Meall Mor - 748m
Tuesday 19th November 2013

Weather/Conditions: The start of winter! A thin layer of snow fell the evening before, along with a drop of temperature that meant there was black ice everywhere. The drive was a touch sketchy... The setting Moon was atmospheric, the rising sun was beautiful. But it was cold too...!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 14km / 850m / 3h 55m
Accompanying: Alone

Meall Mor is a big wall of a mountain sat above Loch Katrine, and I went up with the intention of checking out some rock I spied before my Munro Round. For some reason I left home really early, 1 or 2am, and drove to Stronachlachar on scary black ice, where I kipped in the front seat of the car. Outside, it all looked stunning - mountains were covered in a peppering of snow, then illuminated by the moonlight. The start of winter! It hadn't been like that earlier in the day. I'd been at Dumbarton and there hadn't been any fresh snowfall. Unbeknown to me, the evening brought a pulse of cold air and snow squalls across the Highlands - just enough to pepper the land in the first winter snows. Then they cleared off and gave me the bright, beautiful day that was to come.

I'd always thought I'd cycle into the base of Meall Mor, but the bike had a flat tyre so I just walked. That was fine anyway as the road was somewhat icy... I started up the south flank of Meall Mor, another climb that just felt utterly hard work, all the way. I was too close to my situation at the time to really appreciate the temporary nature of this lethargy, but I felt completely drained. The walk to the summit felt like hard work and I was generally a bit dispirited. After of my summer, I was on a kind of 'motivation rebound'. I had a period of being unsure where my motivations lay and it was a while before the fires really lit again. Thank god that's over now, but at the time it was very real.

The sunrise, however, was really stunning and it was nice to finally see a wee bit of Scotland I'd long looked forward to exploring. Glen Gyle is worth more of a look, for sure. With the summit cairn gained, I headed back the way I came, down long slopes to the glen floor and out the road to Stronachlachar. This was a nice walk, but I was impatient to get back, and it drowned out the pleasure of being there.

Back at Stronachlachar, I drove home via. Drymen, suddenly out of one wild world (the Highlands) and into a softer, sunnier place where the warm sun was melting the snow back to fields of green. It sure was a raw, wild place to have gone at that time in the morning. I must go back in the future...




Glen Gyle morning

Meall Mor 360°
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 6.05am Stronachlachar
(2.00) 8.05am Meall Mor
(3.55) 10.00am Stronachlachar
Written: 2015-11-10