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Meall Chuaich - On fire!

Meall Chuaich - On fire!

Postby Redrock » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:55 pm

Route description: Meall Chuaich, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Meall Chuaich

Date walked: 05/03/2011

Time taken: 6.2 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 614m

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We were looking for a Munro that would be good for improving our winter skills without stretching us to much - being fairly new to winter walking. So Mrs R and I decided to go for Meall Chuaich off the Drumochter Pass near Dalwhinnie. It didn't look like being too long a day out, either, which suited our plans too.

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So we set our from the lay-by on the A9 near to Chuaich and we were soon on the track which runs alongside the aqueduct heading for Loch Chuich and Meall Chuaich. The mountain looked a fair distance away at that point and I'm no great fan of long road walks but we pressed on hoping the darkening cloud would lift later in the day.
Meall Chuaich from the distance

We finally reached Loch Cuaich and followed the trail heading up by Allt Coire Chuaich past the private bothy and over the the burn, heading for the hill. It was there that we saw a potential obtacle on the way - one that we hadn't expected. The estate workers were out burning the heather!
Setting the heather on fire!

The burning was happening very close to the path we were planning to take up the south-west ridge. So we edged past to the west of them very thankful that there was a slight breeze from the west, blowing the smoke away from us.
The hills are on fire!

It seemed strange to us that our hill was "burning" whilst those around us were still deep in snow.
Smoke and snow

The ascent up the ridge, although quite steep at first settled into a stready climb up towards Stac Meall Chuaich.
Climbing towards Stac Meall Chuaich

At about 800 metres the path curved towards the east and then to the final climb up to the summit plateau.
Towards the summit of Meall Chuiach

The summit plateau was surprizingly wet with hardly a drop of snow anywhere. It's a good big cairn up there and there are great views all around. The cloud wasn't far above our heads but we saw enough to be impressed by the views. And the sun even came out for a few moments.
Summit cairn - Meall Chuaich

Badenoch in the mist

There was plenty of snow on the hills around us but our hill was quite bare. It didn't look like a day when we were going to improve our winter skills very much!
Gaick Forest from Meall Chuaich

And so we descended down the ridge noticing that the smoke was now blowing towards the north and thankfully still away from us! I have been in heather smoke and believe me it is hard on the lungs in big doses!
The descent from Meall Chuaich

On the descent from Meall Chuaich

Soon we were approaching the bothy again with views towards Dalwhinnie and The Fara beyond
Dalwhinnie and The Fara

Then we had the long walk back beside the aqueduct. As we looked back the evening fires of Meall Chuaich were still burning!
The evening fires of Meall Chuaich
Last edited by Redrock on Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meall Chuaich - On fire!

Postby Gable Gable End » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:00 am

I too have experienced a lungful of burning heather output: hardy!

Looks like a good walk :)
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Re: Meall Chuaich - On fire!

Postby ChrisW » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:45 am

Great report and some cracking pics, the second one of the heather burning really captures it well.....you can't beat a good burn - well you can but it would go out then :lol: :lol:
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Re: Meall Chuaich - On fire!

Postby Redrock » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:22 pm

Cheers, I'd really like to have been able to say we were setting the heather on fire that day - but somebody else got there before us! :lol: :lol:
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Munros:154   Corbetts:11
Grahams:3   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:8   
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Location: Cowdenbeath

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