Hubby G had a plan to kayak the length of Loch Ness, form Fort Augustus to Dores, which meant I would be required to drop him and his boat at the southern end. A check of my Corbett bagging map revealed I had not yet reached the summit of the mountain Meall Dudh, west of Invermoriston, some 15 miles from Fort Augustus. While G paddled through low cloud and mist on the loch, my friend Izzie and I climbed above the cloud on Meall Dubh and enjoyed superb views.
Run-hike: Meall Dubh
The 12km out-and-back route starts from the south side of the A887, west of the village of Invermoriston. There is a large layby on the north side of the road.
Trails on the lower slopes have been extended due to access requirements for a large windfarm in the area. Izzie and I needed to pay attention to the trail junctions but, for most of the first stretch of the route, we enjoyed wide track that gently ascended through woodlands.
We ran and hiked, depending on the gradient, and spent the first 15 minutes shrouded by thick mist and low cloud. But we could see glimpses of blue sky above and ahead and we were convinced we would soon pop out above the cloud into sunshine.
Just 1.5km into the outing and we were suddenly treated to the first vista of sunny mountain tops peeping out of a sea of cloud. The views to the west took in the Kintail area with its stunning mountain ridges.
At the 3km mark we left the track behind and headed on to a vague trod. This trod was so vague in the thick vegetation and bog that we quickly lost it. Next came an increasingly muscle-zapping trudge over heather-covered ground, which was often steep, until we reach an altitude of about 550m.
You can see from our recorded route that we veered a little too far east at one point and then needed to traverse and track back to the west to reach the lower flank of a broad shoulder on the eastern side of the Corbett.
From here, there was a bit more of a trod but nothing that was that definite until we reached the wider, flatter plateau. It wasn’t an easy ascent at all and we had to bash our way through thick heather on a steep mountain slope.
The plateau undulated more gently, compared and we greatly enjoyed the superb views all around.
There is huge cairn on the summit of Meall Dubh, although some doubt whether this is the actual highest point. The Corbett is recorded on OS Maps as 788m tall.
Izzie and I wondered around the summit area to ensure we had reached all the places that looked to be a bit higher.
Looking past the Millenium windfarm in the foreground, the vista takes in the distant mountains of Knoydart, as well as Kintail and also the Strathfarrar peaks.
We tried to take a more direct return route to return to the main track in the glen although, again, the trod came and went and there was thick vegetation to negotiate.
My advice is to be prepared for the heather bashing and to complete this route on a day of fine weather so you can enjoy the brilliant views. Fortunately, it is also a relatively short outing to bag a Corbett so the rougher sections were not overly long-lasting.
Route details: Meall Dubh
Total ascent: Approx 700m
Corbetts bagged: 138.
A Loch Ness kayak success
Meanwhile, G had been paddling his way from south to north on Loch Ness. He faced a bit of a headwind but made good progress to complete the route of around 20 miles in about five hours. I picked him up from Dores after he had enjoyed a celebratory pint.