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Meall nan Tarmachan and Cam Chreag.

Sunday 4th of February 2018.

Topping out Clarks Gully (140m) II.

Attending: Andy (convening), Louise (guest), Steve (guest), Mike, Irene and James (prospective)

Sunday’s forecast promised to be significantly better than Saturday’s, and for once the forecast was spot on. 4 February was one of those rare days of blue skies, stunning visibility, and no wind; dare I say it almost too warm! The target for the day was the Tarmachan ridge, being not too far from Perth, but with the promise of some good snow cover and winter conditions.

After a slightly inauspicious start due to a mix-up with car parks, Andy, Louise and Steve set off up Tarmachan from the lower car park on foot, whilst James set off from the upper car park on skis, meeting on the summit after some coordination via text message. The hill was busy, with lots of folk making the most of the fantastic conditions on foot, on skis, and on snowshoes. From the summit we were treated to fantastic views in all directions, along with (almost) sunbathing weather! We continued west over Meall Garbh, with the snow and ice providing some challenges, then splitting for James to continue to Beinn nan Eachan on skis, whilst Andy, Louise and Steve descended through deep soft snow back to the car. James, making faster progress on skis, reached the car park at roughly the same time.
Mike reports that he and Irene chose to go for a winter climb named Clark’s Gully; this is a 140 metre grade II route on Cam Chreag. It is a traditional winter gully first climbed by Inglis Clark back in 1894. The route takes a striking line directly up the right hand side of Lozenge Buttress. The snow was plentiful and consolidated, it was a beautiful approach across the corrie, far from the madding crowds. This was reason enough to be there, but the gully above beckoned. We roped up in a curious wind scoured scoop underneath a steep slab of rock festooned with icicles. Moving off on the first pitch it was soon obvious that the game of hide and seek for buried frozen turf and ice was going be the order of the day. My success rate with this game was, shall we say, limited. However, the odd warthog was found a home and whacked in enthusiastically to provide good solid belay points. It was turning out to be a good fun route, and we were lucky to find it in rare good condition. On the third full rope length pitch we could see way down into the corrie floor to what looked like three mountain hares and one small mountain hare, it turned out to be Andy, Louise, Steve and the dog. They had already descended from the ridge and were making their way back to the car. No doubt they could see what looked like two old crows high on the cliffs. We topped out shortly afterwards at 3.0 pm after our three pitch climb to emerge in alpine sunshine on the ridge, to amble another 100 yards up to the cairn on Meall Garbh. Clark had just beaten us to it by a mere 124 years. Here we lingered to enjoy the Alpenglow and fiery sunset on a windless day, there was no rush to descend.

Other photographs from the meet:

Ascending Meall nan TarmachanOn Meall nan Tarmachan.Topping out Clarks Gully (140m) II.

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