A look at the weather forecast the night before prompted me to make a spontaneous decision to bag a Corbett. My friend Ben was also free to walk and after looking at our personal maps of Corbetts not yet bagged, we chose Meallach Mhòr.
I took the train south from Inverness to Newtonmore, while Ben drove north from Edinburgh and picked me up at the railway station. It was a short drive to the start of the walk at Glen Tromie.
I’ve no doubt that many baggers cycle the glen to reach the base of this Corbett. It makes total sense to do so because the route can be done as an out-and-back and the track to the Corbett is wide and relatively flat.
However, it was a beautiful spring day with warmth in the sun – and Ben and I were very happy to stroll companionably for the first easy-going 10km.
On foot, we could see the views along the glen slowly unfolding and we were fortunate to spot what we later identified as a juvenile golden eagle soaring above us.
There were also many frogs on the track operating a strange piggy-back behaviour. It was only because Ben has seen this phenomenon the week before that he could tell me why the frogs were acting in this way.
It seems it’s called amplexus, which allows the male frog – the frog receiving a backie – to place his cloaca near the female’s, in order to fertilise her eggs. It is odd that I’ve not sen this taking place before.
We also spotted what we thought my be an osprey high in the blue sky. Later, after checking the bird spotting books, we believe the bird of prey may have been a juvenile golden eagle. It was an amazing sight.
I doubt we would have experienced the views or taken the time to spot wildlife if we had been rushing along by bikes.
Having a long walk to do also allowed us to catch up on chat about our lives and work, too. One of the great joys of walking mountains is the chat with my friends.
The climb of Meallach Mhòr
Walk Highlands describes the Corbett as “a rather rounded and undistinguished hill”, although it “occupies a fine position and is a grand viewpoint”.
I guess this is a fair description although on a sunny day the “undistinguished” nature of Meallach Mhòr didn’t seem that bad, even as we climbed though thick heather.
There were a few trods to follow but in between these it was a case of tramping over and through the heather. In spring and early summer, the heather is not as “bushy” as it will be later in the year.
Thankfully, there was only about 400m of ascent and around. Around half of this was through thicker heather. After this, at higher elevation, the heather reduced in bulk and we walked on a mossy and rocky terrain.
The views were tremendous on such a clear and sunny day. We could see across the Cairngorm mountains and sat for a while enjoying the fantastic panorama.
It is possible to continue north along the rugged and wide ridge to complete a loop, but Ben and I decided on the easier option of retracing our steps to the wide track.
From the summit at 769m, we spotted a more obvious track and path heading off the Corbett. To start with we walked north from the top and then west. You can see the loop on the Corbett map below. I recommend, for an easier hike and with far less heather to negotiate, you follow an out-and-back route on this path and track.
I am not usually a fan of flat glen walks, especially on the return part of the hike but the unexpected weather and sense of achievement on a day in March lifted my spirits so I thoroughly enjoyed the entire journey.
Ben dropped me back at Newtonmore, where I had only an hour’s wait for the next train north.
Total elevation: 606m
Corbetts bagged: 81