Meall a' Chathaidh - 521m
Wednesday 30th November 2016

Weather/Conditions: Warm (for winter), windy conditions. The hills brown and blustery, old ice on the paths and traces of leftover snow. The skies heavy with rain shadow frontal weather.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 4km / 140m / 45m
Accompanying: Alone

Wednesday was home-time. I'd had two nights near Newtonmore with the Mckeowns. Another slightly grey day, it was time to head south. I had my mind on a final hill for the way home, but I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. Indecision had been a continual theme this weekend. Perhaps it's the time of year, I sometimes think that external conditions are the trigger for many big ideas, and thus if the weather doesn't play ball, then neither do I. If it does, then good things happen.

In the morning, the Mckeowns and myself cleaned the accommodation out, then headed to the Newtonmore burger place for breakfast. The Corbett Meall na Leitreach was one thought for the day, but as I drove south I wound up driving straight past it.

For one reason or another, I noticed Meall a' Chathaidh on the map. This is a high heel of moorland above Glen Garry. It's not that high or even distinct, but topographically but it's quite 'prominent'. It would give me some new terrain and I liked the idea of discovering a new place. It's sometimes best to follow this instinct on those days that going for a more known objective feels like a drag.

I stopped by the Wade Stone; a stone by the side of the road with "1729" carved in the side. I'd noticed this on the map first, and then found it right beside a lay-by. In the past I simply would never, ever have noticed this kind of thing, but these days I take a bit of interest in the history of our country.

Heading onward, I turned off the A9 at Dalnacardoch and parked on the high single track road leading to Trinafour. Meall a' Chathaidh is round hill of the snowdrift, but I didn't see much of that today. More dirty brown moor under a leaden sky, and sheet ice thawing into the bogs. The maps suggests a 4WD track up to the summit trig, but it's in a pretty rough state. At the top of the hill, you leave the forestry behind and a trig and fence adorns the summit.

The main feeling of this day was a sense of getting bearing in this part of the world. My walking is without a shadow of doubt Munro-centric, and that neglects places like Glen Garry of Atholl. Meall a' Chathaidh is square in the centre of an area of hill land I've experienced little of, and thus I got perhaps my first really good look at the hills of Gaick and Bruar. I'd like to traverse them some time: Drumochter to Beinn Dearg, perhaps. The centrepiece of the area appears to be An Dun and those steep glacially carved walls. To my south-west was Beinn a' Chuallaich, which I didn't really recognise at first; a hill I have climbed in mist, but never really come to 'know' in a deeper way.

Little hills like Meall a' Chathaidh are good discoveries off the back of that (utterly ridiculous!) pursuit of HuMP bagging. I never take it very seriously, but sometimes the small hills become good objectives in areas I'd otherwise never think to visit.

360° Panorama

Meall a' Chathaidh

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 1.00pm Bridge parking on Old Military Road
(0.25) 1.25pm Meall a' Chathaidh
(0.45) 1.45pm Bridge parking on Old Military Road

Written: 2016-12-14