Monday, May 07, 2012

144-145. Meall Dearg (212), Sgor nam Fiannaidh (188). 05/05/2012

 A bit of an experiment, but it's quite possible to leave Cambridge after work on a Friday and get the train to Edinburgh that evening, then stay somewhere cheap and drive a rental car up to the highlands in time to be walking before 11am on the Saturday morning. So that is how we found ourselves scaling the steep north side of Glen Coe towards the Aonach Eagach. This is reputed to be one of the trickier ridges on mainland Scotland and it certainly provided some entertainment.

The initial climb was steep, but over with quite quickly. The perspective from the top was incredible - you feel like you're almost on top of the A82, which is some 800m below. Descending the first top was probably the most tricky section of the whole ridge - only scrambling grade I, but in descent it always seems a little more exposed.

From the top of Meall Dearg (the first Munro), we had a great view of the whole ridge, which includes several nobbles and pinnacles. It provided a great variety of scrambling, from chimneys to buttresses to ledges. Nothing would be classed much above scrambling grade I/II, but there were a few exposed sections to raise the heart rate. Thoroughly enjoyable, especially given the good conditions.

We took our time along the ridge and there were lots of other parties out too, so it was a couple of hours before we reached the next top, from where it's a stroll to Sgor nam Fiannaidh. There are then three choices for descent - a steep scree slope, a precipitous gulley or a gentle meander around the next top. We opted for the latter - probably the safer route and it afforded a nice view out to sea along Loch Linnie. We reached the road after 7 hours and I was able to hitch a lift back up the glen to collect the car.

The almost vertical drop down to the A82

Looking west along the ridge

Mike and his 3 kilo camera, with Bidean nam Bian in the background

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