It was my intention this weekend to ascend Meith Bheinn and An Stac, my
remaining two Grahams. However, the weather was not ideal for tackling such
remote hills and the Loch Morar boat, which would have made an ascent
considerably easier, is currently being refitted. My Plan B therefore was to
go to the Outer Hebrides. On Thursday afternoon, I travelled to Ullapool to
find on arrival that the Calmac status had changed to cancelled due to
strong winds. I therefore re-booked to sail the following morning spending
the night in Ullapool. The following morning, the Calmac status again had
changed to cancelled. I therefore needed a Plan C! As I was still keen to
visit a Scottish island, I decided to drive from Ullapool to Lochaline to
catch the ferry across to the Isle of Mull. The Lochaline / Fishnish ferry
tends to run even when most other sailings are cancelled.
in Mull, I drove from Fishnish to Tobermory briefly stopping at Salen to
take a photo of the wrecked boats.
Boats at Salen:
grabbing some early tea from the fish and chip van in Tobermory, I drove
round the north coast to visit Calgary Bay.
visiting Calgary Bay, I continued round the coast to eventually park up for
the evening not too far from the usual starting point for an ascent Ben
More. The roads round Mull's coast are currently appalling - countless deep
potholes and on some stretches of road, no road surface at all.
morning, I opted to drive to the south of Mull as the road to Lochbuie is
normally great for wildlife. While there I also hoped to ascend one or two
of the Marilyns in the area.
On driving along the Lochbuie road, I
stopped to take photos of Lapwing and a Grey Heron. I saw numerous birds
while driving along the road but alas no Eagles (Sea or Golden).
Unfortunately, I also failed to spot any Otter.
eventually parked-up, got suited and booted and commenced a walk towards
Hill: Maol Ban
Date: Saturday 17th March 2018
Company: Just myself
Distance: 13km, Ascent: 515m
Time: 4Hrs 10Mins
From the van, I walked circa 1.5km along the Lochbuie road before taking
the road signposted "Craggan". On reaching the Craggan road, I walked along
it until reaching a faint ATV track leading up towards a small transmitter.
I decided to make use of the ATV track even though it likely would not last
Walking along the Lochbuie road:
suspected the ATV track didn't last long and thereafter I followed various
sheep and deer tracks in the general direction of Maol Ban. Creach-bheinn
looked nice and almost devoid of snow. I ascended Creach-bheinn in March
2017 almost exactly a year previous.
Creach-bheinn across Loch
of Maol Ban was rough-going but not as bad as the descent that was yet to
View during ascent:
across to Creach-bheinn:
is a hill of many lumps and bumps so I was glad to eventually reach the
final bump that is the summit. The summit is a grassy mound a short distance
away from the trig point. It was extremely windy and bitterly cold at the
summit so I did not hang around.
View from the summit of Maol Ban:
summit, I decided to head towards Druim Fada with a view to potentially
View towards the Garvellachs:
back towards the summit of Maol Ban:
heading towards Druim Fada, I ascended Beinn na Sroine which provides good
views down to Loch an t-sidhein.
Loch an t-sidhein:
summit of Beinn na Sroine:
on seeing the significant drop between Beinn na Sroine and Druim Fada, I
decided to leave it for another, less-windy day.
made my way down to Loch an t-sidhein before continuing along the ridge.
At Loch an t-sidhein:
checked the map picking out what I thought was a suitable descent route. I
noticed a missing contour on the map but did not suspect that missing
contour to actually be a rock outcrop. Glad I did not walk over it in the
Outcrop not marked on map (missing contour!):
descent towards Barachandroman was really rough-going via countless tussocks
and a tangle of dead bracken.
Descent towards Barachandroman:
I was glad
to reach Barachandroman and then commence the walk back along the road
towards my van. Even walking along the road was not easy - I had to walk at
an angle forcing my way into the wind.
Sheiling at Barachandroman:
Maol Ban is not a hill I would rush back to do again but Loch Spelve and the
Lochbuie road are great for wildlife.