Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Meall Buiridh, Glen Ogle

Radio Mast below Meall Buidhe, Ben More behind
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Ascent:    475 metres
Distance  8 kilometres
Time:      2 hours 35minutes

Beinn Leabhainn    709m   1hr 10mins
Meall Buidhe          719m   1hr 29mins

The cold spell had continued for  a whole week and today promised to be sunny albeit with cold northerly winds. With no munros or corbetts within 3 hours of home and still suffering from a heavy cold and a bark of a cough, I looked out a reasonably close and easy Graham to climb. Meall Buidhe seemed to meet the criteria, a 40 minute drive away and only 3 hours including the adjacent hill Beinn Leabhainn. The start of the walk at the top of Glen Ogle is where a RAF Tornado jet had crashed in 1994, an event that led to a new manual on Emergency Planning procedures that was not much use for the next emergency. There is 320 metres of ascent by a good track to a massive radio aerial. From here the going gets tough but today the boggy ground had been frozen hard and there was a good sprinkling of fresh snow.

I decided to climb Beinn Leabhainn first so that the wind would be behind me for the walk over to the higher twin summit of Meall Buidhe. The going was not easy with wind, snow, icy patches and heather conspiring to make each step a bit of a lottery. Still it was probably preferable to the bog at other times of the year. The views opened up as I clambered upwards.  The Ben Lawers range was partly in cloud, Ben More and Stob Binnein were shimmering in the west and the long ridge of Breadalbane hills looked tempting in the snow. There were a few grey clouds about to give the day a feel of deep winter. I reached the summit and for the first time all year celebrated with a flask of coffee. It was too cold to sit for long and the summit of Meall Buidhe looked very distant. I had to check the map on my phone to make sure of the route across. It involved a walk across a frozen lochan, a steep drop and then another 50 metre climb. The views towards Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin at the summit were good although the late morning sun was directly above them.

The descent to the track was more tricky with some rock bands to negotiate and the snow lying deep between the heathers. I decided to head back to the radio mast rather than take a more direct route and enjoyed another 10 minute break for coffee once I was protected by the hillside and regaled by the sun. I was back at the car just after noon. The A85 was clogged with lorries driving slowly so I listened to PMs questions that were thankfully Brexit free. I have never known such a pathetic palaver as the government's attempt to deliver its divorce papers to the EU but today the depute prime minister, Damian Green, came close in attempting to defend their management of the NHS.

Breadalbane Hills from Beinn Leabhainn
The Lawers range across Loch Tay
Ben Vorlich and Stuc A' Chroin across Loch Earn
Looking north to Beinn Leabhainn
Cold feet guaranteed
Tarmachan in winter
Sgiath Chuil across Glen Dochart

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