The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Meall Mòr (NH737356; 492m)

Wednesday 18 May

I do wish I wouldn't look at little hills like this one (which sits less than 1km from layby 171 on the southbound A9, with around 150m of height difference between the two) and make ridiculous assumptions about how quick and easy they'll be. Setting out with the mindset of "a hop and a skip and barely any effort and I'll be there" isn't helpful, particularly when the objective is a tussocky, heather-clad, bouldery thing, with a very steep pull off the road, and where so few others are daft enough to go that there are few trodden lines going in the right direction (although there were some on this hill, unlike others I've done recently).

Even having started out with unrealistic expectations, I probably would have enjoyed the hill had the weather been dry and clear. Unfortunately, it was neither:

The fog had lifted since I'd first looked out of Colin's window at 5am, but not far enough to clear the top of this little lump. And the rain fell the whole time. It was the first walk of this trip on which I've worn anything waterproof (and today I wore everything waterproof; I even had boots on for the first time, although I have to concede that they're not as waterproof as they once were).

Having arrived, dripping, back at Colin it would have made sense to have sat with my book for the rest of the day. Somehow I didn't quite manage that and have taken another couple of walks in the rain, around Nethy Bridge (where there's a selection of marked routes, and I did find an information sign, but the Visitor Centre only displayed leaflets about walks in other nearby places) totalling around 7 miles.

I do hope it's dry tomorrow as the two hills I've got pencilled in as possibilities both involve quite a walk in.

(Incidentally, no hills were visited yesterday. I parked up on the B road by Dumnaglas Mains on the west side of the Monadhliath (in the same place as I did on the same day last year) and offered cups of tea and slices of cake to all passing Challengers. It was busier there this year. My first visitor came through at five past seven and when the final two came through eight hours later I had served 23 drinks and cakes. I came better prepared this time too - there is still cake left over for myself!)


  1. You did some good tops in that series Gayle. What route is Mick doing this year?

  2. Dornie - Tomich - Balmacaan - Drum - Ault na Goire - Glen Mazaran - Carrbridge - Nethy Bridge - Ballater - Tarfside - Montrose.