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Carn Gorm, graham near Cannich

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Attachment(s) Grahams: Carn Gorm
Date walked: 19/01/2020
Distance: 10.4km
Ascent: 630m
Views: 4

Meall na h-Eilrig from Drumnadrochit

Sub 2000s: Meall na h-Eilrig

Date walked: 18/01/2020

Time taken: 3.1 hours

Distance: 11km

Ascent: 440m

I'm rubbish at getting up early on my days off, so on short winter days, hills with a short drive from Inverness appeal more than a pre-dawn start to drive for 2hrs. Some heavy sleet/hail showers in the area in the morning meant I wasn't desperate to head out early anyway, so when those had cleared, I headed off to do Meall na h-Eilrig, a sub-2000 summit above Loch Ness that I haven't done before.

Like many of the marilyns, it's not a hill with a well trodden path to the summit, but I think it's more usual to approach it from the Abriachan side, either from the Great Glen Way or though Achpopuli (there's good parking in the Abriachan forestry trails car park which would save walking about 270m of Meall na h-Eilrig's 465m summit height). I was wanting to do the full height and a bit of a longer walk though, so having had a look at the OS map, it looked perfectly do-able from Drumnadrochit.

I parked in the large free car park in Drumnadrochit and walked back along the pavement beside the A82 to the steep single track Drumbuie road. The roads were running with water after all the recent rain so I wasn't overly optimistic I'd be doing this walk with dry feet once I went off road and got to the boggy vegetation ....but at the last minute I'd crammed wellies into my bag, so maybe I had a chance.
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Wester Achtuie towards Meall Fuar-mhonaidh

I'd been part of the way up the single track road before, but on a job - I remember thinking it'd be much nicer to walk up the steep hill than be driving up it in a heavy, automatic vehicle. The road goes up to houses at Wester Achtuie, so on reaching the end of the tarmac, I changed from my walking shoes into wellies with waterproof trousers over. Thought I was maybe being pessimistic, but turned out to be ideal for today's route and conditions.

The first problem though was finding the way to go from Wester Achtuie. I was wanting to take the track shown on the map as heading up the east side of the strip of trees, but it started with a gate with warning notices for bulls in the field, and an electric fence. Inconveniently the cows or bulls (I couldn't tell which) were up ahead on the track as that's where the winter feeder was. I tentatively climbed over the gate and started up the track, but it aroused their interest, and when one started to come towards me, I chickened out and headed back. They may well have been perfectly friendly, but I decided to look for another route.

Another look at the map showed a path heading up the west side of the trees/burn to Loch Glanaidh, so I headed for that. The start was easy enough to find fortunately, though with the snow covering the heather, it was then difficult to follow in places. At the end of the trees, I hopped the burn, climbed over the fence and kept to the east of the loch. Going over the higher ground next to the loch, I saw the track I'd intended to take, so dropped down to that. I only walked along it for 100m or so before deciding just to head for Meall na h-Eilrig across the snowy heather.
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Following the vaguely visible path on the east side of the burn and strip of trees from Wester Achtuie to Loch Glanaidh

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Loch Glanaidh

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Meall na h-Eilrig. The track I'd intended to use for the walk in cuts across the middle of the photo.

The wellies & waterproof trouser combo came into their own for this stretch - beneath the soft snow, things were pretty boggy between the heather tussocks. Still the snow made it look nice, and it all made for good exercise heading for the hill.
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Just because you can't see the bog, doesn't mean it isn't there! But the terrain looked nice as I headed to Meall na h-Eilrig, aiming for one of the gaps in the young plantation

From the track, I hadn't seen there was a barbed wire fence running around the lower slopes (I should have guessed there would be, as the other 2 walk reports from the other side had the same barrier) - but it was a low enough one to be able to climb over okay; a taller person than me could maybe even step across. Once across that, it was more snowy heather then heading up the slopes through one of the bits with very sparsely planted trees (might be harder in a few years when the trees have grown).
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I crossed the barbed wire fence here, just so I had an extra pole to hold on to.

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Looking down the gap in the trees I came up

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Loch Glanaidh, with Affric hills in the background

Other than a few minutes of snow and grey clouds when approaching Loch Glanaidh, the weather was sunny and clear, so once I was up the hill, it was easy to see the trig point and cairn of Meall na h-Eilrig's summit to head to. The easily identifiable lump of Meall Fuar-mhonaidh and it's neighbout Glas bheinn Mhor was the obvious view for much of the walk, but snowy peaks in the direction of Affric and Strathfarrar were also in view, as well as parts of Loch Ness.
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Meall na h-Eilrig summit with a glimpse of the north end of Loch Ness

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Meall Fuar-mhonaidh from the summit

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Dores village just about visible on the NE shore of Loch Ness

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Looking west - so maybe the Strathfarrar hills?

I headed back down the hill pretty much the same way and onto the track, but decided to take the faster route of staying on the track for the walk back and hope the perceived bovine threat had moved. Turned out they were still in the same place, and still made to wander over when they saw me getting close, so I just veered to the edge of the field and walked right beside the fence and they were fine. Back on to the tarmac road at Wester Achtuie, back into walking shoes rather than wellies for the steep road down, and back to the car.
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Taking the track this time, back to Wester Achtuie (Meall Fuar-mhonaidh in shot again)

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Maybe if I'd continued walking rather than taking a photo of them, they'd not have started to come over?!

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Heading back down the steep Drumbuie road, you get a view over to Urquhart castle

This was a nice route, and could be done a little quicker than my time without phaffing around to find a route avoiding cows, changing boots twice, and if the terrain was frozen rather than wet under the snow cover.

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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Views: 19

gld73


Location: Inverness

Munros: 114
Corbetts: 43
Grahams: 24
Donalds: 2
Wainwrights: 35
Hewitts: 30
Sub 2000: 38
Islands: 13
Long Distance routes: Great Glen Way    Loch Ness 360   



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Statistics

2020

Trips: 4
Distance: 41.4 km
Ascent: 1570m
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 3

2019

Trips: 64
Distance: 931.9 km
Ascent: 43082m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 12
Grahams: 11
Sub2000s: 20
Hewitts: 2
Wainwrights 7

2018

Trips: 66
Distance: 965.05 km
Ascent: 55230m
Munros: 72
Corbetts: 16
Grahams: 7
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 3
Wainwrights 4

2017

Trips: 17
Distance: 248.5 km
Ascent: 14025m
Munros: 16
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1

2016

Trips: 12
Distance: 150.5 km
Ascent: 8793m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1


Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Last visited: Jan 21, 2020
Total posts: 330 | Search posts