Ravine of the Corrie of the Assembly

To get us in gear before the course starts, and this time find our feet in crampons.  Incredible winter sunshine then a fierce wind from the north east once over the top and on to the Creag.  But it begins with
a tranquil walk up from Glenmore Lodge, on the Allt Mor trail, which ambles through woodland and up parallel to the ski access road.  Picture perfect, I'm guessing very busy in the summer, but empty this morning.  I already love the forest approaches in these hills, they're unique.

We cross the bridge and emerge onto the hillside.  The wind bites, yap yap - you ready, southerners?  Up and then right, ignoring the cas car park on our left, focussing on Lurchers gully and Leth Choin ahead.  Where is the gap, oh yeah, there is the gap.  Mounting excitement. 

A while later we come down from the little ridge, fuss with our crampons, then gradually gaining ground again,  enjoy our new found traction.  The gap itself is magical, a snow blown boulder field, like we are finding it for the first time, human animals in the lost world, a whispered experience.

We go up and come down the Creag a Chalamain, and mosey our way to the head of the Lairig Ghru, and then turn at the stream and follow it home.  The Chalamain gap is also known as Eag Coire na Comhdhalack, or the ravine of the corrie of the assembly.  Lairig Ghru can mean the red pass, or the pass of Druie river, or oozing pass.  It is the pass of the red mountains, Am Monadh Ruadh, the Cairngorms.   Route finding on the way is new and different, paths are invisible under snow and its easy to posthole into icy streams.

After an hour we meet the light, or rather it comes to meet us - Alpenglow.  A land of harsh landscape, covered with soft, baby pink light at dusk.  As incredible is the marine turquoise of the weather front coming fast from the north.  Pink and blue, boys and girls, pink and blue - a surreal wonderland.  We are the low life on the high life, we are the lucky so and so's.

The walk out was long and dark, past Castle hill, though the Rothimurchus forest, first above the lodge, another loch iced over, then on the big track below.  It was good to have done this in reverse, the road was dull but meant we wouldn't lose our way at night.  The snow came in as that front had promised, at first fast and furious, sideways and wet, and continued to bounce off the torch light long after dark descended proper.  We shared a frozen snickers.  Walking the length of Loch Morlich was more dull, and sometimes a little dangerous, with cars coming down from the ski resort.

DjL 5.1.11