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Meow More!

Meow More!


Postby BlackPanther » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:35 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Meall Mor (Easter Ross)

Date walked: 28/03/2016

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 18.7 km

Ascent: 650m

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After wet Saturday and windy Easter Sunday came the bank holiday Monday with some hope for better conditions... Forecast said showers and occasional cloud, but it was good enough for us :D
All we needed was a local hill with good views. Having finished Strathconnon Grahams, we turned our attention to Easter Ross (ha ha, so appropriate for Easter holidays). There are some interesting looking hills in this area, some very remote, some handy for shorter days.
Our target for Monday was Meall Mor - the BIG HILL :D It was first brought to my attention as a potential spring outing a few weeks ago, when I read Yorjick's report on this hill, describing the approach from Glen Glass. Meall Mor can be done from the north, but this involves walking right through the middle of an extensive windfarm ( :evil: :evil: ) so the Glass route seemed much nicer. SMC Guide to Grahams also suggests this option.
One word of warning: it looks like the forest along Glen Glass is currently prepared for extensive tree felling. At the moment of writing this, there is no issue driving up to Eileanach Lodge, but it may change any moment. Beware of stick lorries! :shock:
A few words about our route. On the way up we followed the instructions from SMC Guide, using one of tracks through the forest up to the edge of the windfarm, then it's a simple jaunt along the ridge to the summit, with some peat-hag jumping involved. We varied the descent by taking a direct route down to Loch Glass, where another track follows the loch side:

