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Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby mrssanta » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:44 pm

Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Date walked: 28/08/2016

Distance: 14.5 km

Ascent: 600m

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We had come down off the Glen Feshie munros and got ourselves to Layby 94 on the Southbound A9 by about 3.30pm. Too early to camp and time for a cheeky evening munro before bed. The plan was to walk in to the foot of the hill, find a camp spot and pitch the tent, climb the Munro and walk out in the morning. So that is what we did and we had another adventure doing it.

meall chuaich.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Layby 94 and Meall Chuaich

Now some people say Meall Chuaich is a bit of a boring hill. I completely disagree. It is a helpfully high start point, a nice walk in to get warmed up, with some interesting bits of hydroelectric engineering, a straightforward climb on a reasonable path, bit rocky at the top, one false summit, and the views in every direction are absolutely tremendous.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as we walked in.
the aqueduct which takes water from the Power Station to join water from Loch Ericht

our target

the power station

the wee dam at the power station. All very dry, and the power station didn't seem to be doing much

our target again

We found a nice flat green spot close to the bridge over the Allt Choire Chuaich where we pitched the tent and left the camping gear behind.
camp spot by the burn

As we climbed the afternoon sun made some lovely light and dark on the hills, and we reached the top a little before 7pm. We spent some time looking at the views and watching the patterns of light and dark and weather coming slowly over from the west. Then we went back down again.
looking back to the bothy where shooting parties can rest.

a gorge on the slopes of the next hill

small boggy pond

lovely evening sun

same hillside from a bit higher up, where it gets stonier

Looking towards Ben Alder and its neighbours

Creag Meagaidh?

Caringorms in the sun with the distinctive shape of Cairn Toul towards the right

and a wee bit further south with Cairn Toul towards the left on this one. Can we see as far as Lochnagar?

Rudolph with Speyside and Craig Meagaidh behind

and me. Just to prove I was there

bit of weather on the way

same view, slightly different exposure

sun shining through rain over Loch Ericht

As we arrived at the tent the first big drops of rain landed. We put on a kettle to make tea and food as the rain got stronger. I retreated inside the tent as it became first heavy, then torrential, then monsoon-like! Rudolph boiled the water and brought it to me inside the tent and I did the blowing-up of the dried food and brewed the drinks. We carry a microfibre cloth which is brilliant for drying off and it earned its keep when Rudolph came into the tent. There was nothing for it but to have an early night. The rain slowed and stopped eventually and during the night there were fantastic stars.
After a good sleep I woke up at about 6.30am to see that the air outside the mesh inner tent was thick with midges. I decided it was not morning yet. It was promising to be another lovely sunny day, but without a breath of wind. We thought that once the sun came up properly round the side of the hill the midges would go, but a cloud stubbornly hid the sun from sight and the midges refused to budge. Rudolph bravely went out in his midge net to brew me a cup of tea, he's good like that and the midges don't nibble him quite as badly as they nibble me, but he discovered the stove was not working properly either. We decided to pack up the tent and make a run for it. So thickly lathered in Smidge and attired in midge nets we stuffed everything away with no finesse at all and set off down the path.
bit more water in the dam now

and the aqueduct. The power station was making satisfying power noises and lots of water spurting out underneath

aqueduct again

Once we were on the move it was not too bad and we breakfasted on Werthers Originals out of my pocket. That got us back to the car and as we walked we dreamed of bacon and egg rolls. We resolved to find some for breakfast and they were excellent!
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:22 pm

Glad you got a good breakfast - you made more of the photo opportunities on this hill than I did, but I do remember the views to the Cairngorms and across to the window on Creag Meagaidh :clap: :clap:
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby simon-b » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:20 pm

I agree, mrs s, it is a nice hill with some superb views. The mountains in those views also look really good when they are covered in snow and the sun is out.
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby jmarkb » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:34 am

Some great lighting effects in some of those shots!

mrssanta wrote:small boggy pond

An exquisite and unusual feature - I'll make special point of looking for this next time I'm up there :wink:
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:50 pm

Yes, this hill definitely doesn't get as much credit as it should. Maybe because it's so close to Drummochter Pass... We did it in winter and loved every minute - great panoramas from the summit. The Graham opposite, Creag Ruadh, is a good half day outing for shorter days, a lovely long ridge with good views.

I should go back to these hills in winter time, run out of new mountains to climb in the neighbourhood, these are perfect repeats :D
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby dogplodder » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:21 pm

I enjoyed this hill too. Hills are what they are without apology and don't try to fulfil a list of criteria which we in our wisdom have decided hills must have. No one is making us climb them and if folk see them as boring why do they climb them? Ah yes, to tick off a list they've strangely imposed on themselves so they can feel good about it. I've a sneaking feeling it's people who're in danger of being 'boring' more than hills! Rant over. :silent:
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby ancancha » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:47 pm

Every hill has something as they say :wink:
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:00 pm

ACH one day one day our paths will cross
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby jim hutcheson » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:21 pm

Did this hill a couple of weeks before you, it was an easy day out. It provides a good viewpoint of the surrounding hills and fortunately I had good conditions and no midgie problems. :) I managed to include Creag Ruadh to my route as well which gave a pleasant extension onto my day.
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:36 pm

I like the idea of a cheeky evening munro before bed :D !
I too enjoyed climbing Meall Chuaich. The views from it are amazing (loved your pictures!) and for a hill that is so close to a road there is a surprisingly remote feel about it 8) .
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Re: Meall Chuaich, what a lovely hill.

Postby mrssanta » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:13 pm

I just realised a whole lot of people had replied to my post!
One day indeed Gammy we will bump in to each other and that will be a treat!
I've never found a boring hill yet Dogplodder; some are a little more exciting than others but they all have their memories to add to the store.
Climbing hills in the evening is good you always get interesting light. Except when it is chucking it down of course. And if there are midges, it is better to be on the move.
thanks for all your replies, I think it would be great in winter.
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