Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

Misplaced optimism on Meall Chuaich

Misplaced optimism on Meall Chuaich

Postby thepigguy » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:15 pm

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Date walked: 04/10/2018

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 614m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Meall Chuaich's easy, they said. It's just a walk-in, straight up the hillside and Bob's your third Munro, they said.
"They" are right, of course, but this turned into a harder trip than it needed to be and taught me a valuable lesson - be absolutely certain of the weather before you set out or risk damp disappointment.
Having come over from Orkney in the morning with vague plans for a smaller hill on the way down to Edinburgh, I reached Lay-by 94 on the A9 just after midday to find the weather far brighter and clearer than forecast.
I set off on the track alongside the waterway for what turned out to be a pleasant walk in, Creag Ruadh looking particularly attractive in the watery sunshine. There's a fair bit of work going on to the streams around the power station, but I was soon past there to reach the bothy/shooting hut near the foot of the hill itself.
The path uphill is obvious - at least in the early stages - but it's damp and slippy and I managed one of those slow motion tumbles onto my backside that would have been hilarious for anyone watching, but fortunately I was the only walker on the hill (which should have been a hint!)
The first three-quarters of the climb were grand with plenty of stops to admire the views opening up to the west, but also to check for incoming rain clouds, which were starting to gather to the south west.
Sure enough, I quickly needed to get waterproofs on and the last 15 minutes to the summit were pretty unpleasant, the large cairn at the top coming as a welcome sight.
Having missed out on the views over Badenoch and the Cairngorms, I trudged back along the path, but the visibility was getting worse - down to about five metres - and I quickly realised I'd managed to go astray.
Resorting to map and compass, I took a bearing (the first time in about 30 years I've done that, so I was glad I remembered how! After a short patch of deep heather, I regained a path and about ten minutes later was out of the cloud - a mobile phone check showing I was about ten yards off the WH route. That cadet corps training wasn't a total waste!
The descent was enjoyable as the weather cleared again, shafts of sunlight breaking through over the surrounding hills and Creag Ruadh again catching the eye. Getting back down, it was the walk back to the car and relief to be able to discard wet gear at the end of a mixed bag of a walk that at least had the satisfaction of another Munro conquered! Three down, 279 to go.

Lay-by 94 and the afternoon's target
Walking alongside "the cut"
Power station
It's actually a pleasant walk in.
The path up - pretty boggy and slippy in parts
A handy sign which had gone by the time I got back down
The climb levels off, but there's still a bit to go.
Soggy summit selfie
Murky conditions coming away from the top
Out of the clag and the views open up.
User avatar
Posts: 52
Munros:3   Corbetts:3
Grahams:5   Donalds:17
Sub 2000:39   Hewitts:5
Joined: Jul 7, 2017
Location: Westray, Orkney

Re: Misplaced optimism on Meall Chuaich

Postby The Rodmiester » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:25 pm

A fine wee walk, pity about the summit conditions, I always feel a bit cheated when I get no views, but hey there will be times you start off in poor visibility only to find the summit is clear and the views are to die for. Hope you get more of the latter, glad you had your map and compass :D
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Posts: 3393
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:76   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Newbigging

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: figueira10, Kev R, Shropshire Lad, Stevenp and 99 guests