Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil - Hike Report

Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil - Hike Report

Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil - Hike Report

Elliot Forbes

Munro Number: 16 + 17
Date: Mar 26 2023
Ascent: 1,338m
Distance: 19.69km
Moving Time: 7:05:52
Total Time: 10:33:13

The day after the hike before - yesterday’s adventure was us driving up past Loch Lomond and bagging:

  • Sgiath Chuil - “The Corner Wing” - 921m
  • Meall Glas - “The Green Grey Hill” - 959m

This was our first outing ourselves this year, after having purchased our new hiking boots (that proved life-saving) and completing our winter skills course. We were hoping to hit a few snowy paths and try out our newly acquired winter skills, but sadly Ben More in the distance seemed to have been the only properly white-capped peak for miles around.

We’d driven up on Friday evening and camped the night in a small carpark about a 5 minute drive from the starting point.

The day started out with perfect spring conditions and Lewis had a fair few chances to run and swim in the river that ran by the path.

If I had to describe the hike in 1 word, it would be “bog”.

The terrain was soaked through thanks to snow melt and heavy rainfall which meant each step you were pulling your heavy boots out of the suction of the bog. This was manageable at first, but over the course of the day really sapped all the energy out of our legs which resulted in bouts of cramp, and general exhaustion.

We slowly made our way up the slopes of Sgiath Chuil - the ascent was fairly straightforward, if not slow going due to our fitness levels, but nothing overly challenging.

The real fun came, after we’d topped Sgiath Chuil and were tasking with descending into the bealach (mountain pass) between Sgiath Chuil and Meall Glas.

Walkhighlands describes this as “extremely, very steep” which is by no means an understatement. Donna thankfully figured that butt-sliding down the mountain was a significantly easier way to traverse these steep sections and it did give the muscles in our legs a bit of respite as we slid down.

We crossed the bealach and started the 360m ascent up Meall Glas and found ourselves slightly off course from the path. This landed us on some of the steepest and slippiest terrain the mountain had to offer.

At this point, we’d been reduced to scrambling up in effectively a crawl to overcome this treacherous section… With some help from Donna, I was able to overcome my fear of heights (along with a moment of panic) and scramble up this final section by kicking my feet deep into the slippy grass and moss and holding on tightly to anything I could.

Once we’d overcome that last section of ascent, the most technical sections of the hike were behind us. I’d taken 5-10 minutes to rest and recover from the cramp in my legs that was now plaguing large sections of the walk.

We walked up past the sub-summit of Meall Glas and across the ridge of the mountain towards the real summit.

The final climb up involved practicing some of the snow traversal techniques we’d learned at our Ocean Vertical skills course - the kicking in for the steps was certainly a bit more challenging with the legs feeling like jelly, but it certainly felt like a really good confirmation that we can now traverse these sections.

We did the traditional boop of the cairn at the top and started making our way off the mountain and down to the van.

With limited visibility and no clear path marked, we had a real test of our navigation skills trying to ensure we got off the mountain safely and before the sun set on us.

Our fitness levels at this point were seriously drained and working our way through the remaining bog proved to be a real challenge both mentally and physically.

The hike back felt never-ending.

We were delighted to see the van and to have the comfort of a change of clothes and getting our hiking boots off after a long, but successful day.

Overall, our watches recorded just over 8 hours of moving time and 11 hours of total time.

19.69 km total distance

1,338m elevation gain

It has to be said, our golden retriever Lewis was exceptionally good on the hike and deserved a very substantial meal when we got back to the van. He curled up and instantly fell asleep clearly exhausted, he’s been enjoying a very relaxed day today by our feet.

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