A Spectacular Day in Glen Coe: Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh

After a great trip to the east of the country to visit Mayar and Dreish, it was time to head west again to visit Glen Coe and head up Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh, 2 spectacular Munros giving an excellent ridge walk and some stunning views. These were my 30th and 31st Munros.

[July 2018]

Having recently looked back at photos from my Buachaille Etive Beag trip during the winter, it wasn’t particularly difficult to select an area for my next Munro-bagging adventure. With 9 Munros in Glen Coe still to choose from, we opted for Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh, 2 Munros that sit on the fringes of Rannoch Moor and provide year-round adventure with the mountains being popular with mountain bikers, hikers, mountaineers and skiers.

We left Ayrshire early doors to embark on the long drive north and arrived at the huge Glencoe Mountain car park around 0900. Cloud was still hugging many of the peaks in the Glen, but we were confident in the forecast, which promised clear skies later in the day.

Cloud capping Stob Dearg

Quickly donning our boots, we set off whilst the temperature hadn’t picked up too much to allow us to complete the initial part of our walk – a steep ascent into Coire Pollach – before the heat made it more difficult. The ascent route follows the line of the chairlift, which ends in the corrie, before the path disappears off towards the broad northern ridge of Meall a’Bhuiridh.

Good path for the ascent
Beinn a’Chrulaiste and the easy way up Meall a’Bhuiridh

Upon reaching the bottom of the ridge around 700m, we were now unfortunately in cloud. We pushed on up the steady slope towards the summit of Meall a’Bhuiridh, picking our way around boulders and soon reaching the summit cairn, shrouded in cloud and giving us no views in return for our effort.

Summit in the clouds
The summit of Meall a’Bhuiridh

We stopped for a few minutes at the summit for a quick bite to eat in the hope that the cloud would lift and give us the views that we had hoped for. The cloud did start to lift and blow across the summit, giving us short glimpses of what lay ahead but didn’t lift enough to allow us to see around us. Slightly disappointed, we headed west from the summit down the ridge connecting the summit with Creise, our second objective for the day.

Descending to the ridge
Looking down towards the Kingshouse Hotel

The ridge was fairly interesting and airy feeling in places, but presented us with no real difficulties. I’d imagine this would be a different scenario in winter though, as the steep sides and bouldery terrain would make this ridge a little more tricky covered in ice and snow. The abundance of crampon marks made the mountain’s popularity in winter pretty clear!

We were soon across the ridge and began our reascent to The long, narrow plateau connecting Creise and Clach Leathad, a summit once thought to be the higher of the 2 peaks on the plateau.

Ascending the ridge

After reaching the plateau, it was an easy walk north along the path to the summit of Creise, which was again in the clouds! The cloud was definitely thinning though, so we were still confident we would see something on our trip, as our route involved the reascent of Meall a’Bhuiridh to reach the car park again.

Summit of Creise

As we reached the top of the connecting ridge, the cloud finally lifted to reveal the summit of Meall a’Bhuiridh, which looked pretty impressive.

Cloud now lifting

Quickly descending and reascending before the cloud returned, we once again reached the summit of Meall a’Bhuiridh to be blessed with the views we should have seen earlier. There were no complaints though, as the views were fantastic and well worth the effort! The cloud was now above almost all of the surrounding mountains, so we could see south to the Black Mount, the Orchy Munros and the Crianlarich Munros and north to the Mamores and the Nevis range.

Looking south from Meall a’Bhuiridh
Plenty to look at

Taking a decent break to admire the views, we headed off once more down Meall a’Bhuiridh’s northern ridge, following the path back to the corrie and eventually the car. The views north towards Nevis were superb and ensured we stopped often to take photos as the cloud moved and the light changed.

Looking north towards Ben Nevis

Once again we were at the top of the chairlift. Although this was pretty tempting, we pushed on down the steep slopes to the car park, where there were some nice cold drinks and snacks waiting for us on what was now a very warm day.

The 6.5 mile route took us around 6 hours, mostly due to stopping for a while (around 30mins) on the second ascent of Meall a’Bhuiridh to admire the views that had opened up finally. Pleased with what had been a great day in the hills, we headed back down the A82 to Ayrshire.

Blackrock Cottage and Stob Dearg

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