Stob Coire Easain and Stob a’Choire Mheadhoin in the snow: Winter coat in the frozen Spring

For some time I have noticed these two close-knit mountains on the north side of Rannoch Moor.

Due to their relative closeness to my base and their character I have had them earmarked as a possible Spring snow route. They did not disappoint.

With one of those extremely complicated juggling acts of weather, babysitting and time-off coming together perfectly, I found myself driving up the A9 in a kind of ecstasy. The sky was a blue vault above snow capped peaks and I knew this could be a day of days.

Even the shoogly road which had torn painfully at the underguts of my old car had been repaired for a relatively smooth drive up to the car park at Fersit.

Frozen waterfall Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin
Frozen waterfall on Meall Cian Dearg.

After a nice walk in along Loch Treig whose black currents swirled darkly below as the warm sun touched the frozen surface, I headed up toward the impregnable looking Meall Cian Dearg. It was the only real difficulty in the entire route, but it was quite tricky in the snow and ice, both on the way up and down.

I did a typical Route One straight up and spied a route which headed along the east side in a rising traverse near the pinnacle of Meall Cian. This was quite hairy due to the snow and it may well be more sensible to head west around it instead. The perils of Spring snow were apparent in the gullies where at one point a whole snow slope seemed to flex under my weight. I gingerly kept toward rock and steadier snow and eventually made it up onto the ridge having had to cut back once or twice from difficult situations.

Once on the ridge the route stretched out invitingly toward Stob a’Choire Mheadhoin, although there were tremendous freezing whirlwinds of driving spindrift towards the top.

Then on hitting the summit it was as if the whole world suddenly fell away to reveal a sensational view. Straight in front of me stood Stob Coire Easain dominating the foreground, while in the distance a sea of mountains across Rannoch Moor stretched away beyond Am Monadh Dubh and Gleann Comhain. While to the east the Grey Corries gleamed white in their Winter plumage.

Stob Coire Easain and Seamus
Stob Coire Easain and Seamus on March 3 2017

There are times when the mountains of Scotland stupefy me. This was one.

I was so happy to be alive and a witness to this glory I had to sit down and laugh with joy.

Happy face with Stob Coire Easain and the Grey Corries
Happy place: Me, Stob Coire Easain and the Grey Corries, March 3 2017.

The pictures can only convey a small fraction of just how immense this experience was. I hope they inspire you to pay a visit, but do be careful on the Meall Cian Dearg obstacle, it was tricky.

 

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