Hill: Meall Chuaich
Date: Sunday 7th October 2012
Company: Myself and Beinn

Two months ago, I summitted my 100th second-round Munro. Thanks to the SMC changing the status of Beinn a'Chladeimh from Munro to Corbett, I set out today with a feeling of deja-vu to once again ascend my 100th second-round Munro. More importantly though, all going well Meall Chuaich would be Beinn’s 200th Marilyn.

I parked in a lay-by off of the A9, circa 100m from the start of the track.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I took a photo of the stalking information at the start of the track. I thought it a bit cheeky to expect walkers to only use the route marked in red from 12th August to 20th October. The estate should be posting up-to-date information concerning specific days when stalking is actually taking place.

Stalking information at start of track:

I last ascended Meall Chuaich in May 1999, via the same route as undertaken today. I couldn’t recall much about my previous ascent of this hill. My log from 1999 mentioned, “Great viewpoint, from the summit towards Ben Alder and Loch Ericht, the other Drumochter hills, the Cairngorms and Grampians”

Looking back to Cuaich:

I walked along the track next to the aqueduct trying to keep pace with three guys out in front. I found it surprisingly difficult to catch them up on the flat but knew I would likely overtake them during the ascent.

Looking towards Meall Chuaich from the aqueduct:

Cuaich Power Station:

As I walked along the track, a small plane flew overhead. For once I managed to get a close-up that was reasonably in-focus.

Small plane (full zoom):

Large pipe heading down to the power station:

Meall Chuaich:

On reaching the private bothy, I had a wee look inside through the window. The door was locked. Very nice wee bothy!

Private bothy (locked):

Meall Chuaich:

The track up the hill seems to have become much more eroded since my previous ascent in 1999. The track is very wide and fairly wet underfoot in a number of places.

Creag Ruadh and Loch Cuaich:

Looking back towards the Allt Cuaich:

During the ascent, I took a few zoom shots of nearby villages.

Dalwhinnie (zoom):

Ascending Meall Chuaich:

Loch Ericht and Ben Alder (zoom):

A short distance below the summit, I spotted a couple of ptarmigan. These birds have superb camouflage.

Spot the ptarmigan (x2):

Approaching the top of Meall Chuaich:

Newtonmore (zoom):

Kingussie (zoom):

Approaching the large summit cairn:

On reaching the summit, I told Beinn to climb the cairn such that I could get a photo of him on the summit of his 200th Marilyn. Well done Beinn!

In 1999, I took 2Hrs to reach the summit. Today was fifteen minutes faster.

Beinn bagging the cairn of his 200th Marilyn:

From the summit, we returned to the car via the same route. During the descent, Beinn managed to get himself in a bit of a mess.

Muckit again:

On reaching the car, I drove to Dalwhinnie and then took the Dalwhinnie to Laggan road to reach a potential starting point for an ascent of Creag na Doire Duibhe.

Hill: Creag na Doire Duibhe
Date: Sunday 7th October 2012
Company: Myself and Beinn

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I parked in a small parking area beside the bridge next to the track leading towards Loch Caoldair. There is room here for two cars.

Allt Breakachy at start of track towards Creag na Doire Duibhe:

The track leading towards Loch Caoldair was much nicer than I had expected. A short distance from the start there is a shallow burn to wade through.

Burn crossing:

I then followed the good track to just beyond Loch Glas-choire. I was happy not to come across any cattle today as the path was littered with cowpats.

Good track through the forest:

Good track heading towards Loch Caoldair:

Creag na Doire Duibhe:

My favourite view of this walk was looking across to Creag Dhubh. Beyond the main track, I followed a path which is faint in places, most of the way to the summit.

Creag Dhubh beyond Loch Glas-choire:

Creag Dhubh beyond Loch Glas-choire:

Creag na Doire Duibhe:

Following the faint path led me to a wooden gate which got me through the barbed-wire fence. I then briefly followed the line of another fence to make progress towards the summit.

Following the line of the fence:

On reaching the summit, which is a rock within 1m of the cairn, I took a photo of Beinn at the summit and then visited another small top a short distance beyond.

Beinn at the summit of Creag na Doire Duibhe:

View from the summit of Creag na Doire Duibhe:

Was nice to see some snow on the tops of the highest Cairngorms.

Snow-capped Cairngorms:

From the summit, we returned to the car via the same route.
Another really-good Sub2000ft Marilyn!