Track_MEALL MOR 28-03-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


From Eileanach Lodge we crossed the bridge and walked on a good track along River Glass. It was a lovely, bright morning and we were both in good mood. Maybe just a Graham today, but we were ready to enjoy the day to the full!
This track is used to access Wyvis Lodge and it looks like it's cyclable all the way to the opposite end of the loch. Bingo! I can see a bike-hike combo coming soon (two Grahams included):
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After about a mile, we arrived at a locked gate, luckily there is a stile, if a bit wonky and with missing planks here and there. We crossed the river back to the north side of the glen, stoppin for a couple of minutes on the weir, to take photos.
From this point, there is a nice view up the loch with Wyvis looming above to the left:
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Me looking back at the wonky stile :lol:
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The track following the loch side has been widened - definitely prepared for stick lorries. I'm glad we did this route before tree felling starts!
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At 535704 from a junction, we took a grassy track, climbing steadily through the forest. Well "grassy" is probably not the best way to describe it. It looks grassy at the very beginning, later it's just muddy :lol: Of course, we made it worse for ourselves by tackling this route after two days of heavy rain, but it seems this track is always wet.
Looking down the muddy experience:
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I was beginning to worry, this was going to be a BHL (boring heathery lump) kind of expedition, but then we emerged from the forest and I was taken aback by the fantastic panorama of Loch Glass and Ben Wyvis across:
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The track was still wet. Kevin suggested, we could take a different one on the way back (which turned out to be a brilliant idea). At the moment we were in the shadow of the whooshing wind turbines...
The track and "our" hill:
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Hmmm... I don't think I will ever have friendly feelings towards these monstrosities. Sorry, folks, I DON'T LIKE YOU!
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I was a bit concerned, when I noticed a large, grey cloud approaching from the direction of the summit. We were prepared for wintry showers, but we'd rather stay dry, of course...
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We followed the track almost to the nearest turbine and then turned west as we gained the ridge. I knew we were to encounter some peat hags and I wasn't surprised when we had to zigzag left-right-left-right, to find our way across them :lol:
Hmmm, the big question, which way?
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In the shadow of wind turbines...
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So far, this TR sounds like Meall Mor is a hell of a bore: wet tracks, deep forest, windfarms, peat hags, what else? But oddly, I was enjoying myself!
Once past the first "portion" of hags, walking was easier. We picked a faint vt track and followed it to the first top (656m). Views were getting better already and the best was yet to come!
The windfarm from the west:
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Cromarty Firth and the rigs:
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Beinn Tarsuinn to the north. This Graham also hosts a large windfarm, but it can't be seen from this side and just as well:
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The second area of peat hags is much easier to cross, just follow the faint track:
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There was plenty of weather around us, sunshine and cloud, but so far we avoided any showers. The cloud came in all shapes and sizes, with 50 shades of grey attached :lol:
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From the second top (717m) we could now see the summit with the trig point as well as the better side of Wyvis:
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To the summit... A few more peat hags on the way. Meall Mor is hence classified as WPHL (wet peat haggy lump) :lol:
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I was impressed by the eastern panorama towards the sea...
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...but Lucy preferred view from the summit. The northern aspect of Ben Wyvis really make it look like a truly magnificent mountain!
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Ready to Meow More! Graham no. 46. Lucy bagged her 11th.
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The top was a bit cold and windy as another cloud was passing above us (luckily, this one didn't spoil the day with rain) but we couldn't resist exploring the summit area. We discovered how fantastic viewpoint this hill is, especially to Ben Wyvis and upper Glen Glass. The more distant mountains were partially obstructed by cloud, but what we saw was good enough! What Meall Mor lacks in character, it gains in location, being so close to this unknown side of Wyvis. I think photos speak for themselves.
Upper Glass:
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A wider pano with Wyvis to the left:
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Lower Glass:
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Beinn Dearg and friends:
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We walked a short distance past the trig point to the edge of the cliffs falling to Loch Glass. It's really worth taking this little detour as the views across the glen are simply breathtaking. Wide panoramas from my little camera show it best:
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A few "standard" snaps:
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Kevin so dwarfed by Ben Wyvis! Later we agreed, this view made us want to climb BW again. We never bothered to visit the outlying tops, so here was an excuse for more meowing on our local Munro!
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We returned to the trig point where Kevin posed for his summit snap:
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A short distance away from the summit we found a perfect place for mountain picnic - a large shelter:
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The northern pano:
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After a long break with tea, sandwiches and wonderful views, we packed up to start our descent. On the way back, we noticed other walkers on their way up. Hey, we didn't expect to see anybody, this is not exactly the most popular of Grahams...
I was actually stopped by two lovely girls, who recognized me as BP from WH :lol: I found out, I'm pretty popular in Dogplodder's circle :wink:
We didn't really fancy jumping over countless peat hags again, so we skirted past them to the right and decided to descend directly to the track leading straight to Loch Glass. The direct descent was all right on thick heather (at least the vegetation was dry now) but if taking this detour on the way up, I'd suggest staying on the track rather than cutting the corners.
We picked up the track lower down, and very quickly we were overwhelmed but the great views in front of us. The track takes a wide swerve into the glen as it passes below the crags of Leac an Taraidh:
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Loch Glass and Wyvis yet again:
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Panoramas:
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Only from here we could appreciate the steep southern face of Meall Mor, the aspect that can't be seen if going up and down through the forest:
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The track, a bit wet higher up, becomes dry and grassy lower down. The sun came out as well and I enjoyed the day as much as I could:
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The track enters the forest eventually and to start it looks really wet...
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...but it improves after a short distance and is much more pleasant way of return, compare to the boggy track we took on the way up. Definitely a route variation worth considering if one has time to spare - it adds some distance to the walk but what it also adds, are fantastic views across Loch Glass.

So what can I say about Meall Mor? Not a big challenge but it's worth all the hassle with boggy tracks and peat hags. Not very many people have seen Ben Wyvis from this side, that's for sure :wink:

I have a cunning plan for something brave this weekend... Not revealing what but if plan comes together...
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3393
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Meow More!

Postby jamesb63 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:43 pm

Very nice report BP ,and beautiful pics of your day ,
I hope to get onto Munros further north soon and your
pics whet the appetite for them :clap: :clap:
User avatar
jamesb63
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 397
Munros:218   Corbetts:2
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Apr 14, 2015
Location: Alexandria

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