Two "Hughs" plus one in the Far North

Date walked: 20/04/2024

For some time, I have had a book called "The Hughs: Scotland's Best Wee Hills under 2,000 feet" Actually HUGH is nominated by Andrew Dempster to stand for Hill Under Graham Height. Having finished the Wainwrights last year, I set about looking for another list. In fact, I am running this in tandem with Wainwright's Outlying Fells. There are eighty hills in it, and I can vouch for them being some of the best, as I have already climbed all but seventeen as Marilyns.

This April, I was intending to set off to Ullapool, do a couple near there, and then head for Tongue. However, the weather was so awful, that I just did the latter.

On April 20th I set off to do Cnoc an Fhreiceadain. I drove down to Coldbackie and couldn't see a path. I asked a local, and he said he had lived there all his life and didn't know of one. (Later when I drove round and spotted a notice, I wondered if he had sheep up there and didn't want them disturbed. The hill looked a little steep (below)

Anyway, it was enough for me to drive back to the entrance to the wide path to Ben Tongue . Beneath, looking back towards Ben Loyal. It was the dominant hill in the area. Many years ago when we went to climb it, we found a group from Rabbie's Small Group Tours of Scotland setting out. Even though we were only in our sixties, we soon left them behind, and heard a lot of grumbling. I asked a Rabbie's rep. I met in the Hermitage car-park if they still did that sort of thing and he told me it hadn't lasted long. A pity.

I left the path and contoured towards Cnoc an Freichaidain. I cut off far too early, and would have had an easier time if I had gone nearly to the top.
There was no real track across to Cnoc an Freicheadain, so I just made my own way.

From the summit I could look across to Ben Tongue (with the mast on)


Look down to the causeway,

Look North

I set off across the moor to Ben Tongue (below, getting nearer).

Views from the summit

Including one to Cnoc an Freicheadain
The walk probably panned out a little further than the 5 km the book gives it and a little more than the 250 metres.
As far as I could see, all the other people in my hotel were driving The NC500. Hard work for the staff, as they had to change the sheets every night.

On April 21th I set out to do a slightly longer walk. Meallan Liath 12km and 660m.
Dempster advises you not to go via Kinloch Lodge as they don't like walkers. I would have, if there had not been a parallel track slightly to the north. The whole place is owned by the richest man in Scotland, Anders Hoch Povlsen, who is known from his sympathetic treatment of Glen Feshie, and his desire to get the deer numbers down to a manageable size. This was evidenced by the large number of Landrover type vehicles lined up in his yard..

I followed a good walking track with great views of Ben Loyal

The gorse was out (well, it always is)

I eventually got close to Meallan Liat (below)

This eventually morphed into an ATV track which became far harder to walk on.

The book suggests you climb up onto the ridge as soon as you can, probably going up the hill above, but phrases like "reach an impasse in the form of a 20 m slabby wall. This can be circumvented by moving round a recess to the left to reach a rock step" and "a second bad step"` left me ploughing along until I reached his route of descent, which I intended to both ascend and descend. However, I caught sight of what I took to be the shoulder,

and it was only when I got nearer and saw snow did I realise it was Ben Hope. My excuse was that the join in the map comes between Ben Hope and Meallan Liath. I adjusted my course and climbed Meallan Liath on firm grass and rock in an easy angled rise.
Below, the summit

I Checked in on Whattsapp with a friend who had offered to be my personal locator beacon, and who would phone MRT with the latest position should I not phone again on return.

I went back via the location cairn that I had met on the way out (below)

The rough t rack (below)

And the long track back to the car.
Image on Flickr


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Comments: 20
Views: 2325

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User avatar
Location: Fife
Activity: Munro compleatist
Mountain: Last one climbed
Place: Home
Gear: Headtorch
Member: MCofS, NT, RHB
Camera: Panasonic Lumix TZ90
Ideal day out: A few new hills in (mostly) sunshine in (mostly) good company...and an eagle or two.
Ambition: Lifelong hill walking.

Munros: 282
Tops: 100
Corbetts: 222
Fionas: 219
Donalds: 89+52
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 172
Sub 2000: 569
Islands: 58
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   

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