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.

On arrival in Mull, I drove from Fishnish to Tobermory briefly stopping at Salen to take a photo of the wrecked boats.

Boats at Salen:


After grabbing some early tea from the fish and chip van in Tobermory, I drove round the north coast to visit Calgary Bay.

Calgary Bay:


After 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.

This 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.

Lapwing:


Lapwing:


Grey Heron:


I eventually parked-up, got suited and booted and commenced a walk towards Maol Ban.

Hill: Maol Ban
Date: Saturday 17th March 2018
Company: Just myself
Distance: 13km, Ascent: 515m
Time: 4Hrs 10Mins


Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

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 long.

Walking along the Lochbuie road:


As 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 Spelve:


Loch Spelve:


The ascent of Maol Ban was rough-going but not as bad as the descent that was yet to come.

View during ascent:


Looking across to Creach-bheinn:


Maol Ban 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:


From the summit, I decided to head towards Druim Fada with a view to potentially ascending it.

View towards the Garvellachs:


Looking back towards the summit of Maol Ban:


While heading towards Druim Fada, I ascended Beinn na Sroine which provides good views down to Loch an t-sidhein.

Loch an t-sidhein:


At the summit of Beinn na Sroine:


However, on seeing the significant drop between Beinn na Sroine and Druim Fada, I decided to leave it for another, less-windy day.

Druim Fada:


I intially made my way down to Loch an t-sidhein before continuing along the ridge.

At Loch an t-sidhein:


I had 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 mist.

Outcrop not marked on map (missing contour!):


The descent towards Barachandroman was really rough-going via countless tussocks and a tangle of dead bracken.

Descent towards Barachandroman:


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.