For my second drive up to the hills since passing my driving test I was again looking for fairly close Munros with an easy drive. My eyes were soon following the A9 up the map and it seemed only fitting I should finally drive up this way after many slow and difficult bus journeys and train rides. I parked up in a layby off the road and looked to the horsehoe circuit I was planning - Sgairneach Mhor, Beinn Udlamain (what a great name for a hill) and A'Mharconaich.
I walked under the train track and up the landrover track to a rather posh bridge leading to the heathery slopes of the first hill, Sgairneach Mhor. I couldn't find a path so just picked my way across heather until arriving at the north east prow where a muddy path was worn.
I soon reached the flatter summit, getting chased by what I presume was a Grouse, although difficult to tell - my ornithology not being up to much.
The wind pepped up a bit here, obviously annoyed that it was warm for a moment further down. It was quite brisk and chilly. I had my sandwiches and coffee at the curiously flat and satisfying summit.
There's something quite nice about being up high and seeing the rounded hills all around you on the skyline rather than sharp summits and drops.
I continued on, with a cracking view of Ben Alder which I had to stop and admire. There were plenty of shower clouds to add drama to the scene, my camera doesn't pick out the sense of height and size of Alder.
I carried on, across the Bealach marked Carn 'Ic Loumhaidh (another great name) to 'the gloomy hill'. More good views down Loch Ericht and I could see my route of a few years ago, doing a multi-day trip round Culra bothy to Ben Alder Cottage and back out to Dalwhinnie.
I had more sandwiches and coffee at the giant cairn and continued on pleasantly high slopes to the next Munro, A'Mharconaich.
This was not as good a summit as the other two and also brought closer the knee crunching descent down to the track again, which right enough crunched my sensitive knee. I gritted my teeth and told myself I would do more strengthening excerises for the knee when I got back. Halfway down I heard people shouting. Quite a surprise as I hadn't seen anyone all day. Turns out it was a couple looking for their dog. I hope they found the poor wee chap, i didn't didn't see sight nor sound.
My Scarpa boots starting punishing my little toe joint on the way back, but all in all a lovely high level route. Kind of glad I didn't include the Corbett on the round..although it seemed a shame to miss it out.
Certainly a walk of amazing views of the Ericht hills.
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