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Munro bagging: Walking memories on Maol Chean-dearg

Written by Fiona

November 18 2021

It was some 12 years ago when Hubby G and I last walked Maol Chean-dearg. This Munro was one of our first hikes together and, if I am honest, I couldn’t remember much about it. Only when we were walking the mountain together for the second time on Saturday did the memories came flooding back.

Back then, I was very new to the Munros. Meanwhile, G was closing in on finishing his first Munro round of all 282 mountains with a summit of more than 300ft (914m). He had a mountain walking confidence that I lacked. I spent my first few years following his lead in the mountains and, because of that, I didn’t fully take in my surroundings. I did learn a huge amount from him though, including navigation, safety and general mountain know-how.

It seems strange to me now that I had so few memories of this route but I think that I was perhaps overwhelmed by the new landscapes, the unfamiliar terrain and the multiple stunning views.

On that first time on Maol Chean-dearg, we also walked with two of G’s friends. I do remember it being a long day out, walking two other Munros, Sgòrr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhòr, before deciding we would also include the 933m summit of Maol Chean-dearg.

G and I were new friends having met that summer on the Five Sisters of Kintail. He was mountain fit and I remember I had to work hard to keep up with him.

It seems like such a long time ago now and so much has happened. What struck me the most was how much I have learned about the Scottish mountains.

Munro fit and experienced

On Saturday, I was in my element. I felt confident and capable. Despite there being cloud at higher altitude, I was able to navigate without need to ask G. I had packed exactly the right kit and I was easily fit enough.

And because I wasn’t walking in G’s footsteps, I took in so much more of the walk and the surroundings. Maol Chean-Dearg is located in the Coulin forest between Glen Torridon and Glen Carron.

There is an obvious path for much of the walk, as well as some decent trods higher up where the ground turns to rocks and boulders. G said he thinks there has been a lot of erosion on the mountain, perhaps due to the weather or (as well as) an increase in the number of walkers.

In any case, our second time on the Munro proved to be a great day out and we enjoyed the time together, just us, to chat.

Autumn, despite it being mid-November, painted the mountains and moorland many wonderful and rich colours.

Looking back through the years

We took a trip down memory lane and recalled the early days of Munro bagging, as well reminding ourselves how fortunate we have been to meet and spend our life together.

We met later in life but we have packed many, many adventures into the 12 years.

As G turns 50 this week (I passed that milestone a few years ago!), we have embarked on a new life adventure with a big move from Glasgow to the Black Isle, near Inverness. I have one Munro to walk to finish my first round and G has 38 to go to finish his second round. I have walked almost 70 Corbetts, too.

Sadly, clouds obscured the fantastic view over Torridon from the summit of Maol Chean-dearg. Last time we were treated to a breath-taking vista and I man fairly sure I do recall that! I have no doubt we will revisit this mountain again sometime.

I also spotted signs for an interesting looking walk to Torridon that I might explore soon.

The total walk of Maol Chean-Dearg is around nine miles. See OS Maps and Strava.

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