Hill: Meall a' Chrathaich
Date: Friday 11th September 2015
Company: Myself and Cuillin
Distance: 21.5km, Ascent: 670m
Time: 5Hrs 25Mins

I set out yesterday to ascend my closest-to-home unclimbed Graham, Meall a' Chrathaich.

Most seem to approach this hill from Bhlaraidh to the South. Instead, I decided to approach from Corrimony to the North, as this looked a more interesting route which would allow for a bothy visit. It would also allow me to see the 4000 year-old Corrimony Cairn.

Circa 0.5km before reaching the Corrimony walker's car park, I stopped to visit the Corrimony Cairn. According to Historic Scotland, this chambered cairn (passage grave) was built around 4000 years ago. There are numerous such passage graves in and around the Moray Firth area.

Corrimony Cairn:

Standing atop Corrimony Cairn:

After visiting Corrimony Cairn, I parked-up in the walker's car park for my ascent of Meall a' Chrathaich. As a significant majority of the walk today would be on hard track. I opted to wear trail shoes instead of boots.

Having strained my back just a few days previous, the walk was going to be somewhat painful; better putting up with a bit of pain than staying indoors!

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From the walker's car park, we followed the track leading out to Loch ma Stac. This track also now leads to Corrimony Windfarm .

After walking circa 1km, we entered the RSPB Nature Reserve. While walking through the reserve, I saw very few birds. During the walk, I did meet a lady carrying out RSPB survey work. She advised of having seen Black Grouse earlier in the day. I had no such good fortune, only seeing Red Grouse during the walk.

RSPB Corrimony Nature Reserve:

The downside to my approach from Corrimony would be having to pass the Corrimony Windfarm. I am not a fan of windfarms sited on hills.

Looking towards Corrimony Windfarm:

As we progressed along the track, we passed Loch Comhnard. Circa 1km beyond Loch Comhnard, I left the main Windfarm track to descend onto the original track leading past Corrimony Bothy.

Loch Comhnard:

It's really sad that many old stalkers tracks are being completely destroyed and replaced with motorways of grit for windfarms. It is often the case that these motorways of grit are being put in by landowners with a view to trying to encourage windfarm development on their land.

I always enjoy a walk that takes in a bothy visit. We stopped at Corrimony Bothy for a look inside.

Corrimony Bothy:

Inside Corrimony Bothy:

From the bothy, we continued along the old track until having to go back onto the windfarm motorway.

Junction, heading for Loch ma Stac:

Strathfarrar Hills:

There was no mistaking the fact I was near a windfarm. Despite trying to blank out the turbines from my vision, the noise eminating from the site was somewhat akin to standing near an airport.

Corrimony Windfarm:

It was good to get beyond the windfarm leaving the unsightly turbines and associated noise behind.

Yesterday, I decided to follow the track to its end as I was keen to see the old lodge located on a small islet on Loch ma Stac.

Meall a' Chrathaich:

Approaching Loch ma Stac:

The level of the loch was sufficiently low that it was possible to walk across to the old lodge.

Old lodge at Loch ma Stac:

Old lodge at Loch ma Stac:

From the lodge, I made my way towards Meall a' Chrathaich. It was just a case of head in the general direction of the hill. This short section of walk was initially through bog and then heather.

Ascending Meall a' Chrathaich:

Ascending Meall a' Chrathaich:

It didn't take long to get from Loch ma Stac to the top of Meall a' Chrathaich. As we gained height, we were increasingly blasted by the wind. The MWIS forecast had suggested 50mph gusts. Down in the glen we had been completely sheltered from the wind.

Looking back to Loch ma Stac:

Approaching the summit of Meall a' Chrathaich:

Loch a' Chrathaich:

On reaching the summit, I stopped long enough to take some photos, have a drink and to give Cuillin some food. Instead of returning back towards Loch ma Stac, we took a more direct descent back towards a couple of small lochans to regain the inbound track.

Trig point summit of Meall a' Chrathaich:

Loch a' Mhuilinn:

Looking back to Meall a' Chrathaich during descent:

Skirting round a lochan to get back onto the track:

On reaching the main track, we followed the track back out to Corrimony.

Good to get another Graham done although I would much rather be doing Munros and Tops. Will be glad when they are complete.