Monday, 17 August 2015

A Walk up Meall nan Con

After Ben Hiant, Meall nan Con is the highest ben on western Ardnamurchan. The summit is an easy walk - it took us four hours today with lots of stops, up and back - and better for the fact that the approach is steadily uphill and the return all downhill. We left the car at one of the turns into the Beinn nan Losgann forestry and followed this burn, the Allt Rath a' Bheulain, which takes one most of the way.

The burn has some interesting features along it, one of which is a series of rough stone walls angling in towards it, above each of which is a ditch. These were probably built on the instructions of Alexander Murray of Stanhope, who owned the Ardnamurchan Estate in the first half of the 18th century, and had a bee in his bonnet about draining the uplands to create fertile land. He bankrupted himself.

The scotch arguses - Erebia aethiops - are out in profusion. They look black when they leap up from underfoot and fly out of the way, but have dark brown wings with very distinctive eyespots with white centres. This sad specimen, for obvious reasons, didn't leap up, so he had his picture taken.

We found the first devilsbit scabeus just coming into flower - such a super colour - and....

....a small group of heath spotted orchids which are coming out very late, but the best find....

....was a white heather. On Saturday we found white ling and white cross-leaved heath, but this was bell heather.

The summit of Meall nan Con has the customary little pond of brown, peaty water, just in case you want either a drink or to cool your feet, and a triangulation pillar - it's 437m OD compared to Ben Hiant's 528m, but... has good views all round. This looks roughly west, with Sanna at centre and Achnaha to the left, just in front of Meall Sanna.

The view to the southwest has Meall Tarmachain at centre, Glas Bheinn to the left, Beinn na Seilg to the right, and Mull in the hazy distance.  The views may have been hazy, but at least the sun was out, the wind light, and the air welcomely warm.

Finally, looking east along the north coast of Ardnamurchan, this photo has the deep glen of the Allt Fascadale in the foreground and Beinn an Leathaid to the right which connects to the long ridge of Cathair Mhic Dhiarmaid.

Map from Bing Maps.

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