An opportunity to blow some of the cobwebs away should never be overlooked, so with the boss's blessing Beinn the Collie and I set off for a short day on the hill. With no unclimbed hills now meeting my criteria of more time in boots that sitting in the car I was nevertheless grateful just to get out and break the duck for the the year.
I must have passed Meall Dearg dozens of times over the year driving between Crief and Aberfeldy and didn't really recall any parking places, though I was fortunately able to park tightly against the fence beside the gate at NN907411 from which a track led firstly west of 400m before swinging NNE. I continued more or less west up easy ground of heather covered with fresh snow seeing to reach the first of two subsidiary tops lying south east of Meall Dearg itself, and I following these to the summit which is topped by a trig point. After a bite or two of pie which gave Beinn a chance to play in the snow for ten minutes and me a chance to take in what was not a bad view given the clear skies, we returned via the broad out ridge to Beinn Liath before heading north east back to the car which at least made a bit more of a day of it.
Breaking our returning to Strathaven we also briefly stopped at Crief to take a quick jaunt to the summit of Knock of Crief which made it a two hill day, though with the summit encased in plantation the best views were from the west top about half way from the Knock car park above Crief Hydro.
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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.