Geal Charn

The Monadh Liath one
Saturday 11th December

Based in Newtonmore and wanting a short hill day, Geal Charn ticked all the boxes.

It's a hill that stands alone, being the most westerly Munro in the wild expanse of the Monadh Liath.

We made sure all the cars turned up the side road at Laggan -
it's easy to miss if you are half asleep.....

Always an interesting drive along the single track road to the starting point at Garva Bridge.

The map below shows our route - lower left to the summit upper right!
Garva Bridge was built by Hanoverian troops in 1732 under Wade's command; in his judgement this was the most suitable place to cross the River Spey. 

It's still an impressive structure with massive buttressing, using a rocky outcrop in mid channel  to link the two single-arched spans. By today's standards it's rather narrow-not that it receives much vehicle traffic. Iron bands have been fixed to strengthen the bridge.

The Spey is a fearsome river in spate.
Although mild, we could see the remains of a recent previous freeze; those are big blocks of ice.
After admiring this fine old bridge we turned up the track which leads north from the road, crossing a small wooden bridge over the Allt Coire Iain Oig - Feith Talagain river. Once over we turned immediately left and stepped over a sorry looking fence by some trees.

There is only a very faint path at first, so we all chose different routes trying to find the least boggy ground. 
This landscape has a feeling of space.
The banter as usual was cutting and derogatory, who would have it any other way? 
It's an easy gradient; we strolled along on the firmer ground finding that a clearer path had developed along the banks of the river upstream. 
Truncated icicles gave a hint of the conditions recently. 
We raced along the path...........this wasn't a Sunday stroll.
Looking toward one of the passes that takes you into the heart of the Monadh Liath
This is lonely countryside.
The Allt Coire nan Dearcag joins the main stream. 
A hint: cross where they join as it's much broader, shallower and therefore easier (when it's not in spate). Don't do what we did and follow the stream uphill, it's not difficult to cross,'s not too easy either.
Alison is an avid bookworm, but is this taking things too far!
Nearing the top of the south west ridge you can see the finely built summit cairn.
In thick weather this grassy plateau requires careful navigation, we know from personal experience.....
Roni can never can resist a patch of snow .
Despite most Munro guidebooks being 'dismissive' - Geal Charn - white hill - is a pleasant walk.
The summit party - hot drinks and plenty of warm clothes, it was chilly.
Cracking hat Alison! 
David wearing his traditional woolly balaclava - you don't see too many on the hill nowadays. It's not that long ago it was the only hat to wear on a cold day on the tops.
The weather turned out just fine, with the cloud scudding along above our summit. Nice.
Every patch of snow was used in descent, it was good soft stuff, just right for running down as it absorbed all impact, easy on the old knees.
Our girls were togged up for the cold. Obviously enjoying the snow.
Superb lighting to the south, Loch Laggan is somewhere in the glare.
Back at the river the boys, being boys, played with the river ice, amazingly thick and heavy, we are talking about the ice........
.....they still managed to smash it.
Our only bird life today was a rather out of season Osprey. 
Very arty for hill walkers to appreciate - don't you think so?

This monolith is never going to be seen by the car based tourist, the public road stops on the other side of the bridge, and there is a gate too.

So what was the purpose of spending money to put it here...... 
A good pre-dinner walk, done in a very respectable five hours. 

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