Hills: Meall Chuaich
Date: Saturday 30th June 2018
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 15km, Ascent: 660m
Time: 5Hrs 55Mins

On waking yesterday morning, I quickly packed a rucksack before driving towards Drumochter for an ascent of Meall Chuaich. The rucksack contained little more than water (four litres), some food, sunglasses, buffs and sunblock. I opted for Meall Chuaich as it is one of the easier Munros with plentiful water en-route to keep Cuillin cool. On leaving home the car thermometer was reading 13C. By the time we arrived at the starting point the temperature had already risen to 22C. It was going to be a warm day .

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On reaching layby 94, we walked a short distance back along the road to reach the start of the track. There was no need to get suited and booted as we decided to wear trail shoes instead of boots. On reaching the start of the track we did however stop to put on sunblock, something we would be doing repeatedly throughout the walk.

On reaching the water channel I thought it would be a good idea to get Cuillin wet to keep him cool. Little did I know that he would enjoy the water channel so much that he was keen to bounce along the channel chasing small stones for almost 1km .

Cuillin having fun in the water channel:

Cuillin having fun in the water channel:

On approaching the power station I got Cuillin out of the water channel and back on his lead and we continued on along the track towards Meall Chuaich.

Power station:

On reaching the large water pipe we had a circa five minute stop while I climbed onto the pipe for a photo. I was obviously not the first person to do so as there were plentiful footprints on the pipe.

Standing on the large water pipe:

Prior to starting our ascent of Meall Chuaich, we stopped for around ten minutes to again get Cuillin soaked. We also both had a good drink and re-applied sunblock.

Cooling down before our ascent of Meall Chuaich:

A small cairn marks the start of the hill ascent although the track going up the hill is very obvious.

Exactly one week previous, while ascending Meall a' Bhuiridh, I stopped to chat with a man with his dog. Remarkably, I met this same man again as he was this time also ascending Meall Chuaich. We again said hello and would meet-up again later at the summit.

Creag Ruaidh and Loch Cuaidh:

Looking back towards start of walk:

The ascent of Meall Chuaich was straight-forward. Thanks to the recent extended spell of dry weather the ground was completely dry with no wet sections to cross.

Ascending Meall Chuaich:

Becky took the lead for much of the walk which was good as I wanted to ascend at her pace.

Becky ascending Meall Chuaich:

As we gained height, the views looking back towards Loch Ericht got better and better. There was nothing but blue sky all around. It was getting hotter as the day progressed although we did very much welcome a slight breeze.

Looking back towards Loch Ericht and Ben Alder:

Looking back:

During the ascent we stopped on a couple of occasions to keep hydrated.

Small section of boulderfield:

Summit ahead:

On reaching the summit, without any prompting at all, Cuillin clambered up the summit cairn to stand at the top!

Cuillin atop the summit cairn:

He was shortly joined by Becky and then also by myself.

Becky and Cuillin atop the summit cairn:

I spent around ten minutes trying to get my iPhone stable next to a rock to get a self-timer pic. I must have been up and down the cairn about ten times as the phone kept falling over and Cuillin kept getting in front of Becky. Thankfully, the couple we met at the base of the hill soon caught-up with us and the man who I had now met two weeks running kindly took a photo of us. I then reciprocated by taking a photo of them atop the cairn.

Becky, Cuillin and myself atop the summit cairn:

After spending around 30 minutes at the summit we returned to the base of the hill where we again stopped at the burn to get Cuillin cooled-down.

Cooling down again:

The walk out was hard work due to the heat. The amount of water in the Allt Coire Chuaich shows how much of a dry spell we are currently having.

Not much water flowing in the Allt Coire Chuaich:

On reaching the water channel, Cuillin was somewhat hyper to get back into it to chase stones. He again did this for a full kilometre during the walk out .

On reaching the car, the temperature gauge was in the thirties albeit this was due to the car sitting in the sun. The bottle of water I had left sitting in the car in sunlight was now around 50C. On driving off the thermometer eventually decreased to 27C. No wonder we had found the walk hard-going in the heat.

Well done to Becky and Cuillin on ascending another Munro.