The Piglets and I ascend Meall a'Ghiubhais

Route: Meall a'Ghiubhais, Loch Maree

Corbetts: Meall a' Ghiubhais

Date walked: 08/08/2020

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 9km

With the good forecast, I decided to abandon all other responsibilities and head for Kinlochewe. Yes, I should have been at home, but sometimes I NEED to be on a mountain, to clear my head. I put a shout out on Facebook, but nobody was up for joining me so I decided to go for it alone. I say alone.... but I did have some piglets with me. Over lockdown, my friend Amber sent me a parcel, with a note: 'I know you don't really eat sweets, but these are small and cute and vegetarian!' and there they were, months later, the Percy Piglets, looking at me and begging me to take them on my adventure.

Saturday morning. I made my usual tuna, pasta and red pepper salad, packed my bag, took the piglets, and drove the 30 miles to Kinlochewe. It was a bright but coolish day - around 18 degrees, which wasn't too hot. For the first time EVER, I didn't take my waterproofs, or a camera. I charged my iPhone 6 (yeah - ancient!) and used that instead, because it's a lot easier to carry. I'm not so happy with it, but it made the walking easier than when I'm carrying a heavy Nikon.

Slioch through the trees as the path starts to gain height

I parked at the loch side where the trails begin, slapped on the hat, glasses and sunscreen, and set off. Initially, if I stopped even for a few seconds, the midges would descend in their millions and start sucking my blood... so until I got out of the trees I had to keep climbing, which was quite knackering, with the heat, and also with me not being warmed up yet. At this point one of the piglets went missing..... not sure where it went..... maybe it ran away..... mmmmmm

Out of the trees and into the breeze.. goodbye midges!

By the time I got out of the trees the sun was beating, yes BEATING down. It's pretty steep up there, and the views are fabulous. There are some hairy bits of the path where one could fall off, but I've done the Mountain Trail before so I knew what was coming. Higher up there are various cairns to reassure you that you're on the right path. FOUR piglets went missing on this section!

That's the path... eek

After around an hour and a half you get this amazing view of Beinn Eighe. Magnificent.
Beinn Eighe

There's a bit of respite around here as the ground levels off for a short time, passing small lochans, and you get a great view of your destination.



Meal a'Ghiubhais

There was no internet up there to check Walkhighlands, and although I had a map there's nothing on it in the way of paths, so I wandered along until I'd passed the Lunar Loch, and spotted a faint path heading left. Knowing there's no real path up there anyway, I bravely left the main trail and set off across the steep and rocky slopes.

At this point I felt a Zen-like calm descend, and I went where my heart led me, which it turned out was a pretty great dry stone shelter, where I ate some tuna pasta red pepper salad, and another piglet went missing....

Lunch spot above the Lunar Loch

Onwards and upwards, it got a little tougher, but nothing awful, and I slowly climbed up and sideways in the general direction of the summit. My troubles melted away into the fluffy white clouds and I was properly chilled out. I for once managed to stop thinking about all the crappy stuff and just be in the moment. Bliss. After all, worrying doesn't solve a damn thing.

Super view to accompany the climb...

Are those....... PEOPLE, up there! (I waved distantly)

Gradually I gained height, and eventually reached the part of the ridge just below the highest of the two summits. I saw four people from a distance, then they were gone, back down, and when I reached the summit I was alone. What a summit! The panoramic views and the shelter of the summit cairn... also a nice stiff breeze, so no midges.


In the summit cairn


I sat for half an hour, finishing my tuna pasta red pepper salad, and managing to carelessly lose another piglet. At this point I'd also finished half the water. I usually make the first half last until the top then I drink the rest on the way back.

Summit!! Wow!

Piglets and I reach the top

Loch Maree through the summit cairn


Loch Maree from the lower summit

I could see the other summit along the wide ridge, so I trundled over there for a look at the stunning views down Loch Maree, then I started the descent. Now, I really don't enjoy steep stuff that moves, and there was a bit of that for half an hour. I decided to go pretty much straight down to the grassy bottom, and then along the flat to rejoin the path. All went to plan, and the only time I nearly fell off was when I had to take evasive action to avoid standing on a tiny frog.

Changed light on the way down....

As I'd come down in a different place, I got to pass the Lunar Loch for a second time, and this time I took my boots and socks off and waded into the golden peaty waters. It was a pleasant temperature and I'd have been easily tempted into a swim if I'd remembered my towel and crocs - the stones are sharp in there! I stood for a while with my feet in the cool water and the rest of me in the summer heat, and I completely relaxed. There were damsel flies and more frogs, and ravens calling in the distance.

Boots off!


Eventually I had to continue the descent, so I put my boots back on and set off down the path back to the car. It's fairly steep but nothing difficult, just a lot of steps, which can feel a bit tiring after the rough climb. I didn't pass anyone until I got near to the car park.

It was such a beautiful afternoon that I waded into Loch Maree for a while, up to my knees, wearing the crocs I'd left in the car, then I drove home. I'm in Beauly now after moving down from Orkney, and I'm so grateful to be living in the Highlands, with such easy access to all my favourite hills.

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User avatar
Location: Beauly
Occupation: Musician, composer, music teacher
Interests: Music, birding, mountains, gardening, knitting, sewing, cooking.
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: My flask, and a view
Mountain: Suilven
Place: The Cairngorms
Gear: I love my Paramo
Member: None yet!
Camera: Nikon D40 SLR
Ideal day out: An interesting hike with good views and a ridge, no midges, not too hot, and a good dinner at the end of it
Ambition: To walk Lairig Ghru, solo

Munros: 13
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 5
Wainwrights: 17
Hewitts: 10
Sub 2000: 6
Islands: 22


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Joined: Dec 26, 2011
Last visited: Oct 19, 2020
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