On Friday morning I set off from home towards Kinloch Rannoch to attend the Moray Mountaineering Club’s weekend meet. On reaching Kinloch Rannoch, I continued on towards Rannoch Station to ascend Meall Chomraidh – a Sub2000ft Marilyn.

I parked at Bridge of Gaur with the intention of walking the Public Right of Way towards Meall Chomraidh.

Near the start of the track is a sign stating, “Stalking takes place between 1st July to 15th February. The most important period is between 1st August to 20th October. During this period you can help by using an alternative route”. As this sign was attempting to discourage people from using the Public Right of Way and restricting access for over seven months of the year, I chose to ignore it.

I followed the track as far as the bridge over the Allt Chomraidh before a car pulled up and stopped alongside me. The meeting initially felt like an inquisition – who was I, where was I going, where do I come from, where am I staying locally, ... I was lectured about the money clients pay to stalk deer and how hillwalkers can disrupt this activity. I was also advised that the Austrian landowner dislikes hillwalkers being on his land at any time.

Following the conversation I chose to continue on up Meall Chomraidh as I felt the estate was not complying with the access code. I ascended circa 50m before being stopped by high dense bracken. I therefore had to return to the car without reaching the summit anyway .

I then drove further along the road towards Rannoch Station for an ascent of Sron Smeur. I parked at the start of the Public Footpath to Fort William via Corrour.

Hill: Sron Smeur
Date: Friday 4th October 2013
Company: Just myself
Distance: 8.2km, Ascent: 250m
Time: 2Hrs 25Mins

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I set off along the good track towards Corrour. I last walked this path when ascending Beinn Pharlagain.

Start of Public Footpath to Fort William via Corrour:

Near the start of the track was a sign advising to stick to the “marked routes”.

Dunan estate stalking information:

I continued on ignoring the sign as there were no “marked routes” posted.

Track towards Corrour:

After walking circa 1.5km along the track I took to the hillside. The ground was fairly wet underfoot and views were limited owing to low cloud.

Ascent of Meall na Mucarach:

Looking back towards Rannoch Station and Loch Laidon:

It didn’t take long to reach the top of Meall na Mucarach.

Looking towards Sron Smeur from Meall na Mucarach:

The col between Meall na Mucharach and Sron Smeur was fairly unpleasant.

Wet terrain:

After passing the section of wet hags, I continued on to the summit of Sron Smeur.

Heading for the summit of Sron Smeur:

The summit is the boulder in the next photo.

Summit boulder of Sron Smeur:

From the summit I returned to the car via the same route.

On reaching the car I decided to look for an alternative route up Meall Chomraidh. I drove to and parked at the Gaur Power Station for a second attempt of Meall Chomraidh.

Hill: Meall Chomraidh
Date: Friday 4th October 2013
Company: Just myself
Distance: 6.7km, Ascent: 275m
Time: 2Hrs 25Mins

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I initially walked the tarmac road round to Gaur Power Station before reaching a locked six-foot high gate.

Track towards Loch Eigheach dam and Gaur Power Station:

Gaur Power Station:

I climbed over a six-foot wooden fence next to the gate and then carried on along the track on the other side.

Gaur Power Station:

Looking towards Meall Chomraidh:

After a few hundred metres I reached the bridge over the Abhainn Duibhe.

Bridge over the Abhainn Duibhe:

Once beyond the bridge I decided to follow a vehicle track for as long as it was heading in the right general direction.

Following the vehicle track beyond the bridge:

Meall Chomraidh:

When the track stopped ascending, I continued on up the hillside.

Looking back towards River Gaur and Dunan:

The ground was fairly rough and there were hundreds of holes to avoid.

Looking back towards Loch Eigheach and Gaur Power Station:

On reaching a six-foot deer fence, I decided to follow it as it was heading uphill in the right direction. I eventually had to climb over the deer fence to get towards the summit. There are no stiles.

Ascent of Meall Chomraidh:

It felt great to reach the summit having failed to get there earlier in the day. This hill is a great viewpoint for looking down the length of Loch Rannoch.

Loch Rannoch from the summit of Meall Chomraidh:

Loch Rannoch from the summit of Meall Chomraidh:

Looking towards Stob na Cruaiche and Loch Eigheach from summit:

View from summit of Meall Chomraidh:

From the summit I took a short detour to have a look at something odd on the hill - a wooden stake with what looked like a white flower pot screwed to the top. No idea what this is for. University of Durham was written on the stake.

During the walk back I passed dozens of fox moth caterpillars. I stopped to take a close-up photo of one of them.

Fox moth caterpillar chewing a leaf (zoom):