gale force winds and blizzards on meall chuaich

Wed, Dec 13, 2006

With winter approaching it was time to meet up with my old pal Allan (my wife likes to call us Jack and Victor!) and head to the Raeburn Hut near Laggan for a couple of nights. The plan was to perhaps wander over Sgairneach Mhòr and Beinn Udlamain but the forecast was predicting whiteout and 100mph gusts so we decided to play it by ear and on the Monday we headed up Meall Chuaich, along the aquaduct road to the locked Cuaich bothy and up the hill from there. The pics are in the gallery.

A wild day indeed of passing blizzards, about an hour between them and lasting for 20mins at a time. Just enough to give a taste of winter without it getting too serious. On the summit plateau it was rather atmospheric with streaming lines of spindrift coursing past us. I checked the alitimeter, expecting 951m but we were at 1000m and the barometer was indicating pressure dropping like a stone. The height error was about 50m over 2 hours and just as we got to the summit a huge blizzard swept in and the sky blackened and the plateau disappeared in a virtual whiteout. It suddenly got very wild indeed so I sorted out a bearing and we made for the 800m plateau post haste. The storm lasted about half an hour and the pressure started rising again. I’d reset the altimiter on the summit and back at the bothy we were 50m too low. The pressure had risen as fast as it had dropped.

A good night ensued in the hut, putting the world to rights over a dram or two and planning the next bothy trip.

Here’s a short video I took of Allan coming down Meall Chuaich:

[youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=VycuCBe9BlY]

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