Feeling sorry for Meall Chuaich
by charliebloke1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:45 pm
Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter
Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich
Date walked: 22/08/2012
Time taken: 4 hours3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
... and so to another first today for us southern tourists and the joy that is the A9. We parked up in Lay-by 94, remarking to each other what a good idea this numbering of lay-bys was, naively believing they were to assist us walkers in finding the start of walks. Then after a few more huge articulates had thundered by, shaking the rust off our poor small car, I thought that they were more likely to enable the emergency services to locate our body parts quickly.
Hence we quickly geared up & hastily walked the short distance up the road to the gated service track and the start of the walk. Thankfully today the gate was unlocked & we didn’t have to undergo the undignified passing of the dog ceremony in full view of motorists passing by.
It’s a short 300m walk away from the noise of the traffic and the A9 was quickly forgotten as we reached the aqueduct & turned left following the track for 1.5km until we reached the bridge shortly before the Cuiach Hydro Station. The approach walk itself may lack the drama and views of other walks, but with nobody else in sight, it had a great feeling of isolation and we enjoyed the gentle amble, soaking up the sunshine, chatting and generally disturbing to the resident Grouse & Sheep.
After following the track left for a couple of junctions we had our first clear view of today’s target ahead and if I hadn’t felt sorry for it before I certainly did now. No doubt suffering self esteem issues from its Walk Highlands description and thereby making no attempt to stand out as a Munro of note. It almost felt like it was attempting to hide itself away from the masses in camouflage!
We continued toward Loch Cuaich before branching off right, passing the private bothy, over the bridge and then branching left onto the smaller path where the only real climb of any note for the day began.
Here the badly eroded path climbed steeply, getting a little boggy in places, for a short while up to the shoulder of Meall Chuaich. It really was a short lived climb, and the bogs were easily negotiated with a few small leaps & bounds, as the path climbed through the heather and the abundance of Grouse kept Corby entertained. They seemingly enjoyed playing dare with him, taking off at the last minute before mocking and cursing him loudly every few minutes. Grouse, it seems, are very good judges at the length of extendable leads!
Upon gaining the shoulder we took a brief rest-bite to catch our breath, fill up on rations and generally take in the views back toward Loch Ericht & the Ben Alder range. It was then that our isolation was briefly broken by the only other person we saw all day heading back from the summit. A short discussion ensued about which mountains we were actually looking at but neither party was confident enough to confirm which was which without getting our maps out. Note to self: must do more homework. So we made our farewells and continued on the now much more gentle climb up toward the summit.
As we left the path through the Heather the path now winded eastward to the summit getting rockier in places and gradually deteriorated into a bit of a sparse boulder field as it steepened for the final summit push. Here the job of Corby teasing by the Grouse was taken on by what seemed like hordes of Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare. So much so that when we approached the summit he had absolutely no interest of today’s target ahead.
Okay this may not be the most impressive Munro in the land but that’s quite some hefty cairn it’s got going for it and as we wandered about the plateau we couldn’t help but be amazed by the 360° views in every direction (sadly my point & shoot don’t do them justice) . . . . Again I just wish we knew what/where we were looking at. We spent a good half hour at the summit munching and generally just feeling pretty pleased for to have it to ourselves.
Then it was time for the obligatory summit shots & it was back down the way we came. I’ve got to admit the walk out wasn’t so enjoyable on the way back . . . but then I was itching to get to the pub and we’d run out of conversation by that point. I can see why many leave this for a winter walk but I don’t want to detract from what was a really enjoyable walk, bundles of wildlife, cracking views and even for me, and my beer sponsored belly, it didn’t feel like we’d just climbed a Munro.
- Me in fetching knee supports with my boy.
by spiderwebb » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:32 pm
Great to see it without the white stuff, one of the better hills down that way methinks. Cheers for posting
by electricfly » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:21 pm
by Jambo235 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:33 pm
"A bit of sunshine & it felt like the South of France" - clearly you've never been to the South of France
by charliebloke1 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:42 pm
by Jambo235 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:10 pm