Meall Chuaich

09 January 2012

14.9 km/670 m/04:30 hrs

Munro: Meall Chuaich (No. 211)

A few years ago this had been one of my first walks after I had bought a pair of crampons, it was great to be able to ascend the iced-up hillside without problems, but halfway up the clouds came down and it started snowing. Meall Chuaich is not the most exciting hill, but it is supposed to be a great viewpoint – and if I wouldn’t get any views from the top, I didn’t see the point of climbing it, so I turned back.

Today it looked as if I had a good chance to actually enjoy the views from the summit, the sky was clear and there were only patches of snow left.

An hour after I started from a lay-by on the A9, about 2 km north of Dalwhinnie, I passed this locked, private bothy.

Shortly afterwards, a small cairn marks the start of the path up to Stac Meall Chuaich.

Looking back from the ascent path.

The path is very eroded and boggy, but straightforward.

As I climbed higher, I had to stop every few minutes to turn around and admire the views behind me – the Bealach Dubh with Ben Alder on the left and Sgòr Iutharn on the right (zoomed).

The West Drumochter hills and the Ben Alder group.

Approaching the bealach between Stac Meall Chuaich and Meall Chuaich.

The next time I turned around, I saw very dark clouds above…

Looking south.

Within minutes, the summit disappeared in the clouds!

Of course I was disappointed, but I was confident the clouds would lift again, so I continued towards the top. And I was lucky, about ten minutes later the clouds moved away to the south.

Suddenly, another hillwalker appeared ahead of me. He had arrived on the summit half an hour earlier in perfect visibility and had sat down for a lunch break. Just when he started to walk back, the clouds had descended.

After a brief chat with him I continued towards the top, I was almost running now because I was so desperate to get there before the views would disappear again!

View towards Glen Tromie.

Looking south.

Towards Newtonmore and the Munros NW of it.

During the descent, the weather was really nice – the wind had calmed down, and it felt quite warm in the sun. I was fascinated by the intense colours of the ground and the sky, and was almost surprised about how much I enjoyed this walk (because I had not expected too much of this “boring” hill, I must admit).

View back to the summit.

Loch Cuaich.

After a long tea break, sitting outside the bothy, I finally made my way back to the car. And when I looked back, I saw that the summit was disappearing into the cloud again. It seems that for once I got the timing right 😀

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5 thoughts on “Meall Chuaich

  1. For a woman who has walked solo across Scotland and intends to do it again in a couple of months, I’m not good at tackling ‘the big stuff’ by myself, without The Trusty Sidekick. When I read about your trips up these wonderful hills, I think I really must stop being such a wimp, get out there and do it!

    • Hi Louise,

      You should really try it, as long as you don’t start with the Cuillin Ridge you should be ok 😉

      There are so many “easy” Munros around that you could use to gain experience – have you been up Ben Wyvis? Or Bynack More?

      If you feel uncomfortable at any point, you can always turn back. It would be a shame to miss out on that great experience 🙂

  2. We did this one in March 2010 – there was a lot more snow on the ground then!

    It’s a fantastic wee walk with the little hydro scheme, the big pipeline, the grouse…and a skidoo (when we were there)!

    I thought the views a bit too distant to be exceptional – but overall the walk in made it a great day out. Glad you enjoyed it 😀

    • I was surprised about the lack of snow at this time of year, but I was quite happy about it 😉

      What I enjoyed most was walking in the sunshine, with hardly any wind – I had almost forgotten how that felt! (I had just been in Inverie for a week over Hogmanay, where the weather was atrocious and we didn’t walk much further than to the pub and back :lol:)

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