16 January 2011
9.15 km/556 m/04:00 hrs
The weather forecast for the last few days had been quite horrible for all mountain areas in the Highlands, so I had spent most of my days off sitting at home and getting more and more bored. Today I felt I just had to get out, no matter what, but I didn’t fancy a long drive. Eventually, I decided to climb Meall Fuar-mhonaidh, a Graham on the West side of Loch Ness, for the second time. The first time had been one of my first hillwalks after I had moved to Inverness several years ago, and all I can remember of that day is that the weather was a lot better than it was today, but the approach path had been almost as boggy then!
From Drumnadrochit I took the long single track road signposted for the Pottery at Balbeg. It is very winding and has some steep hairpin bends at the start, and I wouldn’t have liked to drive along this road a few weeks ago when it was probably covered in black ice and snow. This time it was just wet and flooded in places, but I was still glad when I reached the parking area at the end of the public road.
At first, the path follows the course of a stream which had flooded parts of the woodland.
Shortly afterwards, the path passes through two gates and crosses a road. After a dull start with heavy rain, the weather began to clear at this point, and even the sun came out. These were actually the driest underfoot conditions of the whole day, and the walking was quite pleasant.
Rainbows appeared on and off all day, but this was the first one I saw after leaving the forest.
What looks like a stream, is actually the path…
Some of the Monadhliath Mountains to the South were just visible when the dark clouds lifted a bit.
Coire an Ruighe in the North East.
Approaching the last steep ascent before the rounded summit.
Loch Ness, and another rainbow…
View from the summit to the South East.
As it was extremely windy on the exposed summit, and feeling very cold, I didn’t hang around, but made my way back down very quickly. As quickly as I could without slipping and falling all over the place on the soggy steep slopes, that is…
By now, the clouds in the North East had cleared almost completely, and I got some nice views of a dark looking Loch Ness on the way down.
Although most of the day I was either cold, soaked (or both), or almost being blown over, it was good to get out and get to the top of a hill again, even if it was only a small one 🙂