Thursday, 26 May 2016

Meall a' Phubuill

Meall a' Phubuill from the bealach

Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Ascent:      824 metres
Distance:   15 kilometres
Time:         4 hours 5 minutes
c   Meall a' Phubuill    774m   2hrs 18mins

We set out at 8:30pm in the evening after an excellent meal at the Prince's House hotel in Glenfinnan and it was appropriate that we were going to be sleeping in tents on the flank of Meall a' Phubuill, the Gaelic for 'hill of the tent'. It took over an hour to walk up to the Glensulaig bothy, where we pitched the tents on a rare stretch of flat dry and stone free ground next to the gurgling burn. The Gleann was pretty devastated by another hydro scheme under construction and the heather clad hills provided few places to pitch a tent. After a long day on the hills and the evening walk up the glen we were tired and asleep before the light finally faded. The soft ground made for a comfortable night and we were up by 6:30am and walking by 7am.

There is a steep track that climbs to the bealach between Meall a' Phubill and the adjacent Graham, Meall Onthaidh. It rises to about 350 metres and after crossing the bridge we struck out up the extremely steep slope towards the summit. If you like your slopes raw and unyielding then this is as good a hill as any. Sheep and lambs were grazing and our leg muscles were burning. There was no respite until we reached the summit in little over an hour. It was clear and quite cold but the visibility was excellent. The whole of Ardgour's vast array of mountains were visible. Although there are no munros, it is as impressive a grouping of tough mountains as anywhere in Scotland with 16 corbetts.  In the past two years I have climbed many of them and the area is becoming a favourite haunt.

We spent a short time on the summit, there was a strong easterly wind, before testing our quads on the steep descent. The glen was echoing to the sound of diggers laying pipes interrupted by the odd cuckoo. We were back at the tents shortly after 9am and packed quickly, it is unusual to have a dry tent but the wind had done its job. The walk out was a bit tedious on the construction road and when we passed the canteen I asked if we could have a cup of tea. The workmen claimed they had no cups and were munching their morning rolls so the implied answer was no. In the lower glen the water sparkled over the numerous rock pools and the forest reverted to native species. It was unusual to have completed a walk shortly after 10am but we had made a good call and we were ahead of schedule to head for Glas Beinn beyond Kinlochleven, with time to stop for a pot of tea in Fort William.

Gleann Suileag from the summit
Gulvain profile

Looking south west to Sgurr Dhomhnuill

Looking East to Beinn Bhan

Leaving the summit

An t Suileag
Walking out at 10am

No comments:

Post a Comment