Walking in the windfarm wonderland

Grahams: Meall Mór (Easter Ross)

Date walked: 27/12/2021

Time taken: 6.25 hours

Distance: 17.6km

Ascent: 668m

We first climbed Meall Mhor in spring 2016 (my old report is not displaying properly for some strange reason, need to fix it) and I never gave this Graham a second thought until recently. While looking for easy routes for short winter days, I remembered this modest hill, hidden behind the bulk of Ben Wyvis. It offers great views to the aforementioned Munro and the route we took (from Loch Glass) should not be a problem in winter conditions. We took advantage of the existing forest tracks up to the first col (544m); the upper section requires some peat hag jumping but walking is generally easy. The views might be spoiled by the close proximity of the wind turbines but we have already grown used to these structures popping up everywhere over Scotland. If you can't bring yourself to love them, just ignore them.

Track_MEALL MOR 17.6KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Monday morning offered us a frosty morning with low winds, which was a nice change from the blowy experience of the two previous days. We started from the road near Elleanach Lodge and took the track on the left side of River Glass, walking in Narnia-like landscape:
2021-12-27 meall mor 004.JPG

This was a longer route than the previous two festive outings (17.5km) so we started much earlier to give ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the winter wonderland.
2021-12-27 meall mor 006.JPG
Panther in the shades of black and blue

We crossed the weir on River Glass...
2021-12-27 meall mor 014.JPG

...and continued on the track along the loch for a short distance, passing a large area of felled forest:
2021-12-27 meall mor 019.JPG

Ben Wyvis across the Loch:
2021-12-27 meall mor 021.JPG

This track used to be a nice walk in the woods... Now it is more like a road through devastation :(
2021-12-27 meall mor 025.JPG

Today Kevin stuffed his pockets with several sets of spare batteries, to avoid the nasty surprise and now he was showing off by photographing every icicle en route :lol: :lol:
2021-12-27 meall mor 031.JPG

After roughly 3km of walking through mixed landscape of forest and what used to be forest, we emerged on the open slopes below Meall an Tuirc, only to face more icy conditions:
2021-12-27 meall mor 041.JPG

The track now zigzagged up to the first wind turbine, but we were distracted by the superb views across Loch Glass to the mighty Wyvis, Most walkers know Ben Wyvis as a simple "coffin lid" shape when approached from Garbat, but the less popular side of this Munro is definitely more impressive (and worth exploring!):
2021-12-27 meall mor 044.JPG
Panoramic view of Wyvis and Loch Glass

More icicles:
2021-12-27 meall mor 048.JPG

We left the icy track below the line of turbines ant walked across the wide col, negotiating a few peat hags en route. In wet conditions these could be a real pain in ***, but today the ground was frozen solid:
2021-12-27 meall mor 056.JPG

Kevin in the windfarm wonderland:
2021-12-27 meall mor 062.JPG

From the col it was an easy climb over grass and short heather (we didn't bother looking for paths) to the first top on the ridge (656m). From here, we could see the rest of the route, and of course the nightmare of every obscure hill bagger - more peat hags!
2021-12-27 meall mor 072.JPG

This time of year no peat hag would look appropriately without an icy decoration:
2021-12-27 meall mor 077.JPG
Icicles forever

Past the second set of hags, it was now easier ground all the way to the summit:
2021-12-27 meall mor 079.JPG

We were so glad that the wind has dropped so we could spend more time on top, enjoying the views of wintry hills in the distance. I'm writing this on a mid-January day with my digital thermometer showing +10*C. I saw Ben Wyvis earlier today from the hills above Beauly and it is completely bare. So nice to go back to that frosty Monday three weeks ago. It was a whole different world!
2021-12-27 meall mor 166.JPG
Photo session time for Kevin (again)

The distant Fannichs:
2021-12-27 meall mor 082.JPG

Lucy on the trig point (her 106th Graham), Cairn Chuinneag in the background:
2021-12-27 meall mor 171.JPG

The far north of the country must have enjoyed a nice cloud inversion...
2021-12-27 meall mor 179.JPG

