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Meowing on Meall na Faochaig

Meowing on Meall na Faochaig

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:24 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Meall na Faochaig

Date walked: 06/03/2021

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 703m

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Two weeks ago when we strolled casually along Gleann Meinich, we discussed a possible traverse of Meall na Faochaig using this glen as a descent route. We had climbed the Graham before as well as some of its outlying tops, but we always dropped down to the south, to Loch Beannacharain. The new idea was to climb the main summit first then traverse to Cnap na Feola, then descend NW into the upper Gleann Meinich. Initially, we considered climbing up via Creag na Saile, but practicality prevailed and in the end we reached the top using the easy route up the old stalkers track from Inverchoran.

Track_MEALL NA FAOCHAIG 21KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We parked in a large layby just past Glenmeanie and walked along the road for 3.5km to reach the start of the stalkers track:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 005.JPG

The day was rather cold and cloudy, little wind in the glen but we expected it might get blowy on higher ground so packed up extra layers and ski gloves.They proved useful later.
Looking back to Inverchoran from the start of the hill track:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 011.JPG

A glimpse of hope for better weather - bright spells to the west:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 017.JPG

The track turns sharply at 300m, leading to a small mast on Creag Iucharaidh. We had detoured to this little top (a good viewpoint) on one of our previous visits to Meall na Faochaig, so today we didn't bother, we left the track and aimed straight up the slope. The ground was still frozen after the cold night, so at least we didn't drown in bog:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 024.JPG

The summit of Bac na Eich across the glen:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 028.JPG

Not much to say about the climb itself, just a straightforward slope, mostly grassy, a few rocks here and there. Views got better as we gained height, sadly no sunny spells for us today :(
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 037.JPG

On a good day, the peaks of Strathfarrar are very prominent to the south, but today it was all grey and gloomy:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 041.JPG

Higher up we encountered some snow, it was frozen solid, good support for crampons if you ventured to Munro height:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 047.JPG

A short walk east along the ridge brought us to the summit. Meall na Faochaig is a hill we know well, but always a pleasure to revisit, even if the more distant views are a bit dodgy:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 167.JPG

Looking west to upper Strathconon:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 176.JPG

The bulky shape of Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a Mhuillin group including the infamous Salamander wall, a bit murky today but still tempting ;P
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 055.JPG

The ridge we were planning to traverse. On a good day, Cnap na Feola is framed by more distant shapes of the Fannichs, Fionn Bheinn and Slioch (see my old report for better pictures). We had been to Cnap na Feola before and we remembered that the connection between the two is very wet and peat-haggy, but a line of old fenceposts serves a s a good navigational guide.
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 062.JPG

Looking down to Inverchoran from the summit ridge:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 178.JPG

Meall na Faochaig is less than 700m but it was windy enough now to make us feel frrrrezing! Extra layers of clothing came out, bodywarmers and ski gloves. Winter on the hills is not over just yet!
Once well wrapped up, we set of on our boggy traverse. And discovered, to our delight, that most of the bog was just as frozen as we felt :lol: We could walk across peat hags without hesitation, occasionally admiring "peat sculptures":
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 077.JPG

Today I prefer icicles to a mudbath :lol: :lol:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 086.JPG

We kept close to the edge of the impressive cliffs falling down to Gleann Meinich, stopping from time to time for photos:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 113.JPG

The Salamander seen from across the glen:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 190.JPG

The actual top is called Creag Ghlas, here seen from a viewpoint above a small waterfall:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 120.JPG

Lower Gleann Meinich and Meallan nan Uan:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 097.JPG

At some point we scared away a small herd of deer:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 118.JPG

The ridge drops to 500m just before Cnap na Feola, this is the most peat-haggy part of the traverse:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 123.JPG

Weather deteriorated as we neared the top of Cnap na Feola, even a quick snow shower passed over us. Nothing unusual for early March:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 126.JPG

View back east from the top, looking back to the western ridge of Meall na Faochaig:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 198.JPG

Cnap na Feola is a TUMP but not much more... Even the cairn is tiny:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 137.JPG

Upper Strathconon from Cnap na Feola:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 206.JPG

During our previous visit to this top, we dropped south to Strathconon, over Meal Dubh and back to the road just up from Carnoch, but this time we had different plans. After a short snack and tea break, it was time to aim NW towards a small top (524m) and then down into the upper end of Glean Meinich. Apart from a few snow patches and some wet ground on lower slopes, we encountered no problems:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 149.JPG

Creag Ghlas and Sgurr a'Ghlas Leathaid from the upper Gleann Meinich:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 214.JPG

Water levels in local streams have dropped significantly since our previous visit here two weeks ago, but the glen is still an amazing place:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 160.JPG

So our Strathconon adventure ended with a lovely walk back down Gleann Meinich. Even the crossing of Allt a'Droighinn proved little more than a single hop:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 163.JPG

Looking back into the glen, weather didn't improve much throughout the day:
2021-03-06 meall na faochaig 223.JPG

Summing up, not a huge walk but considering the cold, windy weather, this was as much was we could do. Hopefully, next time we'll venture a bit higher, maybe onto the wild Munros of Glen Affric?
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Re: Meowing on Meall na Faochaig

Postby gld73 » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:14 pm

I've only done this one via the 'usual' route and on the same day as Beinn Mheadhoin across the way. Trying to get some variety on routes up local hills just now is good though, so this looks like a good one for me to try :D
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