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Meallach Mhor on the evening commute

Meallach Mhor on the evening commute

Postby Ranger » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:57 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Meallach Mhòr

Date walked: 30/04/2018

Time taken: 2.75 hours

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 530m

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After a couple of days working on the Balavil Estate near Kingussie, this was a quick afternoon jaunt - mostly on two wheels - en-route home to Deeside. Having made use of the flattest approach track along a glen I could remember, the ascent was a short romp up and down the heather of this retiring, underwhelming Corbett.

I parked at the bridge at the base of Glen Tromie, where the river plunges through a gorge, arriving after my work at around 3.30pm. I donned my new Montane windproof (intended to replace the tattered, much-loved version I’d been wearing since I was 13) and cycled off with the scents of pines enriched by the tang of spring showers. The lime greens of new growth were, as yet, sparse on the trees. The glen felt oddly domesticated, punctuated by a series of modern properties. There was barely any gradient to contend with, Meall Chuaich & a dog shaped snow-patch high on its northern flank dominating the skyline. Billowing clouds and ominous shadows threatened a downpour.

Heading south along Glen Tromie
Meallach Bheag, 695m, looks more impressive than its bigger brother from the glen
Meall Chuaich, with its dog-shaped snow patch, beyond the River Tromie
Meall Mheallach looms into view from the tarred Glen Tromie road
Meallach Mhor isn't the best at holding snow - just a couple of small patches

After 40 minutes of cycling the 7 miles up the glen, I left the crowing of a confused cockerel, from a near-by property, to embark on the short ascent – only a mile and 1200ft to the summit. The pathless heather-bashing was a bit harsh on my antiquated brashers. A steep, calf-burning slope was taken direct, with much blaeberry underfoot, criss-crossed by various paths, none manmade. Views broadened from the Newtonmore hills to Creag Meagaidh, reflective snow still blanketing its high plateau.

Looking south into the distant Gaick Forest area, home of two remote Corbetts
Considerable snow glimmers on the slopes of Creag Meagaidh, 20 miles distant
Skyscape looking south-westwards towards Meall Chuaich
The view south-eastwards into remote Grampian country of Carn Ealer and Beinn Bhreac (912m)
Shower cloud over Newtonmore
The Corbett A'Chaoirnich catches the sun in the Gaick Forest

The gradient eased and a carpet of cropped heather took me easily to the summit cairn. The high Cairngorms, dusted with fresh snow, were flanked by curtains of rain and hail. Elsewhere blue sky was a frequent backdrop; to a snowy Ben Alder over the shoulder of Meall Chuaich. I picked out Beinn Bhreac, surely the remotest Corbett in the Grampians. After 20 minutes at the top, I romped down the spoungey cushion of moss to the bike in only 15 minutes.

Heavy showers towards Aviemore
Sunshine on the ridges of Ben Alder, 20 miles away
Ben Alder beyond the summit cairn
Braeriach and the high Cairngorms with a dusting of fresh snow
Beautiful skyscape towards Aviemore
Pausing on my romp down the spoungey moss to photograph the summit in sunshine

The cycle down the glen was not the free-wheeling picnic it can often be. Having had no lunch my energy was sapped, and the head wind drained my momentum. A freezing deluge soaked me to the skin, with pins and needles from cold hands gripping the handlebars having to be shaken out. At one point I came off my bike for a break and was stumbling around like a drunk. I swept down possibly the only downhill stretch to return finally to the van, ending a descent where my average speed had only been 1 mph faster than the “uphill” section! :? :)

Still, a decent wee adventure squeezed into 3 hours, enlivening the commute home for sure :D

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