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Monday 27th 10 2008 12:00:00 AM

Pictures and words by Andy Main

A Walk up Creag Meagaidh

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So I went up North for a bit to visit the folks before they head of on holiday, we had a week of intensely shit weather up in Newtonmore but I picked my day and managed to get out on Wednesday.

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There was a hostels meeting in Fort Augustus, so I got a lift to beside Loch Laggan and made my way towards the Meagaidh massive following the Moy Burn. Having not been in the hills out that way before I was cyked to get up Creag Meagaidh, see some nice autumnal views and scout Corrie Ardair for some future climbing.

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I Headed up the Creag na Calliche ridge and finding some patches of fresh snow down to about 500m, first snow I'd seen this year! At the top of the crags on the ridge proper there were some lovely views looking south towards Binnein Shuas. So I had a wee stop to appreciate my surroundings, took some pics, had lunch and watched the the snow showers breaking over the distant hills.

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Further up the ridge at about 1000m there was a good covering of the white stuff. Scoured and drifting into a lovely patchwork, the estate line wall had caught the snow on its east side and was fully banked out.

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I followed the wall which turned into a fence fence (complete with rime ice) up onto the plato and just as this reassuring feature disappeared the weather got a bit nasty! I was expecting a nice donder, but its a good reminder of how nasty the Scottish hills can be in winter. Also a good refresher in white out navigation, took some bearings which where spot on finding both the summit cairn and crazy man's cairn with a minimum of fuss.

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Across the plato I hit the cliffs and the clag cleared. The freezing level was rising, the snow turning to sleet and by the time I was down the window in the base of the corrie I was pretty soaked. Had a spot of food and tried to identify some routes, obviously nowt in condition yet, but no harm in looking. The longer routes on the pinnacle such as 1959 Face Route face look great as well as the ice on the post face.

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Great wee walk and first taste of winter. Looks like there's a bit of snow coming down this week with a settled high coming for the weekend. So here's hoping for some climbing!

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