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Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Walking in the windfarm wonderland


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:16 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Meall Mór (Easter Ross)

Date walked: 27/12/2021

Time taken: 6.25 hours

Distance: 17.6 km

Ascent: 668m

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We first climbed Meall Mhor in spring 2016 (my old report is not displaying properly for some strange reason, need to fix it) and I never gave this Graham a second thought until recently. While looking for easy routes for short winter days, I remembered this modest hill, hidden behind the bulk of Ben Wyvis. It offers great views to the aforementioned Munro and the route we took (from Loch Glass) should not be a problem in winter conditions. We took advantage of the existing forest tracks up to the first col (544m); the upper section requires some peat hag jumping but walking is generally easy. The views might be spoiled by the close proximity of the wind turbines but we have already grown used to these structures popping up everywhere over Scotland. If you can't bring yourself to love them, just ignore them.

Track_MEALL MOR 17.6KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Monday morning offered us a frosty morning with low winds, which was a nice change from the blowy experience of the two previous days. We started from the road near Elleanach Lodge and took the track on the left side of River Glass, walking in Narnia-like landscape:
2021-12-27 meall mor 004.JPG

This was a longer route than the previous two festive outings (17.5km) so we started much earlier to give ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the winter wonderland.
2021-12-27 meall mor 006.JPG
Panther in the shades of black and blue

We crossed the weir on River Glass...
2021-12-27 meall mor 014.JPG

...and continued on the track along the loch for a short distance, passing a large area of felled forest:
2021-12-27 meall mor 019.JPG

Ben Wyvis across the Loch:
2021-12-27 meall mor 021.JPG

This track used to be a nice walk in the woods... Now it is more like a road through devastation :(
2021-12-27 meall mor 025.JPG

Today Kevin stuffed his pockets with several sets of spare batteries, to avoid the nasty surprise and now he was showing off by photographing every icicle en route :lol: :lol:
2021-12-27 meall mor 031.JPG

After roughly 3km of walking through mixed landscape of forest and what used to be forest, we emerged on the open slopes below Meall an Tuirc, only to face more icy conditions:
2021-12-27 meall mor 041.JPG

The track now zigzagged up to the first wind turbine, but we were distracted by the superb views across Loch Glass to the mighty Wyvis, Most walkers know Ben Wyvis as a simple "coffin lid" shape when approached from Garbat, but the less popular side of this Munro is definitely more impressive (and worth exploring!):
2021-12-27 meall mor 044.JPG
Panoramic view of Wyvis and Loch Glass

More icicles:
2021-12-27 meall mor 048.JPG

We left the icy track below the line of turbines ant walked across the wide col, negotiating a few peat hags en route. In wet conditions these could be a real pain in ***, but today the ground was frozen solid:
2021-12-27 meall mor 056.JPG

Kevin in the windfarm wonderland:
2021-12-27 meall mor 062.JPG

From the col it was an easy climb over grass and short heather (we didn't bother looking for paths) to the first top on the ridge (656m). From here, we could see the rest of the route, and of course the nightmare of every obscure hill bagger - more peat hags!
2021-12-27 meall mor 072.JPG

This time of year no peat hag would look appropriately without an icy decoration:
2021-12-27 meall mor 077.JPG
Icicles forever

Past the second set of hags, it was now easier ground all the way to the summit:
2021-12-27 meall mor 079.JPG

We were so glad that the wind has dropped so we could spend more time on top, enjoying the views of wintry hills in the distance. I'm writing this on a mid-January day with my digital thermometer showing +10*C. I saw Ben Wyvis earlier today from the hills above Beauly and it is completely bare. So nice to go back to that frosty Monday three weeks ago. It was a whole different world!
2021-12-27 meall mor 166.JPG
Photo session time for Kevin (again)

The distant Fannichs:
2021-12-27 meall mor 082.JPG

Lucy on the trig point (her 106th Graham), Cairn Chuinneag in the background:
2021-12-27 meall mor 171.JPG

