The Coire Ardair is an amazing walk in to the climb up Creag Meagaidh and along the ridge to bag Stob Poite and Carn Liath. The six to seven-hour walk starts at the visitor centre (simply a car park and toilet block) and works it way through the nature reserve past the end of the hills marked by Sron a Choire (above).
Re-forestation and preservation of the existing trees along the Allt Coire Ardair burn is one of the objectives of the nature reserve at Creag Meagaidh. The track into the Coire is well maintained and allows a fast pace at the start of the walk. It is a sheltered area and makes a lovely low-level walk.
Creag Meagaidh looking from the Corie Ardair. The climb to the summit together with the east-west ridge to Carn Liath is through the col to the right of the crags.
The trail is about five kilometres long and ends at the Lochan a Choire (Coire Ardair). A rough path then leads north west up through a col called ‘The Window’. Creag Meagaidh has its head in the clouds at this point, which remained for most of the day.
The view looking down from ‘The Window’…
Scrambling up the rocks and loose stones.
Looking down ‘The Window’ in a south east direction. Now for the climb up to the rounded top of Creag Meagaidh…through the damp cloud and to the summit cairn – cloud is just one of those things one has to contend with with Scotland’s Munros from time to time. There’s another small top on the summit and finding the true summit at 3700ft. in cloud requires a little map and compass work.
Unfortunately, the cloud meant there was no chance of looking down those rocky crags at the Coire Ardair, nor taking any photos for creating panoramic montages – I will have to return to this summit when I tackle Beinn a Chaorainn.
There was little point in lingering in the cloud on Creag Meagaidh, so to the second peak of the day – Stob Poite. I returned to The Window and climbed up in the opposite direction onto the east-west ‘whale-back ridge which overlooks the Corie Ardair and forms the return leg of the walk. The image above is the view looking back towards Stob Poite and Creag Meagaidh beyond. The cloud began to lift a little, making the walk along the ridge above Coire Ardair more enjoyable, despite the buffeting south wind.
Sheltering briefly behind some rocks for a bite out of the increasingly strong south wind which was blowing up the side of the line of hills with enough force to knock me sideways from time to time. The view above was taken looking east along the whale-back ridge towards Meall an-t Snaim and Carn Liath.
Carn Liath cairn and sheltering from the wind!
With my allocated time window quickly running out, there was time to prepared pictures for a montage facing south and east with Creag Meagaidh in the back ground. I then walked back west along the ridge for a few hundred yards before turning south into the Coire Ardair for the walk through the heather and woods to the car park.