A cheery bunch of five - Darren, Anna, Stuart, Paul T and Valerie (and Whinnie the Labrador) gathered at the Lawers Hotel to leave cars and get geared up. After a bit of car sharing we were joined at the walk start point at the head of Lochan na Lairige, by Paul S - amidst frantic mobile phone efforts with his lawyer to secure himself a new house!
The forecast was heavy and slow moving rainfall with a possibility of thunder – not promising. However we started off dry until only some light drizzle fell as we headed for our first Munro, Meall a’ Choire Leith, across a mile of slow boggy ground. A few Red Deer bolted into the mist and rain as we passed by. The rain didn’t last long though and we took on the huge, steep climb bang onto the summit, moving steadily and spotted a few Plovers near the summit. Paul S was desperately trying in vain with no signal for an update on his new home, and after a quite bite to eat we moved south along the ridge to Meall Corranaich in thick mist but dry. Paul S gave a cheer when he got phone reception and finally found out his house offer had been accepted, and a groan when his partner suggested getting a new dog right away!
The group worked well together with good craic throughout the day, despite the near zero visability all the way over Beinn Ghlas and to one of the crown jewels in the Munros, Ben Lawers. We had a slightly extended break for lunch on its summit until the rain came back on again, this time with a vengeance, and we were prompted back into action to get warmed up. A few were interested in map reading skills and we took a bearing for our next leg, surprising some to point in an unexpected direction, but highlighting nicely the importance of simple directional awareness and double checking the map.
The heavy rain surprisingly only stayed with us for about half an hour, out to An Stuc, before stopping completely, by which time we were tackling the tricky drop off the north side. Some mild scrambling proved no problem to everyone and we were at the bottom in no time, now with the clouds starting to break up. The day was getting better by the minute.
We made short work of Meall Garbh and took another feed stop to recharge some weary legs before the long last pull across the boggy ground to Meall Greigh. As we moved a bit more slowly the views opened up around us letting us see back down to Loch Tay and across the corrie to snow-patched An Stuc and Ben Lawers. This cheered everyone up and the summit of the days last Munro was enjoyed in a brief spell of sunshine! It was a long drag back off the hill to the hotel in our boil-in-the-bag waterproofs, but after the car retrievals from our start point everyone repaired to the bar for well earned beers and food, all celebrating their own achievements from a rewarding day in the hills.
Fingers crossed, we'll get some photos soon !