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Meall Chuaich - winter memories

Meall Chuaich - winter memories


Postby BlackPanther » Mon May 16, 2011 1:27 pm

Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Date walked: 25/10/2010

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 14.4 km

Ascent: 620m

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So far this spring we had luck. Weather was good and mountains smiled at us :D But to be honest, life is more than just climbing and last weekend I had a great taste of everyday: we spent Saturday and Sunday refurbishing our house. With a brush in one hand and a bucket of paint in the other, I tried to think about something more exciting than looking at the world from the top of the ladder.
And I dug something up in my memory garden: this short walk from last November. So today, when the paint on my walls is still drying out, I thought I could share the story of Meall Chuach and the first snow in winter 2010/2011.
It was a clear November day. Cold and crispy, a few clouds here and there, but it looked promising. We drove all the way down from Inverness to Dalwhinie to climb Meall Chuach which was said to be an easy Munro.

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We found a place to park in the layby no. 94 on the east side of the A9. Just a short way back up the road there is a gate locking the clear track which is the start of the walk. We climbed over the gate and walked along the track until it joined a wider one - the one alongside a concrete aqueduct.
We stayed on this track for about 2 km and soon we crossed the bridge over the aqueduct, next to the Cuaich power station:
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Big pipeline and A'Mharconaich in the background. That's when I noticed the first snow on the tops.
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Carn na Caim to the southeast:
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Past the power station the track split, but we stayed on the one along the Allt a'Choire Chais. We could now clearly see our "target" Munro in the front of us - the hill looked friendly enough:
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To our left, the bulk of Creag Ruadh blocked the view:
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A bit of whiteness showed up here and there but the scenery was more autumn than winter-like:
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Looking back along the track:
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Still feels like autumn:
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The river Allt a'Choire Chais:
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On the last small bridge. The path heading up the slopes of Meall Chuach is clearly seen to the right:
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Soon we tackled the hillside, which was rather boggy to start with but all the worst muddy bits could be avoided by practicing some jumping and hopping :lol: :lol: As we gained height, we were presented with some good views to the south and surrounding hills:
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I think it must be Lochnagar?...
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Coire Chais snowed in:
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The southern side was clouding up (as pics above are showing) but surprisingly, to the north, we still had blue sky:
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The summit of Meall Chuach still enjoys the sunshine:
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After about 350m of steep-ish climbing we reached the more level shoulder of our mountain - and we took our time to look around:
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The way we came:
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There must be a fire somewhere... maybe just some heather burning.
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I was happy enough to strike a pose:
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The final part of the ascent took us up a craggy slope to the wide summit of our Munro. It may be a featureless climb, but the mountain is a superb view point especially towards the Cairngorms. The summit area was covered in the first snow and temperature was certainly below zero :? The main cairn would be difficult to miss:
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Nice snow shapes:
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Cairngorms looked lovely in their white coats:
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Cairn Toul and Devil's Point:
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Looking east:
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On the southern side the sky was turning pink...
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My favorite photo of the whole year 2010!
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By the cairn:
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We had a quick snack by the cairn and as the cold was getting more and more unpleasant, we headed back down the hill carrying with us one of the loveliest early winter memories in a long time...
And that's how the story ends. Now it's time to pick my brush and bucket :D :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3171
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Meall Chuaich - winter memories

Postby HighlandSC » Mon May 16, 2011 1:43 pm

Good stuff :D
Nice to see the views we never got when doing this hill just a few weeks ago.
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HighlandSC
 
Posts: 2179
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Location: USA (formerly Inverness)

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