The far north of the country must have enjoyed a nice cloud inversion...
2021-12-27 meall mor 179.JPG

...but we were more interested in much closer views, especially south to Wyvis. It looks so majestic:
2021-12-27 meall mor 088.JPG

Hopefully 2022 is going to be a good year... I was ready to end 2021 on a high. We were generally happy with our progress, despite not doing any new Munros, but over 20 new lower hills including some really remote Corbetts and Grahams (hills for connoisseurs) plus 18 plane crash sites! We got back on track after a dismal 2020 so I have a good reason to smile!
2021-12-27 meall mor 110.JPG

It is worth continuing past the summit trig to the edge of the cliffs above Loch Glass for the amazing views of Ben Wyvis and the loch below:
2021-12-27 meall mor 187.JPG
he wouldn't miss such opportunity, would he?

Panorama:
2021-12-27 meall mor 121.JPG

The western end of the loch and Wyvis Lodge:
2021-12-27 meall mor 117.JPG

Looking back east:
2021-12-27 meall mor 115.JPG

Wintering rigs in Cromarty Firth:
2021-12-27 meall mor 132.JPG

We spent over half an hour on the summit before packing up and retracing our steps to the windfarm. This time, we passed just below one of the turbines. They always make me feel so uneasy, especially when working. The whoooosh sound is disturbing :?
2021-12-27 meall mor 200.JPG

Sgurr Mor in the distance:
2021-12-27 meall mor 203.JPG

Loch Morie and a whooshing turbine:
2021-12-27 meall mor 152.JPG

It is possible to descend to Loch Glass from the windfarm, taking a steeply dropping track (we did exactly that the previous time), but today we didn't fancy the alternative descent - it looked too icy to our taste. Instead, we returned the way we came up. Down in the glen, the world was quiet and peaceful:
2021-12-27 meall mor 157.JPG
Peace and tranquility


Tuesday forecast was probably the best of the whole long weekend, so we couldn't miss the chance and headed for one of our favourite Grahams! TR in progress.
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3793
Munros:260   Corbetts:173
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Re: Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:37 pm

I can see Meall Mor from my kitchen window, a constant reminder I've still not been up there! So thanks for a timely nudge to do something about it. What state was the road in? When I came up with Pete for a short walk to the loch the road was pretty dire in places, not encouraging an immediate return! :?
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Re: Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:08 pm

Love the icicles!
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Mal Grey
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Re: Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:44 pm

dogplodder wrote:What state was the road in? When I came up with Pete for a short walk to the loch the road was pretty dire in places, not encouraging an immediate return!


The road is all right, we drove very slowly as it was a frosty morning and the surface was icy... But managed without any problems. Parking space might be an issue (part of the small car park by Elleanach Lodge is marked as "turning place only"). I think best to go there during the week to avoid overcrowding :D
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3793
Munros:260   Corbetts:173
Grahams:124   
Sub 2000:66   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Postby grahamyarr » Thu Mar 03, 2022 10:55 pm

I headed up Meall Mor today using your route (not for the first time!). Cheers for taking the time to put these routes and walk descriptions on. They've been so useful as l work my way through the Grahams. 66 to go after today!
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Re: Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Mar 08, 2022 10:43 am

grahamyarr wrote:I headed up Meall Mor today using your route (not for the first time!). Cheers for taking the time to put these routes and walk descriptions on. They've been so useful as l work my way through the Grahams. 66 to go after today!


Happy to be of service :D :D Meall Mor is a very nice wee mountain (even with the wind turbines en route) so good to know you enjoyed it, too! The summit views to Ben Wyvis are amazing especially with snow still on the higher slopes.

Good luck with the remaining Grahams. We have 86 to go but honestly we don't expect to finish them (far too many in awkward locations). We probably won't go beyond 140 unless we spend more time in southern Scotland bagging hills :wink:
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3793
Munros:260   Corbetts:173
Grahams:124   
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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