Meall nan Ceaprachain and Beinn Dearg
Beinn Dearg (1084m)
Beinn Dearg is the highest hill in the Inverlael Forest, just south of Ullapool and together with the nearby Munros of Cona Mheall and Meall nan Ceapraichan makes for a long but satisfying day in remote country. The car was left at the car park in Inverlael and Chris and I started walking at 9.20 am. The weather was warm and cloudy, although after lunch the sun came out. The walk in followed a track up Glen Squaib, initialling through forest, and then through open country. By then the track had become a path and ran all the way to the bealach between the 3 Munros. It was a long way to this bealach and the walk seemed to take a long time, although as we neared the bealach there were dramatic views of the cliffs and crags of Meall nan Ceapraichan and Beinn Dearg. We reached the bealach at 12.45 pm and had a well deserved lunch break, before tackling the steep and rocky ascent of Beinn Dearg. A wall ran up the ridge and a path followed the wall, although it was hard work on account of the rocky and bouldery terrain. We reached the summit at 1.40 pm and we were greeted with a wonderful view. This took in An Teallach, the Fisherfield Forest, the hills of Coigach and Assynt, Seana Bhraigh, Ben Klibreck, Ben Wyvis and the remote hills of the Alladale Forest.
Cona Mheall (980m)
We descended the ridge back to the bealach and traversed around towards Cona Mheall. A path took us towards our second Munro of the day, and although the ground was bouldery in places, it wasn’t difficult. We reached the summit at 3.05 pm and stayed for 15 minutes. The views to Beinn Dearg and Am Faochagach were especially fine.
Chris climbing Cona Mheall, with the Fannaichs behind
Meall nan Ceapraichan (977m)
We descended back to the bealach and only had a short and easy ascent to the top of Meall nan Ceapraichan. This was a bit of a slog, however, as I was feeling tired by this time. We got to the top at 4.15 pm and stayed for 10 minutes. Dark clouds were amassing over An Teallach, the Fisherfield Forest and the Coigach hills. The rain hit us on the descent and was heavy for a while, although it became more showery and the sun came out in between showers. Chris set a cracking pace on the descent and I had trouble keeping up. I did admire the upper reaches of Glen Squaib, as it seemed it seemed a rugged and desolate place that was the haunt of the Golden Plover. Chris’ pace meant that I descended quicker than I would have done on my own and we reached the car at 7.05 pm, a total time of 9 hours and 45 minutes. We celebrated the end of a fine day with some soup and a small bottle of beer.