Meall Chuaich from Glen Tromie

Meall Chuaich from Glen Tromie

Hiking route up Meall Chuaich from Drumguish near Kingussie

Biking along estate tracks leads through pretty Glen Tromie then most of the way up Meall Chuaich's north-eastern shoulder, leaving a distance of only 600m to hike to the large cairn on the summit.



Route outline


Munros

Meall Chuaich

Walk ascent 160m (520ft)
         distance 2km (1m)
         time 0:30hr
Bike ascent 620m (2030ft)
         distance 29km (18m)
         time 2:15hr
Start/finish Drumguish
Grid Ref : NN792997
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


When biking down the estate tracks through pretty Glen Tromie, Meall Chuaich is the grass-covered hump that appears directly ahead for most of the way down the glen. The closer the hill gets, the more obvious the track up its north-eastern shoulder appears.

This route makes use of these estate tracks which lead most of the way up Meall Chuaich to within 600m of the summit leaving a climb up a grassy slope of a mere 150m.

Navigation is straightforward, but it is worth noting that this route crosses over two maps, so either both the Landranger or both the Explorer maps listed below will be needed.



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Route description


1. Getting to Drumguish

Forests by Drumguish

Forests by Drumguish

The B970 travels along the southern bank of the River Spey, linking Kingussie to Aviemore. On this, around 4km south-east of Kingussie, the road twists sharply as it crosses the River Tromie via an old bridge (no parking here).

Around 500m north of the bridge, a sign points east to Drumguish. Drive uphill on a narrow road into woodland and park somewhere appropriate, without causing obstruction, before reaching the houses at Drumguish.


2. Bhran Cottage

Bhran Cottage and bridge over River Tromie pre-2023.

Bhran Cottage and bridge over River Tromie pre-2023.

On bike, cycle up the narrow road to the crossroads in the heart of Drumguish. Turn right and head downhill on a rough track to join the main estate track through Glen Tromie.

Now on a fine, fairly flat estate track, cycle down delightful Glen Tromie. The journey is around 9km, the first half of which is on track to Lynaberack Lodge - a rather 1970's housing-estate looking building and a bit out of place in such a beautiful area !

Beyond the lodge it's on tarmac all the way to Bhran Cottage . On the way the fast flowing River Tromie begins to hug the track and the last time I was here, a fair number of behives were standing close to the river just before reaching Bhran Cottage.


3. Meall Chuaich

Ford on River Tromie (by Cat Wright).

Ford on River Tromie (by Cat Wright).

Behind Bhran Cottage, a track drops down to some woodland and to the River Tromie, where a rather rickety bridge crosses the fast flowing water. The bridge was heavily damaged in autumn '23 but currently there is a ford upstream, though this will not be crossable if the river is in spate.

Beyond the bridge and ford the track gets rougher and climbs uphill, so if you don't have strong thighs (or are not on an e-bike), probably best to leave your bike somewhere near here.

Assuming still on bike, come out of the woodland, through a gate in a deer-fence and cycle on the track south-west. Around a corner, the track does a couple of short little climbs before leveling out to a more easy gradient as it climbs a little over 150m over the next 1.5km. The constructed track ends abruptly on Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe .

Approaching the final climb up Meall Chuaich

Approaching the final climb up Meall Chuaich

Looking to the slope of Meall Chuaich's north-eastern shoulder, a track can be seen making a way uphill, but from Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe there doesn't seem an obvious route to reach the base of this. Some faint traces of ATV tracks can be found heading south-west, beyond which a bit of persisting with cycling or bike pushing over grass avoiding some patches of marsh gains the start of the track .

Steep to begin with, the rough rutts of the track climb uphill, before leveling out and crossing grass covered ground to reach a final climb up the hill . I left my bike here, then on foot aimed uphill, climbing a mere 150m up a grassy slope to reach Meall Chuaich's summit plateau with its large cairn standing on the highest point.

Approaching the final climb up Meall Chuaich

Approaching the final climb up Meall Chuaich


4. Return

Descending Meall Chuaich

Descending Meall Chuaich

Return is by the same route.

Once back on bike, the effort made on the uphill is rewarded by some really enjoyable downhill free-wheeling !


5. Personal thoughts on this route

On Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe looking north

On Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe looking north

I'd previously always approached Meall Chuaich from near Dalwhinnie on the A9, either running up it on its own or on a route with A' Bhuidheanach Bheag and Carn na Caim.

It was only when cycling down Glen Tromie to head for the likes of Meallach Mhor or An Dun above the Gaick Pass and with Meall Chuaich appearing in much of the view ahead, did I think of this route. It's certainly longer than approaching from the west, but with quieter parking at Drumguish compared to the lay-bys on the busy A9 and with the cycle down Glen Tromie being quite lovely, I'd prefer this over the aproaches from Dalwhinnie.

McGowan Environmental Engineering were working on the moorland above Carn an Fheoir Bhuidhe when I was there - I'm wondering if they'll connect the tracks over the marshy ground !





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Alternative and nearby routes »


Meall Chuaich from Dalwhinnie

Fine estate and hydro tracks are followed to a hidden bothy, from where a quick jog up and down bags Meall Chuaich, a fairly unassuming Munro.

Peaks : 1 Munro

Ascent : 650m (2130ft)
Distance : 14km (9m)
Time : 3:35hr

Carn Dearg Mor and Meallach Mhor

From the forests surrounding Drumguish, a cycle on estate tracks through quiet Glen Tromie leads to a remote corner of the western Cairngorms, from where much hiking over heather and grass bags Carn Dearg Mor and Meallach Mhor.

Peaks : 2 Corbetts

Ascent : 1040m (3410ft)
Distance : 41km (25m)
Time : 6:45hr

Leathad an Taobhain from Glen Feshie

A bike on estate tracks through beautiful Glen Feshie, followed by some thigh-busting uphills gets close to Leathad an Taobhain's summit. Only a hike of just over 1km remains !

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 900m (2950ft)
Distance : 33km (21m)
Time : 4:20hr

East of Drumochter

Carn na Caim, A'Bhuidheanach Bheag and Meall Chuaich form a linear route on the eastern side of Drumochter Pass. Having a bike or other transport organised will save a long return route as the start and end points are around 11km apart.

Peaks : 3 Munros

Ascent : 1100m (3610ft)
Distance : 25km (16m)
Time : 8:10hr









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