I fancied a bit of a shorter walk this week as I wanted to be back in Edinburgh to watch Edinburgh play Ulster in the Heineken Cup semi final; glad I made it back in time as what a fantastic game it was. Edinburgh played some of the best rugby I have ever seen them play, unfortunately so did Ulster who were worthy winners in the end.
Any way enough of the rugby my choice of Munro this week was Meall Chuaich at the top of the Drumochter pass off the A9.
I'm always a bit wary of the A9 as it's a favourite spot for the police to gain some extra revenue for the policeman's ball or wherever it goes, with the dreaded speed cameras. I was taking it fairly steady looking out for white vans parked in a lay-by, but as I approached the turn off to Dalwhinnie I didn't spot the sneaky little blighter hiding in his unmarked dark coloured car on one of the access roads to the right. this one was really sneaky trying to hide with just his radar gun pointing down the road. The bad news is I was doing about 70 at that point in the 60 zone so I will be searching the mail for the next few weeks waiting for the dreaded letter.
It was a fantastic morning, cold, bright and clear with a bit of cloud hanging over the top of the mountains when I set off from lay-by 94. followed the path to the aqueduct and then turned left heading towards the Cuaich hydro electric station. The water was gushing down the aqueduct at a fair old rate of knots which I take it meant the station was generating electricity at the time.
I took the track past the hydro electric station and headed for the bothy at the head of Loch Cuaich, it's a good track so I made good time. It's amazing that even industrial buildings can look good when the sun is shining on them.
I followed the path to the bothy and then headed for the bridge over the Allt Coire Chuaich; as you cross the bridge the track leading up to Stac Meall Chuaich is directly in front of you it's a bit boggy in places but nothing more than you would expect at this time of year.
As you start to climb the view back along the track to the bothy and the power station is great, you can see the track winding off into the distance.
There was plenty of wildlife around, mountain hare, grouse and ptarmigan, they must have been enjoying the sunshine as well.
I made it to the summit of Meall Chuaich in a little under 2 hours; the views from the top were magnificent in all directions with snow covered peaks as far as the eye could see. There were some great snow formations on the fence posts at the summit.
I left the summit and followed the same route back down, as soon as I found a decent place to sit I stopped for lunch and whilst sitting there taking in the view met another walker, a chap from Ayr, who stopped and past the time of day with me for a while.
After my lunch stop I made good time back to the A9 and was back in Edinburgh in plenty of time to watch the rugby in the pub. All in all a good day out (apart from the possibility of 3 points on my licence and Edinburgh losing to Ulster by 3 points).
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.