Hills: Meall Mor and Sgorr a'Choise
Date: Sunday 4th September 2011
Company: Just myself
Time: 5Hrs 15Mins
Dog friendly: No - three fences
I set off this morning to ascend the two Grahams located between Ballachulish and Glen Coe.
I was undecided about choice of route until I drove past Ballachulish - I opted for an approach via Gleann Leac na Muidhe.
I have walked along Gleann Leac na Muidhe several times previously.
I think it is a wonderful glen, hemmed in by steep hills - Bidean nam Bian, Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne, Sgurr na h-Ulaidh, Meall Lighiche and Meall Mor.
View along Gleann Leac na Muidhe:
After walking a short distance along Gleann Leac na Muidhe, I crossed the bridge over the Allt na Muidhe. There was a fair amount of water flowing this morning, so I kept my fingers crossed that the unbridged crossing further upstream would be do-able today.
Small waterfall from bridge in Gleann Leac na Muidhe:
On reaching the Glencoe Cottages, I took the by-pass path to avoid the “private gardens”. The by-pass path has improved significantly since my last walk up this glen in 2009.
By-passing the Glencoe Cottages:
Looking towards Meall Lighiche:
Crossing the burns turned out to be quite straight-forward today - there are lots of large boulders presenting various options for crossing.
Unbridged crossing of the Allt na Muidhe:
To reach the lower slopes of Meall Mor, I had to cross a barbed-wire fence – I found a section where I could crawl under the barbed-wire. On the fence was a fairly-large spider.
Spider (Araneus Diadematus) on fence:
Looking back along Gleann Leac na Muidhe towards the Aonach Eagach:
The ascent of Meall Mor was nice and easy up gentle grassy slopes.
I don't fancy trying a direct ascent from the A82 - it looks dangerously steep.
Ascending grassy slopes of Meall Mor:
During the ascent, it was nice to catch my first glimpse of Sgorr a'Choise – a very recognisable hill owing to its pointy summit.
Looking across to Sgorr a'Choise from Meall Mor:
Meall Lighiche from Meall Mor:
Looking across to Sgorr a'Choise and Beinn a'Bheithir:
It didn't take that long to reach the flat area before the summit. From there I followed the ridge to the summit cairn.
Approaching the summit of Meall Mor:
Loch Linnhe, Loch Leven and Ballachulish bridge (zoomed):
Good views from the summit - probably excellent views on a completely clear day.
Looking towards Aonach Eagach and Bidean Nam Bian from summit of Meall Mor:
Looking towards Ballachulish bridge from summit of Meall Mor:
I walked a couple of hundred metres beyond the summit, from where there are excellent views along Glen Coe.
Glen Coe from beyond summit of Meall Mor:
Aonach Eagach from beyond summit of Meall Mor:
Aonach Eagach ridge (zoomed):
I then returned to the summit and started making my way across towards Sgorr a'Choise.
Allt na Muidhe below Sgurr na h-Ulaidh:
The descent was pleasant, again down grassy slopes.
Descent towards Sgorr a'Choise:
On reaching the col between Meall Mor and Sgorr a'Choise, I began the ascent towards Meall a'Bhuige.
Looking back to Meall Mor from Meall a'Bhuige of Sgorr a'Choise:
Fraochaidh, Beinn a'Bheithir and Sgorr a'Choise:
Sgorr a'Choise from Meall a'Bhuige:
It didn't take long to reach the top of Meall a'Bhuige. From there, the ascent of Sgorr a'Choise was fairly steep.
A short distance beyond Meall a'Bhuige there is a six-foot fence that has a short section that is only three feet high. The fence is tight to the ground – might be difficult to get a large dog over it.
Ascending steeply up Sgorr a'Choise:
Looking back towards Bidean Nam Bian, Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne and Sgurr na h-Ulaidh:
The rocky summit section was surprisingly easy – a small path winds its way round the rocks following a dry-stane dyke and rusty iron fenceposts.
Approaching rocky summit of Sgorr a'Choise:
Beinn a'Bheithir from summit of Sgorr a'Choise:
Excellent views down to Ballachulish, and across to Beinn a'Bheithir and Fraochaidh, from the summit.
Ballachulish from summit of Sgorr a'Choise:
Fraochaidh from summit of Sgorr a'Choise:
Meall Mor from summit of Sgorr a'Choise:
From the summit, I returned via the same route back over Meall a'Bhuige and on to the col between Sgorr a'Choise and Meall Mor.
From the col, I made my way back towards the point where I had crossed the barbed-wire fence earlier in the day.
The weather was improving as the day went on.
Good view towards Glen Coe during descent:
After crossing the burns, I made my way back along the Gleann Leac Na Muidhe to the starting point.