Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Drumochter Hills: Meall Chuaich (214)

Walk date: 06/10/07
My Munro #'s: 132

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Myowl chooeech - hill of the quaich - 951m

Duration - 13:30-18:30
Distance - 15.5km
Weather - Muggy. Cloud at 750m on ascent, down to 500m on descent. Cold wind on top. Light to moderate rain on return along flat.
Team - with Sonia
Other hikers: 5

A simple route; head east, then some west...

This was the first Munro for quite a while, so it was nice to get into it again with a simple one. Especially seeing as this was the day after my birthday dinner out (at the recommended Creel Inn)! Indeed, we only set off from Aberdeen at 10:00, and even had a brunch of coffee and cake at the very reasonable and tasty Boogie-Woogie in Keith. Really, it was more a day-out that happened to include a Munro.

All these diversions meant we only set off from our little exposed layby on the A9 at 13:30, but progress was quickly made alone a private road heading for a Scottish Hydro Electric dam and then Loch Cuaich. Past a bothy the path rises gently but firmly north-east up heather-clad slopes first taking on Stac Meall Chuaich before heading due east for the summit. The soft start of the path and its progression to rock reminded me a little of Schiehallion, except that this path was quite boggy in places which was something Schiehallion's constructed path avoided.

Sonia leads the way towards (R) lonely Meall Chuaich:

A' Mharconaich and Creag Liath to the south:

And from the dam area:

Now that's a pipeline, plus A' Mharconaich:

Our target coming into focus, Meall Chuaich:

Sonia keeping an eye on the route as we start to rise:

A great landscape, complete with Sonia:

As soon as we take my picture, the weather turns...

Unlike Schiehallion, however, the rock returns to grass again as it flattens out on top. So much so that within cloud like today it wasn't straightforward to find the cairn. It lies on what was once a fence so if you see some metal posts stay on that line (one way or the other!).

Upon return, I just tried to take us along our previous steps by following them exactly on the GPS. Unfortunately, this did allow us to veer very slight off-route. Once I noticed this I corrected us but failed to tell Sonia, and so noticing that we were no longer heading our normal heading Sonia challenged me, to which I had a firm manly strop. Ach well, we got over it. Thank goodness there were no other hikers around to stop and ask!

Pea-soup anyone? Wonderful views on top:

Thank goodness for a cairn, the unpointy summit:

Is that it? Sonia inspects the cairn:

At least our deviation from route took in nice plantlife:

Our descent stayed in cloud right down to 500m, and leaving it only lead to a good burst of rain. However, once on the flat again we soon stomped over the remaining 4km. With our drive home including a stop at The Highlander Inn, Craigellachie for dinner and a taste of the wonderful juniper-influced Mackmyra Swedish whisky, this was a grand day out.

Interesting struts on the aqueduct:

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Blogger Scott said...

Hooray! Another post! So, Happy Birthday and all that. The Creel Inn looks pretty nice.

Amazing fog... and that you could get lost even with the GPS. I'm sure it's quite disorienting up there.

12 October 2007 at 01:26  
Blogger George Walks said...

Yes, sorry for my grand blogging absence. It's mainly been due to DIY!!

The Creel Inn is gorgeous, but you don't leave with much change!

The fog was very thick, but we were not so much lost as 'off-path'. That's what I told Sonia anyway...

13 October 2007 at 12:39  
Blogger Scott said...

by the way, the last photo of Sonia is really good. I really like the colour in the photo.

15 October 2007 at 11:55  
Blogger George Walks said...

Hey thank man, that's great as she was insisting that I remove it!! The fog made the colours even better!

15 October 2007 at 22:09  

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