Hill: Meall an t-Slamain
Date: Saturday 22nd March 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 7.6km, Ascent: 480m
Time: 3Hrs 35Mins

Enthusiasm was fairly low this morning with yet another day of bad weather. I had no fixed plan for today just a number of ideas. Given snow was down to road level and it was chucking it down, a short relatively-easy walk was in order. I therefore drove round to Achaphubuil for an ascent of Meall an t-Slamain.

This hill is meant to be a fantastic viewpoint looking across to Fort William and the Ben. Today I saw nowt. This is a hill I may repeat on a better day.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I walked a short distance along the road from Achaphubuil to the start of the track leading to the transmitters and trig point at a height of 291m.

View from Achaphubuil:

There is a sign at the start of the track advising of cattle and sheep on the track. Right at the start of the track were several Highland cattle. They seemed fairly docile and were happy enough to get their photo taken at fairly close proximity.

H'lan Coo at start of track:

H'lan Coo at start of track:

My map indicated that there was initially a landrover track followed by a footpath. This is no longer the case. There is now a landrover track all the way to the transmitters. The track is still being worked on and there are 'Elf and Safety signs advising to contact the Site Office before proceeding which of course I ignored.

Looking back towards Loch Eil:

A short distance below the transmitters were a number of site vehicles. No work being carried out today.

Ascending track leading to transmitters and trig point:

Looking back:

The cloud level was fairly low throughout most of the walk. It was nice to see the transmitters appear out of the mist.

Approaching transmitters:

During the final ascent to the trig point, I encountered some shin-deep drifts. There would be much worse to come.

Trig point at 291m:

Today I decided to keep the GPS in the bag and follow a compass bearing from the 291m top towards the summit.

Looking back towards 291m top:

Cairn circa half-way between 291m top and summit:

During the walk from the 291m top to the summit, I encountered a number of very deep snow drifts. One of the drifts come to just below my chest. It was almost impossible to make progress through this deep drift. Initially I tried inching my way forward but progress was too slow. I then managed to lie down on the top of the snow distributing my weight over a large surface area and then knelt my way up the drift spreading my weight across my lower legs.

Looking towards summit:

Looking back at ascent:

It took much longer than originally anticipated to reach the summit.

Summit of Meall an t-Slamain:

I returned via exactly the same route following my inbound footsteps. Going down was much easier than going up.

Looking back at deep snow:

Looking back towards Meall an t-Slamain:

Loch Eil:

The Narrows and Corpach:

It took me over 3.5 hours to ascend a hill that I would normally be able to ascend in around 2 hours. The soft, deep snow was hard work.