Feb 13 24
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It’s a long way to the West Highlands, even from the Lakes. However, with such a great weather forecast and the recent days of cold weather the conditions looked awesome, so the long drive and not inconsiderable fuel costs was well worth considering. But we wanted to go somewhere new to us – Creag Meagaidh was selected! Next was the choice of which route… I fancied the crag’s classic The Pumpkin. The only problem would be crowds. With such favourable conditions it seemed a certainty that the cliff would be beset by climbers from all over the UK. Our answer to this likelihood was to drive to the Creag Meagaidh Nature Reserve car park on Friday night and doss in the car for a few hours to allow a stupid-o’clock start to be made! (Although we lost 30 minutes waiting for our water to boil for our breakfast cup of tea and porridge. Note to self, must remember a fresh gas canister, cooking is so slow in the cold when running out.)

The pictures and captions below tell the story of the day – an absolutely fantastic route! :star: However, as the guidebook says, for a competent team the route does seem straight forward for the grade. ;-)

Laetitia getting ready at 4.30AM to depart the Creag Meagaidh car park after a short night's sleep in the back of the car.

Laetitia getting ready at 4.30AM to depart the Creag Meagaidh car park after a short night’s sleep in the back of the car. The snow flurry was a bit of an atmospheric surprise to awake to.

Laetitia's head torch on the long easy approach up Coire Ardair

Laetitia’s head torch on the long easy approach up Coire Ardair

Creag Meagaidh emerges from in the dawn as we approach up Coire Ardair

The dawn reveals Creag Meagaidh from the dark as we approach up Coire Ardair

Tackling the crux of the Pumpkin's 1st pitch, a short ice bulge.

Tackling the crux of the Pumpkin’s 1st pitch, a short ice bulge.

Laetitia at one of the belays

Laetitia at one of the belays

Pete on the start of the 4th pitch of the Pumpkin

Pete on the start of the 4th pitch of the Pumpkin

The view down Coire Ardair from the top of the 4th pitch of the Pumpkin.  A frozen Loch Laggan is visible in the distance, and we could just see Ardverikie House on the far shore.

The view down Coire Ardair from the top of the 4th pitch of the Pumpkin. A frozen Loch Laggan is visible in the distance, and we could just see Ardverikie House on the far shore.

Laetitia sorting our gear on the summit of Creag Meagaidh

Laetitia sorting our gear on the summit of Creag Meagaidh

The upper Coire Ardair of Creag Meagaidh, the line of the Pumpkin is the major iced corner to the left.

The upper Coire Ardair of Creag Meagaidh, the line of the Pumpkin is the major iced corner to the left.

Being amongst the first to the cliff in the wee-early-hours we had plenty of time to saunter back down to the car park in the afternoon. This was welcome though, enjoying the amazing views and nursing the wicked blister I’d developed on my left heel. :oops:

Back near the nature reserve car park we noticed an interesting display of carved stones set in to the banking next to the nature trail path. A little Googling back at home revealed the details…

 

I saw – the tree rising – in its branches – the jewelled music…
Sorley MacLeanTree of Strings (full poem)

 
The carved stones recalling Sorley MacLean's poem The Tree of Strings

The carved stones recalling Sorley MacLean’s poem the Tree of Strings


 

Geo Tagged Photos…

Here’s where these photographs were taken!

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