Monday, 15 October 2012

Aonach Eagach, Oct'12

Jim Groark and Tom Challands led Saturday's guided scramble along Glencoe's Aonach Eagach. Enjoy Jim's writeup on the day !

We all met at the Am Bodach lay-by  in Glencoe, and left a couple of cars at the Clachaig Inn, to save the 8km walk along the A82 at the end of the day. Then at 0920 our eight intrepid mountaineers led by Jim and Tom set off up the steep path to Am Bodach, and the start of the Aonach Eagach Ridge.

Despite a weather forecast that could easily have put people off the ridge, we did not have the strong gusts as advertised, (the ridge being generally lower than the surrounding hills, is often sheltered from the winds), and there were light showers, and cloud down to 600m. So there were none of the usually  spectacular views from the ridge.  Even so, the Aonach Eagach (Notched Ridge) lived up to it’s name as the finest mainland ridge in Scotland,...or is that the UK?  The wet rock concentrated the mind, and the thick cloud added to the atmosphere of it. Some admitted that the lack of view was a bonus, in not experiencing the exposure of the route! There were some nerve wracking moments where some opted for a short rope for security on the ‘Pinnacles’, which the route weaves around and/or  over them There are times when one needs to stay focussed, to keep the exposure from getting to you, although one anonymous lady said fantasising about James Bond actor, Daniel Craig kept her nerves at bay!! Each to their own!

The ridge starts from the summit of Am Bodach, and you are straight into the thick of it with a descent down the ‘Chancellor’ then along the ridge to the first Munro, Meall Dearg (951m). After that, there’s the infamous ‘Pinnacles’ to negotiate over to Stob Coire Leith, then a broader ridge walk to the final Munro, Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (967m). To avoid the hazards of the steep, loose path down the side of the Clachaig Gully, we opted to head out towards the Pap of Glencoe, before making an easier descent down to the Clachaig – Glencoe road, and headed for the Inn, and our cars. 

We had a great day, the inclement conditions, may have slowed us down a bit, but did’nt really detract from enjoying a magnificent day’s scrambling.

More of Jim's photos are on our Flickr site !