Hills: Meall nan Con
Date: Saturday 19th January 2019
Company: Just myself
Distance: 6.5km, Ascent: 320m
Time: 2Hrs 25Mins
After a great day out on Friday ascending
Stob Ban in the Grey Corries, I
desired an easier day out on the Saturday due to feeling a tad under the
weather with a bad cold. I therefore decided to ascend my first new
Sub2000ft Marilyn of the year and opted for a rather special one which has
been on my wish list for a number of years.
From my weekend base in
Fort Wiliam I set off nice and early on the long drive out to one of my
favourite places, Ardnamurchan. There are no Munros, Corbetts or even
Grahams on the peninsula itself but there are some great smaller hills. Having
previously ascended Beinn na Seilg, Ben Laga, Beinn Each, Ben Hiant and Cruachan Carna, on the Isle of Carna, I had one remaining Marilyn
on the peninsula, Meall nan Con.
While driving along the B8007 I
stopped for five to ten minutes to take some post-sunrise photographs and to
savour the views looking across to the Isles of Rum, Eigg and Skye.
Early morning view across to Rum, Eigg and Skye during drive round to
I then continued on along the road for a further few kilometres until
reaching a suitable parking place to ascend Meall nan Con.
Ardnamurchan is not particularly reknowned for its hills, it is reknowned
for its geology. On the peninsula there is an almost perfect circle of small
hills which was until recently thought to be a ring dyke i.e. the collaped
caldera of a large volcano. Crystals in the rock are however aligned towards
the centre of the ring. This alignment was caused by magma flow within
something called a lopolith. A lopolith is a lens-shaped volcanic formation
with a depressed central area. The summit of Meall nan Con is the high-point
of the lopolith.
From the road passing place, where I had left my car, I walked 50 metres
along the road to cross the bridge over the Allt Rath a' Bheulain. I then
headed towards the corner of a fence thus avoiding having to cross the burn
and climb the fence. On reaching the corner of the fence, I followed the
fenceline in the general direction of Meall nan Con.
the fenceline I spotted an ATV track a short distance ahead. I made my way
towards it and then followed it to just below the summit. I guess lazy
geologists who can't be bothered walking to see the volcanic formations get
ferried in and out in an all-terrain vehicle
views back towards Ben Hiant were pretty-good. Ben Hiant is the highest hill
on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. It is a cracking hill.
Looking back towards Ben Hiant:
Looking towards Meall nan Con:
On gaining height the Sound of Mull came into view. The walk reminded me
of ascending to the high-point of a Marilyn on North Mull called S' Airde
Beinn. S' Airde Beinn is a volcanic plug. As the
crow flies sea eagle soars the two hills are only 10-15km apart.
Ben Hiant and the Sound of Mull:
On reaching the flank of the hill, a short distance below the summit, I
left the ATV track and made my way up onto the wide SSE ridge.
Ascending Meall nan Con:
Beinn an Leathaid with Ben Hiant beyond:
During the final ascent I stopped to take several photographs of the
fantastic view looking up the west coast of Scotland. My photo in no way
does the view justice.
Looking North along the West Coast towards Mallaig, Knoydart and beyond:
Once onto the wide ridge I followed it to the summit of Meall nan Con.
Onto the wide ridge:
Panorama from the ridge:
There are two potential high points possibly ten metres apart, the trig
point and the small bump as seen in the next photo. It is worth visiting
both as the views from the bump are arguably better than those at the summit
At the summit of Meall nan Con:
Ben Hiant and the summit trig point from the outlying high point:
The view looking out to Muck. Eigg, Rum and beyond to Skye was fairly
Muck, Rum and Eigg from just beyond the summit:
While at the summit trig point I used my iPhone to make a short 360
degree panorama video which I have since uploaded to YouTube. If it does not
automatically run in HD, it is worth switching it to HD.
here to watch the short video.
After spending some time at the
summit I returned to the car via the same route. On reaching the car I
decided to drive to the most westerly point of the British mainland, the
Point of Ardnamurchan. Despite visiting Ardnamurchan several times
previously, I had not previously visited the Point!
reaching the Point of Ardnamurchan, I got my iPhone out to take some photos
of the lighthouse.
Point of Ardnamurchan Lighthouse:
The highlight of the trip was when I turned a corner and literally come
face to face with a wild otter. I think it was initially a bit sleepy which
allowed me to get sufficiently close to take a couple of photos with my
iPhone before it ran off towards the sea. How I wished I had my DSLR with
me. Saying that, by the time I had got the DSLR out and settings set I would
probably have missed it. What a wonderful wildlife experience
posting up photos to Facebook and Twitter several asked if it had a head
wound. It did not. The markings on its head are just bits of grass.
Marilyns on Ardnamurchan now complete but I suspect I will continue to
return to this wonderful part of Scotland.