Meall an Fhuarain
Meall an Fhuarain, Cromalt Hills, Sutherland. Section 15A.
Height – 578 metres. Map - OS Landranger 15.
Date climbed - 2 May 2011. Time taken – 5 hours.
Distance – 16 kilometres. Ascent – 570 metres.
Trip Report Details:
Earlier this year I made my first visit to the Cromalt Hills to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Meall Coire an Lochain. Ignoring the snow cover it was fairly hard work with lots of bog and peat hags. I therefore wasn’t looking forward to my return to bag the other Marilyn, Meall an Fhuarain. However after a recent period of dry weather I thought this was my opportunity to avoid some of these problems.
On studying the map the shortest approach appeared to be from Lubcroy on the A837 Ledmore Junction to Oykel Bridge road so I decided this would be my starting point. There was no suitable parking at Lubcroy so I left my vehicle on the verge north of the road bridge where fortunately the single track road was wider.
There was a gate on the west side of the road so I passed through it and followed the north side of the Garbh Allt where there were some animal tracks. I reached an unstable deer fence and spotted a gate higher up. However on reaching this gate I saw that it had collapsed and the gap covered in wire fencing. It took me a while to locate a suitable crossing point but once over the fence I found an old path above the Garbh Allt, which took me through Coire a’Chonachair. A section of this path had collapsed into the stream.
The Garbh Allt and later the Allt Tarsuinn were easily crossed before following deer paths to the south-east corner of a small plantation. The deer obviously gather here as there was lots of exposed peat, which would normally be wet and gooey but today was mainly dry. As I climbed to and over the knoll, Ruith-chnoc, deer ran off but were back in the same area on my return.
On the west side of Ruith-chnoc the ground was tussocky and a bit wet but drier as I made my way onto the south-east ridge of Meall an Fhuarain. Here there were lots of peat hags but walking between them was easy in these dry conditions. There were traces of an ATV track, its route marked by the odd stone, which I occasionally used. As well as peat hags the summit area consisted of some stony areas.
The summit trig point was reached where I had some good views but those to the west were improved when I walked over to a cairn. I saw that the north side of Cul Mor was on fire. This raged for around three days. After lunch at the cairn the return was by the ascent route.
I was pleased to have climbed this Marilyn in these dry conditions as I suspect normally it would be rather wet and boggy.
Photos taken on walk also include some taken later that day on Meall Mor (Ullapool Hill) around sunset.