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 starting point:

I then continued on along the road for a further few kilometres until reaching a suitable parking place to ascend Meall nan Con.

While 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.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

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.

While following 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 .

The 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 trig.

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 special.

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. Click 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!

On 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 .

On 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.

Wild otter:

Wild otter:

Marilyns on Ardnamurchan now complete but I suspect I will continue to return to this wonderful part of Scotland.