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

Monadh Liath

28-29 December 2015
In Monar Storm Eva had passed and Storm Frank was due in a few days. In between there were a couple days of fine weather and we were heading onto the vast plateuz north of Newtonmore, the Monadh Liath. Perfect !

Day one, we (Diane, Lynn, Jackie and myself) met at the end of Glen Road, just outside of Newtonmore and got our kits together. We opted to take ice-axes, but not bother with crampons. Head torches were a must as we expected to finish our day in the dark. Up a track leading north, we could hear loud voices screaming - the farmer was, with help from a lone collie, rounding up a few sheep. Over the shoogly bridge, we gathered at the An Leithir shelter, trying to find the oldest date scribbled into the wood - I found 1916 !

In Monar Further on, we climbed the gentle slopes to the summit of A'Chailleach (meaning the 'Old Woman'). I was aware of the time and the predicted windy weather forecast to come in by dusk. Carn Sgulain next and we discussed our options - descend via Am Bodach to Newtonmore, or continue on to Carn Dearg ? We decided to go for another Munro !

The Monadh Liath is not the most exciting group of hills, though if you keep your eyes pierced, wildlife are to be found and with winter coats at this time of year, they're much easier to spot ! Hares bounded around, refusing to pose for my camera. Ptarmigan on the other hand were more than happy to ! We also spotted some large footprints - we suspect belonging to an otter.

In Monar Following posts over snow, with mist coming and going, reached Carn Ban just after 2pm, with Carn Dearg less than half an hour later. We were joined by a couple of guys on the summit - the only folk we met all day - a wee blether, and down over Carn Dearg Beag we went. We seemed to make a good pace through the heather to find ATV tracks to follow down to the ruin at Dalballoch and time for a break !

It was now 4pm - darkness was in and headtorches were on. It was beginning to rain, just as forecast. Crossing the Allt Ballach was 'interesting' to say the least - it was higher than expected ! Beyond this, and with wet feet, we traced a faint path to the abandoned house at Glenballoch and followed a fine track back to the end of Glen Road.

In Monar An epic day, with cracking views and conditions much better than expected !

Our next day was to be much shorter, unless we opted to include an additional Corbett peak of Meall na h-Aisre. Forecast wasn't great and after meeting up at Garva Bridge, we ruled this out and settled for a relaxed hike up Geal Charn. We were joined by Nick today, his missus dropped him off (then aimed south to House of Bruar to do some bargain hunting).

In Monar The hike went to plan, though the snow melt made the crossing of the Allt Coire nan Dearcag a little challenging. Wind and mist came and went and we reached the summit two hours after leaving Garva Bridge. No views tho :(

Pity the tracks for the pylons installation have still not been removed yet !

Back down, we drove to Laggan Stores for a coffee - what a delightful place !

More photos are on our Flickr page.

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