the vast mica-schist cliffs of Creag Meagaidh's Coire Ardair form icy
gullies and walls, attracting many adventurous climbers. The mountain
has a reputation for fast and often disastrous thaws, with avalanches
thundering down above the Lochan a'Choire below the cliffs. In summer
the mountain is transformed into something much sweeter.
begins at Aberarder, on the north-west shore of Loch Laggan. There is
a Scottish Natural Heritage site here, with an associated car park. Effective
deer management has led to an interesting bloom in flora, though you may
well see deer in a fenced section by the car park. The lower stretches
of the path show how fast birch and other trees can regenerate if protected
car park and walk up to and skirt the farm, heading north-west at first
and climbing gently. The path, often raised onto old railway sleepers
to avoid (and protect!) the boggy ground, gradually bends to the west
as it contours the slope, leading eventually to a view of the cliffs.
eventually meets up with the Allt Coire Ardair, not far below where it
leaves the Lochan, and this makes a convenient stop both for a breather
and to take in the superb cliff scenery above. I saw my first golden eagle
here, though increased noise and bustle in winter has probably kept them
away for some years now. Once rested, continue west across the slope to
climb into the upper corrie. Ahead may be seen the narrow bealach known
as The Window. From the bealach turn south and take the steep rocky slopes
to gain the plateau.
on Meagaidh in poor visibility is notoriously difficult, so if using map
and compass be sure to know your position at all times. The way to the
summit lies south then south-west over the plateau. To return by another
route, go east to take in the tops of Puist Coire Ardair (1071m) then
Sron a'Choire (1001m). From the latter top, an easy descent may be made
down lush vegetation heading east for the farm at Aberarder. There is
a bridge over the Allt Coire Ardair just west of the farm.