Now that I live in the Scottish Highlands, near Inverness, there are so many more mountain options on my doorstep. My Corbett bagging friend Ben (who was staying with us for the week) and I checked the weather, searched the map to the west and chose Sgurr a’ Mhuilinn and Meallan nan Uan at Strathconon.
Anyone who walks Corbetts will know that it is common to walk single mountains. Unlike the Munros, where it is often possible to easily link together a walk of two or more summits, the Corbetts tend to sit alone in the landscape. So, a chance to walk two Corbetts in one outing greatly appealed.
Having walked a Munro and a Corbett the day before, the two-Corbett hike of around 13km with a total ascent of just more than 1100m seemed perfect.
Walk Highlands describes this as a “fine hill walk” and I agree. It has all the right ingredients, including fantastic views, an accessible but remote location, few other people (actually we met no one), enough path to make it a fairly obvious route yet also plenty of trackless terrain to give the sense that we were not following in the footsteps of others.
We did the route clockwise starting at Strathanmore, Strathconon. The long drive along a singletrack tarmac road to reach Strathanmore was impressive. It was both beautiful but also mind boggling. There were plenty of homes, even at seemingly remote Strathanmore and we wondered who might live there and what they do for a living? Some might work on the Strathanmore Estate and others could be home-workers, but there were a lot of people living in the miles-from-anywhere-else location.
The hike to Meallan nan Uan
There are bits and pieces of trods on the route up the northern flanks of the wide ridge of Meallan nan Uan. We followed these where we could and also tramped off-path through heather and grass.
It is a steep ascent and we stopped fairly regularly for a breather and to take in the ever widening views of this fabulous part of the Highlands.
Finally the gradient eased as we reached the rocky hump of Creag Ruadh at around 720m. From here the route was more undulating and we headed north-west along the wide top to Meallan nan Uan at a height of 838m.
Oh the views were fantastic. The air was clear and we could see far and wide. I wish I was as good as Hubby G at knowing what each distance mountain is called…
It mattered not though because Ben and I enjoyed looking out to the near and far distance while we ate our picnic lunch.
Down and up to Sgurr a’ Mhuilinn
There is an option, should you want a longer walk, to hike out to the northern tops of Sgùrr a’Choire-rainich and Sgùrr a’ Ghlas Leathaid for closer views of the Fannich mountains. We knew we had another walk planned for the next day, so we stuck to the two Corbetts only.
We descended in a north-westerly direction, losing height rather too quickly for my liking! We walked past the waters of Loch Coire a’ Mhuilinn where the ground was wet and boggy before making our next ascent to the north.
It was another stiff climb as we ascended towards Sgurr a’ Mhuilinn at 879m. Where the gradient eased at the top of the rounded mountain, the ground was a wonderful bed of spongey moss. It felt like we were bouncing along.
We head downhill in a south-easterly direction, at first on the moss but then on pathless heather and grass. Where we met a pretty burn, we discovered bits and pieces of a path. The route headed up and down on undulating tracks that may well have been made my animals rather than humans.
Footprints in the mud stopped us and we wondered what had been here before us. Does anyone know?
The next section of the walk was the hardest underfoot, with grassy wet bog, large peat bogs and few paths. Eventually, we reached the route that we had first ascended, next to a fence and woodlands.
From here we could see the van – and very soon we were enjoying a quick sit down before driving the long singletrack tarmac road back to join the main road at Garve.
Corbetts bagged: 54 & 55.