Our blog - Laggan Munros, 2 Apr'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Laggan Munros

2 April 2018
A day hiking in winter conditions over the Munros. Steven was leading....

The Laggan Munros are a group of hills tucked away behind bigger, more famed mountains like Ben Alder and Creag Meagaidh. Diane, Stevie and myself were here to bag the 3 Munros in the range and in winter conditions.

We started the day from the long lay-by on the A86, north of the mountains. Only one other car in the car-park, so it was goiing to be pretty quiet up there, suprising since it was Easter Monday. Most people hike the 6km to the foot of the hills, but we were prepared - with bikes ! This should cut the approach and return times down considerably, leaving more time for fun on the snow higher up.

The cycle southwards is for the most part a gentle climb on a very good estate track. We passed one couple who were walking in the opposite direction, looks like they'd been backpacking - this would be all the folk we would see until the end of our hike ! There's a bridge over the river that flows from Lochan na h-Earba and shortly beyond this we left the bikes, the sun trying to break through the clouds. As the wind was blowing from the east and forecast to pick up in the afternoon, a clockwise route was opted for, which should leave the winds on our backs for the hike along the crest of Beinn a'Chlachair.

Bye to the bikes, we walked up the fine stalker's path following the Allt Coire Pitridh. We chose to stick to this for most of the uphill as once we crossed the burn, much more pleasant than the deep wade through heather which would have been the case for a direct ascent of Creag Pitridh.

At the foot of Creag Pitridh (at around c820m), it was time to get the crampons on and ice-axes out. It was only a short section that we really needed them on for - the snow had formed a very hard top-layer of frozen windslab and mere boots couldn't kick through. As it turned out, we kept out crampons on for the rest of the day ! The summit had a stubborn whisp of cloud blowing over it, so we didn't hang about, just took a few pics and descended much the same way we came up.

Off to Geal Charn, the crampons were proving their worth. A bit of navigation was required with the occasional cloud blowing over, and some route knowledge avoided most of the boulderfields. Geal Charn's summit was clear, but the wind was blowing a hoolie. Even digging a shelter into the snow under the large summit cairn couldn't really get us out of it. So lunch was some rolls with some frosting the snow-crystals blowing in to everything!

As we headed down to the col between Geal Charn and Beinn a'Chlachair, I was keeping an eye on the route up ahead - the sun shining on it suggested it was hard neve, so an approach keeping in between the rocks might work. We got up, crampons and axes well used on the way. Diane stated (with glee) that this was the hardest and steepest bit of ice-climbing she'd done !

Once up, and after a short break, 2km of a broad and icy crest gently rising to Beinn a'Chlachair's summit awaited. On route, the views were glorious ! The wind on this summit was like the previous, probably stronger (as forecast), so after a few hi-fives and some pics, we started our descent, which began with heading into the wind, so goggles on ! The descent was lovely, more or less directly north around the eastern side of Coire Mor Chlachair. We picked up the path we'd hike uphill earlier and returned to our bikes - woo-hoo, the cycle back was fast !

A great day out with great company on some quiet hills.



More photos by Steven are here on Flickr.



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