Coughs, colds, chest infections, a week cycling in Mallorca and various other commitments had kept me away from the Munros for too long. So not even a poor weather forecast for last Saturday could stop me packing my walking rucksack for a day in the hills.
As it turned out, there was a dramatic last-minute turn round in the forecast and the sun decided to shine all day as the G-Force and I took on two “easier” Munros in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, Meall Buidhe and Stuchd-an-lochain.
Sadly, the G-Force was still battling a cough and cold, so we chose a Munro bagging day that had the option to walk just one Munro instead of two if needs be.
Both Meall Buidhe and Stuchd-an-lochain would make fine single Munro outings, especially if you are looking for less tiring hikes. The start point for both is above 400m, which leaves only 500m or so to hike upwards and there are paths to follow for most of the way.
The drive to the start is long and winding but beautiful. Having expected overcast conditions we were delighted by the sunshine and blue sky. We could hardly believe the nice weather would last all day. But it did!
We parked the van right at the end of the tarmac road and next to the high-rise dam on Loch an Daimh. We decided to walk Stuchd-an-lochain first because the last time the G-Force did these two Munros he tackled Meall Buidhe first. Simple as that!
Walking the Munro Stuchd-an-lochain
The path follows a south-westerly direction and then heads west. The ascent is steady and rarely causes much leg muscle pain. There is a section in the middle that goes down for a while before climbing gently again to reach the final steeper climb to the summit cairn.
I enjoyed a lot of this walk alone because the G-Force wanted to take the hike much slower and I was in the mood to push on. Sometimes it works out better to go at our own pace.
En route I passed and met around a dozen people. Some were hiking only the one Munro and others had their sights set on the pair, too.
I enjoyed 10 minutes chatting to a couple of guys who had stopped just below the top for a breather and a drink of water. Last summer they had followed the same route but descended to the north of the Munro and then walked a Corbett and the Munro Meall Buidhe. They told me it had been another hot day and a very tough hike.
(It turned out later on when I mentioned my walk on Munroaming that one of the Munroamers, Graham Moffat, knew the walkers I had been chatting to. Small world!)
It was surprisingly warm on top of Stuchd-an-lochain (for the time of year) so we stopped for a bite to eat and to take in the truly stunning views. We could see as far as Glencoe and Ben Nevis behind that.
The hike back to the van followed the same route down the mountain. It was wonderful to be able to take in the full views of the loch and the Lawyers range as we made a quick descent.
Back at the campervan it was tempting to simply sit down and sunbathe. The G-Force mentioned that he might not bother with the second Munro was I was determined. It isn’t easy to leave behind the car once again faced with more ascent but I knew this wouldn’t be a tough Munro.
Walking Munro Meall Buidhe
Thankfully, the G-Force didn’t want to be left behind in the end and we both began the slow plod up a rough and boggy path on Meall Buidhe. It was great to discover so many wee cairns to guide the way although I don’t know why there are so many on this Munro.
Our legs were tired because we have not climbed hills for a while and the boggy ground was pretty testing.
As we climbed higher, however, we could feel our spirits returning and with the sun still shining it felt amazing to be bagging a second Munro in less than five hours of walking.
Two thirds of the way up the hill we met three guys who were descending. I recalled seeing them on the first Munro and we exchanged a few cheery words about the “amazing weather given the forecast”.
Although Meall Buidhe looks to be a straightforward hike it does go on longer than you might imagine. At the first brow of the hill you think that the top might be only a short while away. But the mountain plateaus and goes on and on gently climbing over a few kilometres.
With such great views and clear skies the walk wasn’t a chore at any point, however. I enjoyed my returned strength (after so many months of feeling unwell) and a massive whoosh of exhilaration. The ascent of Meall Buidhe marks my 179th Munro.
An evening wild campervanning
We made the most of an evening of sunshine and warmth by meeting good friends V and D on a lochside between our Munros and Glasgow. If you ask me nicely I might tell you were it was but I’d prefer to keep it a secret!
We parked our two V-Dubs on the roadside and enjoyed a barbecue, drinks and bonfire (including marshmallow toasting) on a pebble beach as the sun set beautifully over the loch.
Amazingly, there were no midges and it only began to rain at about 11pm when we had decided we needed to go to bed anyway.
The next day we awoke to heavy rain and wind. Knowing that we had been lucky enough to make the most of a glorious Saturday in May to walk Munros and wild camp felt all the better as we headed home for a day firmly indoors.