I was going to title this ‘long weekend’, but it wasn’t really as we didn’t leave home until Sunday. Late weekend may be more apt? However, having been corrected on pronunciation recently, I’d like to recognise that the three munros were all ‘Mealls’, pronounced differently to ‘meal’ according to Walk Highlands.
The First: Meall Buidhe
We swithered over whether to do this hill or leave it a couple of days due to the changing forecast. In the end we went for it as things looked reasonable until mid-afternoon and it’s a short walk.
Leaving the car after the long (never ending according to Bruce who did not enjoy the passenger experience) drive up Glen Lyon, we were both pretty relieved to have reached our destination, happy to be out in the fresh air.
The path initially climbed from the road and it was great knowing we were already starting high.
The path was pretty decent with definite potential for boggy conditions; however, the recent dry spell meant we avoided this to quite some extent. In fact, I took my gaiters off as the path was so dry, only to question the wisdom of this a little higher.
This hill was essentially like an upside down pudding bowl. It was also quite sheltered on the initial ascent, becoming breezier as we gained height.
The sky began to get darker, ominous cloud looming ahead, and we questioned whether we should put on our waterproofs. For once, we made the right decision – before long the spit of rain had become heavier and we were getting wet! Weirdly, the ground didn’t; it was more like a thick mist raining on us as it blew horizontally across the hill.
Reaching the summit, it was one of those classic Scottish hill days where you could have been anywhere!
We didn’t hang about as there was nothing much to see; aside from getting chilled there was little purpose in lingering. Touching the cairn, we retraced our route (more or less), somehow managing to descend via a slightly different path, leading to a longer walk back along the good track and a chance conversation with a group of friendly folks out walking their dogs.
All in all, a successful day.
The Second: Meall Corranaich
Having stopped in Killin last night, enjoying some excellent food and a great night’s sleep at the Courie Inn, we were raring to go again. Once more, we had a ‘high’ start as these munros are up at the Ben Lawers range. Our luck was in and we managed to secure the last decent space in the ‘car park’; rather randomly for an area on a single track road, it has lines painted to ensure as many cars as possible get into the small area.
The initial track was boggy, even after the recent dry spell, and we’ll make this our excuse for going too far along and missing the turning. Having corrected ourselves, we retraced our steps, found the boggy track we were supposed to be on and began the slow slog up the first hill, also the highest of the day.
There was a path all the way up, at times petering out a little as people had navigated different routes around boggy sections, but always coming good again. The route followed a line of old fence posts and these provided a great way marker.
As we climbed higher the mist thickened, although unlike yesterday it was dry. We didn’t get views at the top, a shame as these are supposed to be lovely hills, but having sat at the summit cairn for a snack, we were rewarded with the view opening up as our walk continued, showing us a clear view of our second summit of the day …
The Third: Meall a’ Choire Lèith
The lower of the two hills for the day, this was reached by initially following the clear path from Meall Corranaich before veering off to gain the lower path across the north ridge. Had we continued on the ‘main’ path, easy to do given that it’s the clear line, we’d have had more drop and a higher ascent, rather than the easy amble we enjoyed.
Looking back the way we’d come, there were good views to Ben Lawers when the mist cleared.
We could also see over to Meall Buidhe, looking brighter than yesterday.
The summit of Meall a’ Choire Lèith was a small cairn of flat stones on the broad plateau. Again, we stopped for a brief seat and some sustenance before beginning the descent. Initially this took us across the grassy plateau before picking up a clear path. This led us back down less steeply than it had appeared when we saw it in the distance heading out to start our day.
As the gradient lessened and the path skirted around the hillside, it became boggier underfoot and was harder on the legs due to the slope; how I wished I had legs like a haggis! As we dropped lower we aimed to pick up the outgoing path. While Bruce stuck with the clear path, I followed the Garmin route from Walk Highlands. It was definitely the fair weather route, my leather boots coping well with the boggy grass and occasional peaty dip. Bruce meanwhile fared okay with his (ideal for scrambling but not actually waterproof) boots on the actual path, and despite appearing to be going in different directions our paths did finally converge.
Another great hill day, my munro count now sits at 190, his at 62 (for the second round?)