We are all allowed to travel around and re-explore the hills, mountains, glens, coast and lochs of Scotland – brilliant! But where to start, especially if going up hills is a relatively new thing. Well, the Munros are always popular but to get started on them you don’t want a perilous scramble along a knife edge ridge. Meall Chuaich is a great introduction to the mountains over 3,000ft/ Apart from some huffing and puffing on the south west slopes this is a walk for anyone of moderate fitness. Saying that, don’t think it is not worth doing. Just because climbing a particular mountain does not entail risking life and limb does not mean it shouldn’t be tackled.

This is a good mountain to start children off on Munros. If the steep bit is taken slowly with plenty of stops to admire the view, look for birds such as ptarmigan on the ground, or even the odd hare, they should manage to reach the top.

At the top the views are superb, encompassing Ben Alder, Creag Meagaidh, the Monadhliath and the Cairngorms in the foreground. Further afield you can pick out the distant summits of Perthshire, Lochaber and the more north western Highlands.

At the top the views are superb, encompassing Ben Alder, Creag Meagaidh, the Monadhliath and the Cairngorms in the foreground. Further afield you can pick out the distant summits of Perthshire, Lochaber and the more north western Highlands.

Even on a wet day it can be interesting; a few years ago I was fascinated at the array of lichen growing on the flat rocky summit, and grateful for the shelter of the large cairn at the top.

However, if you are going to introduce family

members to the enjoyment of hillwalking it is best to save this for a fine day, and enjoy the views.

DISTANCE: 9 miles / 14.5km.

HEIGHT CLIMBED: 2,000ft / 610m.

TIME: 4 to 5 hours.

MAP: OS Landranger 42.

PARK: On the A9, just over 2½ miles north of the Dalwhinnie junction, park in Layby 94, just south of Cuaich on the east side of the road.
THE ROUTE: Walk north along the A9 a short way and after about 102 yards go right up a track and through a gate. On the other side of the gate go straight ahead, up a track to reach an aqueduct used to create hydro-electric power.
Once by the aqueduct go left and follow it to a small power station where you bear left. Go left again at a fork in the track, just after a bridge.
Further along the track keep left after crossing another bridge. Go straight on when another track cuts diagonally across it as you get close to Loch Cuaich. Then, go right at a fork, along a slightly less distinct track.
After passing a locked bothy, cross two low wooden bridges then go left, up a steep path through heather onto the broad south west ridge of Meall Chuaich. This is the toughest bit, up unremittingly steep slopes. But take your time and stop to enjoy the views opening up behind.
Follow the very wide ridge, gradually bearing right until you are heading east, eventually reaching the large summit cairn. Enjoy the 360 degree views before retracing your steps to the start.

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