Meall a’ Bhuiridh (1108m); Creise (1100m)
- Pronunciation: Miaowl uh Vooree; Kereesha
- Translation: Hill of the Roaring (Stags); (probably) Narrow (from the old Gaelic word creas meaning “narrow”, which could describe the ridge)
- Total distance: 11km
- Total time: 4hrs 36mins
- Total ascent: 1150m
- Weather: Miserable weather. Very low mist and cloud. Wet right from the start of the route. Hail and sleet on the tops with driving buffeting wind.
- Start / end location: Glencoe “White Corries” ski resort car-park. [OS Map Sheet 41 – Grid Ref: NN 266 525]
- Map: A map of the route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but possibly not Internet Explorer.
We were both feeling the pace of the last five consecutive days of climbing but recognized that this would be our last opportunity to bag some more Munros before our trip back to the Midlands this weekend. So, keen to try to complete a third of the Munro-bagging challenge we headed out today in some rather inclement weather to bag our 94th and 95th Munros and hence reach our milestone.
We parked at the Glencoe ski car-park, which we found completely empty: a combination, perhaps of the poor weather and the fact that it wasn’t even quite 08:00. It was very cloudy and we couldn’t really see anything above the top of the lower lift station. There was some activity at the lower station as the fly-wheel was turning but was not engaging the cable that carried the chairs so they hung motionlessly with only the first half dozen visible in the thick mist. May be despite the poor weather, and what appeared from the car-park as a severe lack of snow, the operators were still planning on opening. It didn’t matter to us one way or other of course as mechanised transport up the hill was not an option!
We climbed between a couple of the buildings at the top of the car-park and then took a sign-posted path that followed the course of the chairlift and the Allt nan Giubhas burn. It was quite a steep path, and as we climbed the chairlift began to operate with the chairs silently appearing and then disappearing overhead through the very damp mist. On one or two occasions a chair would pass with a ski resort operator “on board” being swept slowly along above us as we trudged up the path.
It soon began to rain.
At top of chairlift we reached a plateau, which was the base for the start of a number of ski-tows and the bottom of some of the ski runs. We continued in a southwesterly direction to pick up the broad north ridge of Meall a’ Bhuiridh that extended right down from the summit. Once on the crest of the ridge, we turned to the south and followed it all the way to the summit at 1108m or 3,635’. En route we crossed a couple of the ski runs: the snow was very lean but we could see that the operators were desperately trying to utilise the last remnants of snow after what has been an excellent skiing season.
From the summit of Meall a’ Bhuiridh we headed downward along the WSW connection ridge with Creise. The ridge was a combination of slopes and pockets of deep soft snow along with sections of boulders that we were able to scramble over. As we crossed the ridge between the two Munros the wind became very blustery and gale-force in strength with some hail mixed in. After we crossed the col on the ridge we began to climb up a steeper section of ground to reach a broad plateau about 600m to the south of the summit of Creise. A short walk along a mixture of snow and boulder fields brought us quickly to the summit at 1100m or 3,609’.
Because of the poor weather conditions I’d deliberately chosen this route up these two Munros, and despite it being quite quick, did unfortunately mean that we had to retrace our steps back to the summit of Meall a’ Bhuiridh before being able to descend back to the car-park. Today, this was the price of convenience!
By all accounts there is a much more satisfying ascent of Creise that starts at the head of Glen Etive and climbs Sron na Creise on the northern aspect of the hill where there is some serious grade 3 scrambling involved. It sounded much more appealing – but definitely not in today’s weather.
By the time we got back to the car-park our gear and us were wet through – but we had successfully achieved our milestone of climbing over 1/3 of the Munros in time for our trip back to Midlands this weekend. It had been worth the soaking.