On my quest to complete the 18 summits in a 25km square of my house, the summit of choice this time was Meall Mor. GM/NS-058. 738m 4 Points.
Whilst i had chased this summit in the summer, i hadn’t really looked into it much until a few days before activating it. I decided that the route for me was through a wind farm that i had previously visited out of curiosity.
Parking for 1 car can be had in a lay-by at NH 735 583 approx. You then pass a small sign stating no unauthorized vehicles. The road is somewhat weathered you could say!! Passing right by someones house within inches then over a wooden bridge takes you to the start of the climb. I quickly came across locked gates that can be walked around, beside the gate is a huge stone with National Windpower carved into it. After this its a decent track that steadily climbs 300m in height, where you top off at 500m and see the wind farm in it’s entirety. 36 turbines spread out over 4 peaks.
Now as im walking along the seemingly endless path i started to wonder how “green” are they? 1st of all as far as engineering goes, turning something that’s free and in abundance into something that people want to pay for is quite clever. But on the other hand, the X miles of track that is cut in the process surely has a BIG dent on its greenness?? One to ponder also was would I have went to this summit should this track not have been here, probably not. So I’m in a bit of a moral minefield.
However getting back to it, once at the end of the track i was a bit shocked. There is a large section of deep peat bog’s that need to be negotiated. It must have took about 15mins of zig-zagging back and for to gain about 100m in the forward direction, frustrating but do-able. After a short while loch glass became visible and it looked a long way down!!!
This is where i came across the stag. He reared his head up about 150m away and it think we both thought the same thing…S***. I was thinking about my options, stand my ground and use my available weapons?? 15kg rucksack, my fibreglass pole or my 2 inch pen knive. Or do a runner?? I fear that had it came to that none of the above would have made any difference. Thankfully he decided to do the runner and i never seen him again. It was then that i contemplated my remoteness. Ok so i had left my plan with the other half but it was of no comfort to know that i was a 3 hour walk back to civilization or wait X hours for rescue. However the thought passed as I made it to the summit where it was bitterly cold.
It was showing +5 back at the car so with the wind chill it must have been a bit below 0. As it was this cold i opted for a smash and grab on VHF. Sorry for anyone that was waiting for HF. The usual suspects came back to me from Inverness and another from Elgin. Not much in the way of DX but 7 contacts secured the activation. The only thing of interest perhaps from the way down was that whilst leaving the wind farm there was the sound of gunfire bouncing round the hills. Sounded like something out of Helmand with continued rapid shots but i presume that it was a game shoot on a local estate.
It was a long day for 4 points but another one ticked off the list. With 7 hours and 22km from start to finish, perhaps a little bit to much of that was spent with the grey matter whirring away.