Area: Loch Ericht to Glen Tromie and Glen Garry
Munros: Meall Chuaich
Date walked: 28/07/2010
Time taken: 2 hours 8 minutes
Distance: 14 km
Well what can I say. Its been three weeks yesterday when I walked the Lairig Ghru and 4 munros and since then the weather has been, well, persisting it down. We seem to have had an unusual amount of rain in July accompanied with strong winds and blustery conditions so I have not been out on the hills and as a consequence I am getting withdrawal symptoms. With the forecast for the weekend again not looking to good I worry that am going to loose my hill fitness and with some big walks planned with Danny for the last week in August that just won’t do. However looks like work threw me a lifeline, I had jobs to do in Aberdeen and Inverness today and worked out that I would have time to bag Meall Chuaich if I got my skates on. So off early to Aberdeen, flew across to Inverness, not literally, and arrived at car park no94 on the A9 at 1445. Quick change and I was on my way at 1458.
Now I had planned to travel light and jog most of the way. So I head 20m Northish back to the start of a track heading East into the valley, climb the locked gate and jog along the track. After 400m I turn left onto the main track which goes from the Loch Cuaich to Dalwhinnie.
The underfoot conditions are dry, with rain clouds overhead, and the track is well worn and nice to run on. The track meanders along the side of the aquaduct for 2km where a bridge is crossed over the aquaduct. 200m later after passing some buildings and crossing another bridge I arrived at the pipeline. The track forks here so I take the left fork heading towards the Loch. After another 1.5km the track forks again and I take the right fork this time. This point is only 300m from the Loch.
I can quite clearly see the path heading up the hillside and continue on my way. Another 100m brings me to a small hut with two logs crossing the burn and 200m later I cross yet another bridge and head on up the hillside on the clearly defined path. I work hard up the hillside but after climbing 300m I feel knackered and have to slow down. I climb another 50m before the path veers East past Stac Meall Chuaich then climbs 150m for the last km to the summit of Meall Chuaich. The last 200m of climbing is through a mix of boulders and grass. For a small climb I found that hard but then I did run I suppose. Also I haven’t run for three weeks so maybe that was to be expected.
I had checked MWIS and the forecast was for rain and blustery winds but the weather was kind to me with only one small shower and very little wind. It was warm though. It stays that way for the rest of the walk.
For such a non descript hilltop it has a huge cairn on the summit. All I was expecting was a small pile of boulders. I take a couple of pictures but to be honest the views over the featureless plain are not exactly awe inspiring so its now a matter of retracing my steps and heading back to the car.
Its quite refreshing to jog down the hillside with soft peat and heather underfoot but the jog back to the car along the flat track was tough and I had to stop a few times and walk. Must be getting old