...but we were more interested in much closer views, especially south to Wyvis. It looks so majestic:
2021-12-27 meall mor 088.JPG

Hopefully 2022 is going to be a good year... I was ready to end 2021 on a high. We were generally happy with our progress, despite not doing any new Munros, but over 20 new lower hills including some really remote Corbetts and Grahams (hills for connoisseurs) plus 18 plane crash sites! We got back on track after a dismal 2020 so I have a good reason to smile!
2021-12-27 meall mor 110.JPG

It is worth continuing past the summit trig to the edge of the cliffs above Loch Glass for the amazing views of Ben Wyvis and the loch below:
2021-12-27 meall mor 187.JPG
he wouldn't miss such opportunity, would he?

2021-12-27 meall mor 121.JPG

The western end of the loch and Wyvis Lodge:
2021-12-27 meall mor 117.JPG

Looking back east:
2021-12-27 meall mor 115.JPG

Wintering rigs in Cromarty Firth:
2021-12-27 meall mor 132.JPG

We spent over half an hour on the summit before packing up and retracing our steps to the windfarm. This time, we passed just below one of the turbines. They always make me feel so uneasy, especially when working. The whoooosh sound is disturbing :?
2021-12-27 meall mor 200.JPG

Sgurr Mor in the distance:
2021-12-27 meall mor 203.JPG

Loch Morie and a whooshing turbine:
2021-12-27 meall mor 152.JPG

It is possible to descend to Loch Glass from the windfarm, taking a steeply dropping track (we did exactly that the previous time), but today we didn't fancy the alternative descent - it looked too icy to our taste. Instead, we returned the way we came up. Down in the glen, the world was quiet and peaceful:
2021-12-27 meall mor 157.JPG
Peace and tranquility

Tuesday forecast was probably the best of the whole long weekend, so we couldn't miss the chance and headed for one of our favourite Grahams! TR in progress.

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Comments: 3

Ice cold in Achnasheen

Attachment(s) Grahams: Meall a' Chaorainn (Achnasheen)
Date walked: 26/12/2021
Distance: 13.2km
Ascent: 548m
Views: 199

Have yourself a Merry Little Wyvis

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Little Wyvis
Date walked: 25/12/2021
Distance: 10.5km
Ascent: 652m
Comments: 3
Views: 269

Beinn "Let's Have Fun" Fannaich

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Liath Mhòr Fannaich
Date walked: 18/12/2021
Distance: 13.5km
Ascent: 847m
Comments: 2
Views: 384

Rising Damph

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Damh
Date walked: 05/12/2021
Distance: 12.2km
Ascent: 963m
Comments: 5
Views: 332

Let it snow! Let it snow!

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Càrn Chuinneag
Date walked: 28/11/2021
Distance: 17.9km
Ascent: 769m
Comments: 6
Views: 558

Meall Luidh Mor: reflections and firebreaks

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Meall Luidh Mor
Date walked: 21/11/2021
Distance: 12.3km
Ascent: 344m
Views: 198

I'm on the edge of Moray!

Attachment(s) Grahams: Càrn a'Ghille Chearr
Date walked: 14/11/2021
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 510m
Views: 293

Back to where we started from

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Meall a' Ghiubhais
Date walked: 16/10/2021
Distance: 14.3km
Ascent: 925m
Comments: 1
Views: 298

It's late, it's late but not too late

Attachment(s) Date walked: 10/10/2021
Distance: 11.8km
Ascent: 145m
Comments: 2
Views: 330


User avatar
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire
Interests: Hillwalking, cycling, jogging, mushroom picking, aircraft investigations and many other outdoor activities, meowing on mountain summits included :P
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Beinn Eighe
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: well... my husband ;)))
Camera: FujiFilm Finepix HS10
Ideal day out: Anything - from beach strolls to scrambling up icy slopes. Just bring it on!
Ambition: Tick off all Munros...

Munros: 260
Corbetts: 172
Grahams: 123
Sub 2000: 60
Long Distance routes: Dava Way    Moray Coastal Trail   

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