Torridon CSC

Walking Section

CLUB EVENTS: Maell Ghaordaidh

Words From Dave Ness …

The storms of the night before had subsided and on Sat 3
rd Jan, twelve of us including two ladies (Pauline and Bernadette) and two young lads (Mathew and Conor) met at 7.30 on a freezing but bright frosty morning at the club to set out to climb our first Munro in Winter.

After a stop in Callander for rolls and sausage, and for the loo, we made it to the remote Glen Lochay just after 10 and got kitted up for the walk.
The target was the munro
Meall Ghaordaidh pronounced MEEL JIORDY.
A hill
3408 feet high and on an icy day, one with real sting in the tail.
Well wrapped up, fur fleeces, fur hats, fur gloves, fur boots  and gaiters for the deep snow, we set off in minus 2 degrees. The temperature drops 6 degrees every 3000feet so it would be around minus 8 on the summit, but there was little wind and the sunshine was gorgeous.
Reached the snow line after 30 minutes climbing, then ninety minutes  later stopped for tea and sandwiches, chocolate biscuits, crisps and (in Martin’s case) homemade flapjacks and soup.
We needed the extra energy for the tough and tricky – some might say dangerous – ascent of the final steep 800 feet. It was difficult because of the freezing conditions making some of the snow surface like glass, and previously wet areas now hard ice. With much zigzagging we made it onto the summit and some of us even onto the top of the Ordnance Survey plinth. There were loud screams and whoops from those achieving their first munro, and even some hugs and kisses and that was just the men.
Was it worth it?  The views in all directions were indescribable.
See the photos.  Not a vestige of human habitation anywhere. and snow capped mountains in all directions.
Down on the left, Glen Lochay rose to its steep end on the slopes of Ben Challum, Beinn Sheasgarnaich and Ben Dorain.
Down to the front right was Loch Lyon with Rannoch Moor and the mountains of Glencoe way behind it.
On our right, the Lawers Range , seven munros framed in brilliant sunshine with  Ben Lawers itself outstanding.
Behind us Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin.
Everyone of us was cold, tired and deliriously happy at what we had achieved.
A snowball fight ensued between the girls and the boys.
Heading down the steep cliff, we declined the tricky upward route and jumped into and slid down some long snowfields and had great fun. The two boys had enough energy to do the snow slides several times, Uncle Donald enough energy to video them.
Two thirds of the way down we had a quick snack. Dave and Conor stuck a sheep’s skull, horns and all, on the last eight foot high style and then in the gathering darkness we reached the cars just after 4 pm.
Back in the club for hot pies and beer around 6.30