Climbing Meall Buidhe

Climbing Meall Buidhe was a first for me. I have never been up any of these mountains to the north of Perthshire. My brother, Robbie, was path finder, driver and Yorkie giver. All I had to do was provide stimulating conversation on the way up.

Not sure I did that, but I did take some comedy photographs. As we rounded a corner about half an hour from Meall Buidhe, a glorious view of green forests and a tumbling stream framed by the hills stretched in front of me. Click! This is what I got through the windscreen.

It probably gives you an idea of what the weather was like climbing Meall Buidhe but when has a bit of rain ever deterred a Scot?

Family history

We parked up next to one of the big hydro dams that punctuate the landscape. When he was a young man, our Dad, worked on them so I felt a strange kind of ownership.

Robbie looked magnificent in his tweed breeks and it certainly wasn’t a case of all gear no idea. He has spent the last 6 months beating and his hill fitness and sure-footedness put me totally to shame.


We set off up a good slope and quickly cut off into the sodden heather. It was misty and drizzling but not too cold. Looking behind me, the little reservoir glanced in and out of view. Underfoot, dozens of micro plants and moss jostled to cover the ground.

Wet, wet, wet. The ground was sodden and I stopped to retie my boots which seemed determined to remain in the mud while I continued without them.

Things got steeper and Robbie surged ahead, stopping for me to catch up. I loved the softness of the air and the total peace – apart from the sucking of my boots in the bog and occasional panting.

Something caught my eye. Something spooky. A set of tiny shoes lying on the peat. ‘Haggis boots,’ said Robbie. 

Haggis roaming free

A drift of snow covered the top and then it was a long ridge to the cairn on the peak. Leaving the lee of the hill, the full force of the wind hit us and the rain turned to needles of hail. ‘You could save a small fortune on laser treatments up here,’ I thought. 

‘Some proper weather!’ Robbie shouted to me, happily, above the gale force winds. I grinned back and my teeth froze.

Proper Scottish/British

It’s a wonderful stretch along that ridge, with 360 views as the wind drove apart the curtains of mist. We reached the cairn and Loch Rannoch appeared in the distance. No Scottish or British walk would be complete without a flask and some sarnies and we huddled down. Three ptarmigans flashed past us in formation. Their white feathers bright against the grey sky.

On the way back, I had a couple of moments when I thought the wind was going to knock me over. Ahead of me, Robbie strode through the hail like Aragorn son of Arathorn. I decided I needed to be a bit more heroic, straightened up and then was immediately blown double again.

Going down was a slip slide of mud and bogs. I had stupidly not brought my poles and was dreading it but Robbie made the ultimate demonstration of brotherly love and lent me his stick. This was actually quite a pragmatic move as, otherwise, I might still be up there.

Lost in the Meall Buidhe bogs

Into the peat hags we went and I lost all sight and sound of Robbie. I was now up to my nethers in mud and had elegantly slipped onto my bottom a couple of times. I found a path. Joy. Then I heard a whistle. It was Robbie, from a totally different direction. Wrong path.

The sun came out and the hill turned yellow which is apt as Meall Buidhe means the Yellow Mountain. Back down to strip off the soggy outer layers and enjoy some hot coffee and traditional Morrison self-congratulation to warm body and soul.

Too? Or Not Enough

My verdict? Climbing Meall Buidhe was fantastic and I want to explore more with my brother. Robbie’s verdict? ‘Brilliant day out – not quite boggy enough.’

If you enjoyed reading Climbing Meall Buidhe, check out some rather warmer adventures in my podcast Alice in wAnderland. Or have a look at my books (paperback, Kindle and audio).  If you like photography, then Instagram is @aliceouthere1.

3 comments on “Climbing Meall Buidhe

  1. on

    What a surprise reading about your adventures in Scotland – you’re descriptions of the terrain are very true. Keep it up, thanks – Alan Hindmarsh-Northumberland.


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