Geal Charn - 1047m
Creag Pitridh - 924m
Sunday 24th April 2010
Weather/Conditions: Hazy with substantial high cloud cover. Summits remained clear all day. No rain with some sun coming through, and little wind apart from extremely strong blasts on Geal Charn.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 28.2km / 1300m / 8h 05m
Accompanying: Bealach MC - Diane, Dougie and Iain for the walk in/out and on the last summit.
Beinn a' Chlachair
First hill of the day was Beinn a' Chlachair and it's a fair way in to get to it. So we headed off from Glen Spean and southwards with Chlachair in view. It was still miles away, although at this point I wasn't even sure I'd do it. Today was a do-what-you-want day - Diane did one Munro, Iain and Dougie did two and I went around all three frantically trying to catch them up.
After a few miles, we came out on Lochan na h-Earba - hills, peaks, trees and cliffs on both sides of the loch. It looked very Lord of the Rings. If you took a tent and got the weather, it would be a great place to camp. It's not the done thing, but if you get a fire going on the wee beach at the head of the loch, you'll be on your way to a great night. It's just so scenic and quiet.
We took a moment to rest sore feet, but got on our way. The path headed up to the hills, and then we were encircled by the three Munros. Near the Bealach Leamhain, I split from the group and started towards Chlachair itself. I was a big nervy about heading off alone then trying to catch the others up but went anyway, reaching the Bealach itself, a great point to look out upon the wild and lonely lochan that also bears it's name.
I headed up the boulder/snow slopes then onto the wide summit ridge where I had a long walk around to the summit. I was happier now though - the weather was looking bright and progress was good. The trip out to the summit was long, but I'd expected so and I reached the top tired but ready for more. The views south across to Alder and Geal-charn were stunning - even though the snow is melting, these peaks still held a wild, alpine look. The plateaus are still snow covered and cornices rim the corries.
Geal Charn is a little smaller in height than Beinn a' Chlachair, but from Chlachair it looked really small because it was so damn far away. Back over the summit ridge I went, dropping down the steep boulders/snowfields (rather tricky and dangerous) to Bealach Leamhain. I didn't know where the other guys were, but I followed the path around the north side of Geal Charn to a good starting point then headed up the slopes towards the summit. I met Iain and Dougie as they were on their way down and said the summit was still maybe 20 minutes away. I wondered if it would be shorter but in the end it took 20 minutes to reach the huge cairn, with a columnar trig point hiding behind. The summit area looks quite quirky from the approach - the actual top a nip rising from the surrounding flat high ground. Sadly though the wind had got up somewhat and made the top freezing. I wasn't sticking around for this, and headed off again.
This hill barely looks Munro-like. It's tiny, but kind of nice and not only because it's littleness means little ascent from Geal Charn. Since I'd got off Geal Charn sharp because of the wind, I headed fast down the slopes and bombed the 100 vertical metres onto Creag Pitridh's summit. The side looks cliff ridden, but a faint path winds up among them and drops you straight on the summit, which I did and was met with no wind, spectacular views down to the lochs and the presence of Diane, Dougie and Iain.
Well, I finally caught them up. It was cold but warm enough to sit down, so I dried out my feet at the top before we set off down towards the approach path. And then it was a rather long walk out... Feet were a bit sore on the way out but I felt surprisingly good. The walk ended after 27km's and I felt okay in the legs although as I said, feet were sore.
Iain headed south home although Dougie, Diane and I had a nice night in the Laggan bunkhouse. Home the next day - they're in Edinburgh so I took a train home from Haymarket.
Beinn a' Chlachair
Detail: Alder hills from Beinn a' Chlachair
(0.00) 11.10am Glen Spean
(2.45) 1.55pm Bealach Leamhain
(3.25) 2.35pm Beinn a' Chlachair
(4.00) 3.10pm Bealach Leamhain
(4.45) 3.55pm Geal Charn
(5.40) 4.50pm Creag Pitridh
(8.05) 7.15pm Glen Spean