I reached easier terrain and the sunny top of Geal Charn.

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Ben Nevis (zoomed).

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From the summit I descended along the SE ridge, aiming for the track running along the Allt Dubh.

Gleann Tarsuinn and Càm Bhealach.

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On the descent I was treated to a nice sunset over Loch Arkaig.

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Bidein a’ Chabair (zoomed).

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