15.09.2011 - 15.09.2011
We started with a drive to Gairloch and on almost to Kinlochewe. Kinloch apparently means something like ‘top of the loch’ which makes sense as that is where Kinloch is on Lake Wakatipu. I don’t know what ‘ewe’ means – nothing to do with sheep we think.
We parked in a quite nice parking area at the head of Loch Maree. It has information boards, picnic tables, pamphlets about nature trails, people cutting grass but no toilets. Weird. Our objective was Meall a Ghiubhais (‘Hill of the Fir Tree’ - 887m). We started along the mountain trail which climbed gradually through trees and heather and scrubby stuff. The track climbed more steeply through quartzite rock to eventually reach a large cairn, more or less marking the highest point if you are just following the marked trail loop back to the carpark. But we weren’t. We followed the trail past some small tarns for a few minutes then took a side ridge. This was the beginning of our side trip up the mountain but first we had to fuel up with lunch. After food we followed our noses up a broad rocky ridge to the subsidiary summit. The full length of the loch appeared before us as we crested the top and we had great views in all directions. It was a short stroll along to the true summit where we had more views and more food!
We took a different line down the hill and rejoined the main track for an easy descent back to the carpark. An easy, but not a quick descent, as we took time out to sit on a boulder in the sun, admire a gorge and take lots of photos. Another great day in the hills!