Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill and Meall Horn

Hillwalking route up Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill and Meall Horn from Loch More

Taking in the two Corbett peaks of Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill and Meall Horn, this delightful hillwalking route crosses varied terrain in the remote area of Reay Forest in the far north of Scotland.



Route outline


Corbetts

Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill, 

Meall Horn

Ascent 1600m (5240ft)
Distance 22km (14m)
Time 8:10hr
Start Kinloch (Loch More)
Grid Ref : NC348343
Finish Near Achfary
Grid Ref : NC297402
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill and Meall Horn stand in Reay Forest in the far north of Scotland. Unlike their imposing neighbours Arkle and Foinaven, these hills are more gentle and grass covered with lighter terrain underfoot. Away from accessing estate tracks, there are no paths to follow and navigation can be fairly challenging.

This route crosses over 3 adjoining OS Landranger maps, therefore the OS Explorer map of the area maybe preferred.



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Route description


1. Getting to Kinloch on Loch More

Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill from Kinloch

Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill from Kinloch

In the far north of Scotland Loch Shin stretches north-west from Lairg, beyond which are Loch Merkland, Loch More and Loch Stack. Overlooking these lochs are Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill and Meall Horn sitting in the vast and remote area of Reay Forest

This route starts from the eastern end of Loch More and finishes at the western end of the loch, some 10km apart, therefore having a bike or organising transport with save a long walk along tarmac at the end of the day.


2. Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill

Approaching Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill from Meall Reinidh

Approaching Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill from Meall Reinidh

After leaving the roadside at the southern tip of Loch More, follow an estate track towards the south-eastern side of the loch. Once reached, continue on the track as it hugs the eastern shoreline to pass some forestry to arrive at a junction just before the house at Aultanrynie .

Turn right at the junction and head uphill. After around 100m, the track splits - take the left fork into some woodland and across a bridge over the Allt an Reinidh, which is most impressive when in spate !

Continue along the track for another 500m towards a fairly new plantation , then leave the track and strike up the fall-line through grass and heather. A fair hike up 350m or so gains the flat minor summit of Meall Reinidh . Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill can now be seen ahead, its summit covered in loose boulders and scree.

Aiming in a generally north-easterly direction, lose a little height and reach the foot of Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill. By keeping slightly to the east of the crest ahead, a route can be taken on a grassy slope that avoids most of the boulderfield and screes on the hills southern aspect most of the way to Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill's summit with its fine views particularly to Arkle and Ben Hope.

If Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill is your only target, simply about turn and retrace your steps. A there-and-back up Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill comes in at 11km with an ascent of 815m.


3. Sabhal Beag

Sabhal Beag from Meall Grbh

Sabhal Beag from Meall Grbh

The topography of Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill is fairly complex and without paths to follow can be tricky to navigate over in mist.

From Meallan Liath Coire Mhic Dhughaill's summit trig point head east then north while losing a little height, to drop to a bealach above Coire Loch. Climb up a steep grassy slope (on the way, check out the impressive cut in the rocks to the right) to the crest of a minor summit (spot height 761m - it's a short detour to the cairn on this), then drop north-east over predominantly bouldery ground to a second bealach above Coire Loch.

A climb north-east up more of the same reaches a small cairn on the minor top of Meall Garbh , thereafter, while aiming for the most part northwards, boulderfield progressively gives way to pleasant grass covered slopes that drop to Bealach na Feithe .

From Bealach na Feithe, Sabhal Beag is due north, a mere 1km ahead. There's a sharp grassy climb up 150m before gradient easies when Sabhal Beag's summit comes into view directly ahead. The summit is comprised of grass and shattered rocks upon where a circle of stones marks the highest point.


4. Meall Horn

Meall Horn and Foinaven from Sabhal Beag

Meall Horn and Foinaven from Sabhal Beag

When on Sabhal Beag and conditions are clear, Meall Horn can be seen ahead. A direct route looks somewhat awkward - perhaps a line via Sabhal Mor or the bealach north of Sabhal Mor looks more gratifying ?

I aimed directly to Bealach Eadar da Shabhal , from where I kept for the most part on grass-covered terrain on a line that climbed and twisted between rocky veins to end up on Meall Horn's crest around 750m south-east of the summit.

The crest of this Meall Horn is grass covered and a conical cairn sits on the hill's highest point .


5. Return

Lone and Ben Stack

Lone and Ben Stack

From Meall Horn's summit, it's due west down a grass covered and gentle slope for just over 1km. Into heather and over peat-hags, the Allt Horn is crossed near its source, followed by a short climb up a couple of contours to meet an estate track travelling down from Bealach Horn.

Follow the estate track as it descends while tracing a line above the Allt Horn all the way down to the southern ridge-line of Arkle and a wooded area . Through the forest, the track passe a weird split between two rocks and meets with another track by the buildings at Lone .

Over a bridge, a tarred road follows the southern shores of the Loch Stack, to the houses at Airdachuilinn , then to the roadside 1km north of Achfary. Hopefully here you've arranged transport or stashed a bike for the return to Kinloch.





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Alternative and nearby routes »


Reay Forest Corbetts from Lone

Heading in from the roadside at the southern end of Loch Stack, this spectacular circular route takes in the 3 Corbett summits of Meall Horn, Foinaven and Arkle. A fine track leads into the remote area, thereafter paths are few, terrain is rough, mountain crests are many and navigation can be challenging.

Peaks : 3 Corbetts

Ascent : 2550m (8370ft)
Distance : 31km (19m)
Time : 12hr

Foinaven and Arkle from Loch Stack

From the western end of Loch Stack, a fine estate track heads into the hidden wilderness of Reay Forest below Foinaven and Arkle. Rough and steep ground is then tackled to gain narrow crests of these complex and superb mountains.

Peaks : 2 Corbetts

Ascent : 2175m (7140ft)
Distance : 31km (19m)
Time : 11:30hr

Ben Hee from Loch Merkland

Ben Hee is a big lump of a domed hill overlooking Loch Merkland, from where the most direct route begins. Away from the estate tracks that access the area, terrain is pathless with much boulderfield needing negotiated.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 850m (2790ft)
Distance : 14km (9m)
Time : 4:55hr

Beinn Leoid and neighbours from Loch Merkland

Heading in from the roadside by the forestry plantations just west of Loch Merkland, this route takes advantage of fine stalker's paths to bag Beinn Leoid and its neighbouring Grahams Meallan a' Chuail and Meall an Fheur Loch

Peaks : 1 Corbett, 2 Grahams

Ascent : 1175m (3850ft)
Distance : 17km (11m)
Time : 6:10hr









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