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Meall Chuaich - Nice enough but without the 'WOW' factor

Meall Chuaich - Nice enough but without the 'WOW' factor

Postby Oldman » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:35 pm

Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Date walked: 14/04/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

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I needed to get a walk in as my old bones were seizing up and the wee flat walks in the local area seemed to be doing me no good at all. Daughter (my minder 'cause I'm not allowed out on my own) and I grabbed the opportunity on Thursday and headed where the weather was forecast to be best. At 9AM we parked up on the A9 and by 9.15AM we were on our way. Another car had parked up with three ladies who were having a coffee before setting off. We told them we would see them again as they passed us because we (more correctly 'I') travel slowly enjoying the ambiance of the hills as we go. And so we were off and strolling at our usual easy pace.
Meall Chuaich 013.jpg
That cloud will soon clear
After 1.5 miles we reached the dam at 9.40AM and finally got to the foot of the hill at 1015AM having walked the 2.7 miles in just one hour - quite quick for us especially as we stopped a couple of times just to look around and enjoy the solitude. It has to be said though, that the dam and aquaduct and huge great pipes are all a bit of an eyesore and the track is sore on the old feet (I'm not moaning, just telling it as it is). Not to worry - the hill and hopefully some wildlife lie ahead. We left the track onto a proper path (heavenly relief on the feet) and soon were rewarded by the sight of two birds of prey giving us a display over Coire Chuaich - it was superb and we must have spent a good ten minutes observing them with camera poised. Unfortunately they never came close enough to get a good shot but for what it's worth I've attached one.
Meall Chuaich 017.jpg
Off the path and onto the hill - great
Meall Chuaich 022.jpg
Buzzards or maybe eagles?
So now it was onwards and upwards at a slow pace looking back to see if those ladies were catching up. We finally saw them at the bothy when we were about a third of the way up the hill and decided that they would never pass us so we headed on feeling sort of 'uncatchable'. At that point we actually slowed down a bit from our already slow speed but soon we were approaching the top. We kept looking back to see where our three followers were but never saw them again - how strange is that? However about 300m from the top walking in an easterly direction we suddenly saw ahead of us and walking in a northerly direction - three women! Where the h--- had they come from? We had been looking forward to the cairn all to ourselves but now we had to share it - what a blow!! As ever however they were very nice and didn't complain once about having to share the cairn with us. Instead of following our route (they were locals and knew the area well) they had continued along the track from the bothy for about 1600m before cutting up onto the hill. Although the hill was a bit steeper, they reckoned that the ground was easier to walk on and a good deal faster although they were going to follow the Walkhighlands route back down to give them a bit of a circuit. At the summit we had some refreshment, a bit of a chinwag and the mandatory high fives before setting off back down. We had actually reached the top in 2hrs40mins - fast for us (me).
Meall Chuaich 028.jpg
Mandatory high fives
Rather than go down the ladie's route which we thought might be a bit steep for my old legs we decided to try and skirt round the rocky bits by heading off in a WSW direction to intersect the downward path at about 700872. This involved the easiest walking of the day accross short heather, no rocks and no bog - excellent. We joined the downward path at the planned point and took a couple more pics.
Meall Chuaich 031.jpg
Must be the easiest one yet Oldman
Meall Chuaich 035.jpg
heather burning on other side of Coire Chuaich
Just before rejoining the track I decided to cool off my feet in Allt Coire Chuaich - it was fantastic!
Meall Chuaich 036.jpg
Never mind the white legs, this is feet heaven!!
Meall Chuaich 037.jpg
View from feet heaven.
During our walk we had heard and seen some grouse but none had been willing to pose for the camera until one gave us a last chance. It was a bit distant and so the pic is not too good however I think it is a black grouse but no doubt someone will correct me as I'm not too good at bird identification.
Meall Chuaich 043.jpg
Black Grouse? I'm only familiar with the Famous Grouse!!
As we walked down the track I was grateful that I had cooled the old feet because they started to burn and it was with some relief that we arrived back at the car. We took 5hrs30mins of which walking time was 4hrs40mins - not bad I think for Oldman.
Meall Chuaich 049.jpg
Final look towards Loch Chuaich
That's our first of the Springtime and we hope to get a few more walks in during the summer and autumn. My birthday is on midsummer's day and I intend to spend it in the hills. Good walking y'all. Oldman
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Re: Meall Chuaich - Nice enough but without the 'WOW' factor

Postby ChrisW » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:54 pm

Hey Oldman, great report and some nice pics to go with it....that water must have been bloody freezing on your feet...rather you than me :lol: enjoyed your report, thanks for sharing :D
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Re: Meall Chuaich - Nice enough but without the 'WOW' factor

Postby mountain thyme » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:36 pm

Good report..well done.. keep getting out there... even if the minder has to go too..haha
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mountain thyme
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